Wind turbines at Tybee

Will Tybee residents hate them as much as Teddy Kennedy hates them?

The wind proved a recreational godsend. Could it also prove a commercial success?

Georgia Tech researchers, who recently completed a study on wind energy off Tybee and Jekyll islands, think so. Southern Co., which commissioned the report, will further study whether a wind farm could generate enough electricity to be financially feasible.

Environmentalists and a smattering of Georgia tourists gushed about the possibility of a nonpolluting renewable energy source —- even if the horizon is dotted with Statue of Liberty-sized turbines.

Yeah, I suspect this will not go over too well with Tybee’s residents or the sea gulls.


  1. Doug Deal says:

    Wind power is a whole lot of hot air. Sure it works in certain areas where winds are fairly constant, but in places with widely variable winds (almost everywhere), they suck big time. First of all, it is easy to dismiss them solely on astetic issues. Keep in mind most high output turbines have an O.D. of 300 feet. Imagine each structure being at the very minimum a 30 story tall building.

    The max energy available to wind turbines, if I remember correctly, is proportional to V^3. I.e. if wind is only one half the ideal wind speed, the win turbines only generates 1/8th the design energy.

    Further, the average wind mill generates about half of its energy in 15% of its operating time. This means that instead of the constant drum beat of electricity that you need for a reliable utility, you would get peaks that may waste energy by overproduce part of the time and then under produce in others. This basically guarantees the need for back-up power capable of providing virtually the entire peak demand.

    So, on a limited basis, wind power may help to slightly reduce Coal and Natural Gas usage (two things that should not be used for making electricity anyway). The only real answer is nuclear power.

    Also, as far as land use issues, this is an interesting quote that I found.

    To reduce losses caused by interference between turbines, a wind farm requires roughly 0.1 square kilometres of unobstructed land per megawatt of nameplate capacity. A 200 MW wind farm might extend over an area of approximately 20 square kilometres.

    That means that one would need an area of about 10 times that to compare to a 1GW run of the mill nuclear plant, since wind power needs to be over designed to compensate for wind velocity variance issues. That’s 200 square kilometers.

    Finally, just to demonstrate how illogical people act in regard to anything with the name “alternative energy”, watch some of the stories on national news about people who have converted to solar power.

    One story featured a woman who had plastered her roof with solar panels. She explained how her electricity meter ran backwards at times, and that when it was cloudy or night, she would just use the grid as a backup.

    Anyway, it turned out that she was saving about $200 a month on utilities, which sounds very good. She then added that the system would pay for itself in 4-5 years and all the extra electricity would after that would be free.

    At the very end of the story, they finally mentioned in passing that she spent $50,000 for this conversion. Let’s do some quick math.

    $200 per month x 12 = $2,400
    $50,000 / $2,400 ~ 20 Years.

    This is with her likely exaggerated claims of savings, total disregard of expenses due to maintenance and the time value of money.

  2. voice of reason says:

    and at the risk of sounding dumb following DD’s post….

    I heard they’re really loud, too.

  3. Doug Deal says:


    They really aren’t supposed to be too loud anymore, but one of the reasons that environmentalists oppose them in the water is that the high amplitude, low frequency vibrations are supposed to harm sea creatures.

  4. gatormathis says:

    I read last week that people in Denmark are some of the happiest in the World.

    Denmark is the biggest exporter of power generating windmills.

    Maybe they’re happy to be exporting windmills.

    I have a good friend who lives there. I don’t know if he is so jolly, or just such a big guy that nobody messes with him and fouls up his day.

    But overall, he has a pretty good disposition.

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