BMW to power Leipzig factory by wind energy

Aug 21, 2011
German auto giant BMW plans to build four wind turbines to power a factory with enough electricity to assemble hundreds of vehicles a day, auto newspaper Automobilwoche will report on Monday.

German auto giant BMW plans to build four wind turbines to power a factory with enough electricity to assemble hundreds of vehicles a day, auto newspaper Automobilwoche will report on Monday.

The wind farm should be able to produce the necessary energy by late 2013, the company said.

BMW said it wants its Leipzig factory to become an example of production, one that could eventually be followed in assembly plants worldwide.

The Leipzig factory is forecast to produce about 200,000 vehicles in 2011 at a rate of 740 a day.

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User comments : 37

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Nanobanano
1 / 5 (1) Aug 21, 2011
That's impossible!

Glenn Beck says wind power isn't worth it! He KNOWS what he's talking about!
finitesolutions
1 / 5 (1) Aug 21, 2011
Glenn Beck still uses whale oil lamps to power his TV!
Eikka
not rated yet Aug 21, 2011
That's impossible!

Glenn Beck says wind power isn't worth it! He KNOWS what he's talking about!


Well, what are they using to buffer the output of the wind farm?

Or do they make cars only on sufficiently windy days?

Or could it be that they're selling the electricity because it's subsidized so that a kWh sold nets them more than a kWh from the grid costs, and the factory actually runs on electricity from the grid.
Megawatt
5 / 5 (1) Aug 21, 2011
The four planned wind turbines will probably generate sufficient average energy (KWH) to run the Leipzig plant, but as Eikka points out, there will be times when the turbines won't be cranking out enough power (KW) to meet load. This is where utility scale renewable energy integration comes into play. Other power plants are used to shape the intermittent power into a flat block. More than likely BMW will sell the energy to a willing buyer on a long term power sales contract. The buyer will pay the transmission owner(s) to wheel the power across the grid, and BMW will enter into a separate firm power purchase contract with another party to supply electricity to the Leipzig facility. If the wind turbines are on the grid, it's always like this. BMW can't claim the electrons; they will always flow to the nearest load center. The Leipzig manufacturing facility will draw power from the nearest power plant. That being said, BMW should be applauded for their investment in the environment.
Noumenon
1 / 5 (2) Aug 21, 2011
Clean energy should be used wherever possible,.. but don't confuse people saying 'wind power isn't worth it' with people saying it amounts to but a speck compared to the energy used, and is therefore not a resounding replacement for oil/coal,.. not even close.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Aug 22, 2011
Well, what are they using to buffer the output of the wind farm?

The grid?

That they produce enough power from the wind farm does not mean that they will not feed excess into the grid or take from the grid in times of low wind.

it amounts to but a speck compared to the energy used, and is therefore not a resounding replacement for oil/coal,.. not even close.

Ah, well...in germany there's already 17% of electricity being produced via alternative energy. In 2010 ( a very bad year for wind) the total electricity produced via wind alone was 6.2% of the entire electricity production.

Wind, in concert with all the other alternative power plant concepts, is fast becoming a viable replacement for coal, oil and nuclear.

The larger your grid (e.g. accross all of Europe) the less the fluctuations in local wind strength actually matter.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) Aug 22, 2011
If God wanted man to use wind power, he wouldn't have given us coal and oil.

Rush Limbaugh told me so.

Noumenon
1 / 5 (2) Aug 22, 2011
I'm all for alternatives to 'dirty' oil/coal, but the reality IS that the cheapest energy source WILL be used first,.. and so oil & coal WILL be used for decades. This is just a reality.

The oil sands in Vendicar's country will last for decades. There is nothing wrong with oil/coal as long as emission technologies keep improving.

The left prefer social engineering, artificially causing oil/coal prices to rise, and pushing alternatives before their acceptability and practicality in the market,... all ad-hoc and cutting across the grain. Their solutions will bring us back to the stone age.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Aug 22, 2011
that the cheapest energy source WILL be used first,.. and so oil & coal WILL be used for decades.

Cheap in what way? If you calculate all the ancillary costs (which are being paid for indirectly via your taxes) oil and coal are way more expensive than any alternative source - even PV.
(With nuclear coming in as even more expensive than oil and coal)
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) Aug 22, 2011
Since coal is apparently the cheapest (excluding costs which aren't included), and I predict it will be used first, I there fore conclude that coal should be used first.

QED.

Tard logic at it's best.
Noumenon
1 / 5 (2) Aug 22, 2011
that the cheapest energy source WILL be used first,.. and so oil & coal WILL be used for decades.

Cheap in what way? If you calculate all the ancillary costs (which are being paid for indirectly via your taxes) oil and coal are way more expensive than any alternative source - even PV.
(With nuclear coming in as even more expensive than oil and coal)


Hello antialias, what ancillary costs are you referring to?

Keep in mind that military presence in oil rich regions are a matter of national security, and therefore fall under the appropriate tax budget in any case. The gov is responsible for infrastructure,.. I'm am speaking of the markets use of energy.

All I'm saying is that the far left's solution will not be adapted because it involves a fundamental change in the form of government. People like Vendicar (immature) are socialists and desire the government regulate use of energy, social engineering, how fast one can drive, what thermostat temp, etc. Not going to work.
Noumenon
2 / 5 (4) Aug 22, 2011
Since coal is apparently the cheapest (excluding costs which aren't included), and I predict it will be used first, I there fore conclude that coal should be used first.

QED.

Tard logic at it's best.

That's not what I said. The market will make use of whatever the cheapest energy source happens to be. If it was windmills,.. it would be in the best interest to use them, etc. Industries are not going to use a more expensive energy source no matter what political persuasion they have. Reality rather than ideology.

You must be like 20 years old, given your naiveté and immaturity.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Aug 22, 2011
what ancillary costs are you referring to?

For coal and oil:
- subsidies
- environmental impact (relocating a few cities in the future because of rising sea levels will cost trillions) ...

nuclear:
- subsidies (the subsidies and tax breaks the nuclear industry has gotten over the years are enormous)
- paying for secure storage of all that waste of hundreds of thousands of years won't come cheap, either

Keep in mind that military presence in oil rich regions are a matter of national security,

Huh? This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Military in foreign countries to boost security at home? Whatever you're on must be fantastic.
Noumenon
1 / 5 (2) Aug 22, 2011
environmental impact (relocating a few cities in the future because of rising sea levels will cost trillions) ..

Speculative non-sense.

subsidies

To get alternatives to be used before their proper market timing, would require subsidies in taxes, over the top regulations, etc,... so it's a wash.

I had a poster on here try to argue that the cost of military in oil rich nations should be added to the cost of oil and thought you may try to make the same argument ,...but you missed your opportunity.
Noumenon
2 / 5 (4) Aug 22, 2011
Nuclear:
subsidies (the subsidies and tax breaks the nuclear industry has gotten over the years are enormous)
- paying for secure storage of all that waste of hundreds of thousands of years won't come cheap, either


Again all energy sources will get "subsidies", even magic liberal pixie dust. The government is responsible for a countries infrastructure. We're speaking of what can the market bear in practice,.. right now it's oil and coal, as THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVES which the market can adopt and at the same time not collapse.

The cost of disposing of nuclear waste is included.
Noumenon
2 / 5 (4) Aug 22, 2011
Not even Al Gore or John Kerry will willingly use less energy, with their jets, mansions, and yachts. Their households use 30 times or more energy than the average household, yet they're still one person. This demonstrate that individual natural instinct is counter to social engineering, and such strategies will fail.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Aug 22, 2011
Well, what are they using to buffer the output of the wind farm?

The grid?

That they produce enough power from the wind farm does not mean that they will not feed excess into the grid or take from the grid in times of low wind.


Indeed, and here's the rub: the variation of such a small scale wind operation is so high that they will be powering their plant with the wind they generate less than 20% of the time. In all likelyhood, it will constantly produce much more than they can take, or not much at all.

The maximum nominal amount of wind power that you can fit in the grid is the same as your average load in the whole grid, because it might at any time generate at nearly full power, but on average it will then produce only about 20% of your total consumption. Germany is pretty close to that limit where they simply don't have anywhere to put the power.

It takes a little more than Germany in terms of land area to solve that problem, because weather systems are huge.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Aug 22, 2011
Germany is pretty close to that limit where they simply don't have anywhere to put the power.

We're connected to the european power grid. It's pretty standard procedure to buy and sell to the grid (the wind doesn't blow everywhere at maximum strength - or conversely: the wind always blows somewhere)

The fact that weather systems are huge is actually the point why it works.
Eikka
not rated yet Aug 23, 2011
Germany is pretty close to that limit where they simply don't have anywhere to put the power.

We're connected to the european power grid. It's pretty standard procedure to buy and sell to the grid (the wind doesn't blow everywhere at maximum strength - or conversely: the wind always blows somewhere)

The fact that weather systems are huge is actually the point why it works.


Not really. Having large weather systems means that the wind conditions are the same over a vast area. It means you have to spread the grid further to average the output.

The GB, France, Germany, Poland, Scandinavia, etc. all together are only enough to bring the maximum variation from 0-100% to about 5-60%. That means the average output per maximum output goes from 20% to approximately 33%, so the ability to absorb wind power shifts from 1/4 to 1/3.

That's still not a great improvement. That's why there is talk about the supergrid spanning the whole Europe and North Africa as well.
Eikka
not rated yet Aug 23, 2011
And the further problem is, that wind power at its maximum clashes with other means of renewable energy.

For example, when you have the maximum amount of wind power built into your grid, you can't fit e.g. solar panels in there because at any time you might have the windmills and the solar panels both producing and not enough demand for it.

Building more wind power requires greater and greater amounts of adjustable power generation, until at the maximum point there is nothing but wind power and adjustable power. That excludes things like wave/tide/solar energy.

So the problem becomes, how to make that remaining 2/3 with something that is both renewable and adjustable.

If price and efficiency were not an objection, we could dump the overproduction into hydrogen, or into pumped hydro storage, or liquid nitrogen etc. etc.
Eikka
not rated yet Aug 23, 2011
A recent example of the problem comes from the US where higher than average rainfall caused extra water in hydroelectric dams, which then had to run at full tilt to let it flow through.

And the wind power was generating at the same time, so they had to make a choice: either turn the windmills offwind, or dump water past the turbines.

Both ways waste energy.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Aug 23, 2011
Not really. Having large weather systems means that the wind conditions are the same over a vast area.

Europe isn't exactly small. And in any case - even if such vast weather systems were a realiyt: you would have either vast windy areas or vast sunny areas. Both good for producing power.

It means you have to spread the grid further to average the output.

Another reason why DESERTEC and off-shore windfarms are a good idea.

The GB, France, Germany, Poland, Scandinavia, etc. all together are only enough to bring the maximum variation from 0-100% to about 5-60%. That means the average output per maximum output goes from 20% to approximately 33%, so the ability to absorb wind power shifts from 1/4 to 1/3.

These numbers are based on?...

So the problem becomes, how to make that remaining 2/3 with something that is both renewable and adjustable.

That's why we need some form of storage. Plenty of ideas about (right up to closing off a fjord or two)
Eikka
not rated yet Aug 23, 2011
And of the grid itself, there is the problem that AC transmission lines are inefficient over long distances.

That means the whole grid operates in a sense like a row of dominoes. Power is transmitted only over short distances of a few hundred miles in a chain of powerplants.

It does not work for wind power, because to get from one end of the grid to the other, there must be someone in the middle producing the power. If there isn't, then no power can be shuffled between the ends of the grid no matter how much it blows somewhere far away.

You have to have a "supergrid" of sorts with extremely long transmission lines to get it to work properly, and that infrastructure is both non-existent and extremely expensive.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Aug 23, 2011
And the wind power was generating at the same time, so they had to make a choice: either turn the windmills offwind, or dump water past the turbines.

Both ways waste energy.

So? Since both sources are effectively free there is no loss here. Throwing away something that you got at zero cost is not waste.

If you want to be pedantic about it then turning off the windmills in such a superabundant scenario might be more beneficial since one might expect that they accrue more maintenance cost per Wh produced than a hydro plant does.

And of the grid itself, there is the problem that AC transmission lines are inefficient over long distances.

This is why the DESERTEC lines are all planned to be DC. As are all the long distance lines between countries.

Yes: alternative power will need a partial revamping of the grid. But not as much as one would suspect.
Eikka
not rated yet Aug 23, 2011
These numbers are based on?...


E.on-Netz raport. I can't find it on google at the moment, because I don't remember what it was called.

you would have either vast windy areas or vast sunny areas. Both good for producing power.


On the surface that looks good, but the flipside is that you then get vast areas with no wind and vast areas with no sun.

The wind and sun don't go in perfect lock-step. You have to take into account the high probability that at times you have neither wind nor sun, or both at the same time.
Eikka
not rated yet Aug 23, 2011

So? Since both sources are effectively free there is no loss here. Throwing away something that you got at zero cost is not waste.


They are not "effectively free".

You have to build and maintain the powerplants, which means that if they are not able to produce as much energy as they could, the price of said energy goes up.

If you buy a car and only ever drive one mile with it, how much does that mile cost you? Answer: the price of the car.
Eikka
not rated yet Aug 23, 2011

This is why the DESERTEC lines are all planned to be DC. As are all the long distance lines between countries.


There's surprisingly few HVDC lines out there, partly because they are expensive, and partly because the converting stations waste energy.

The DESERTEC plan is not politically feasible, and some would say not ethically feasible because it would mean colonizing North Africa for the sake of feeding the electricity demands of Europe. It hinges on the idea that the North Africans wouldn't need much of the electricity themselves.

You'd have to somehow stabilize the middle east as well for it to work, and get Egypt, Sudan, Saudi-Arabia, Iraq and Iran to behave favorably to European interests. (i.e. jump whenever they shout)
Eikka
not rated yet Aug 23, 2011
Here's the map of current HVDC lines in Europe:

http://en.wikiped...rope.svg

There's not many, and they don't interconnect much anything.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Aug 24, 2011
On the surface that looks good, but the flipside is that you then get vast areas with no wind and vast areas with no sun.

Yes. But the greater your grid the less likely such a scenario (and therefore the smaller the buffering capacity you need). Biogas power plants fit that role well. They can react quickly to such changes (something coal and nuclear powerplants can't because they have run-up times of days to weeks)

If you buy a car and only ever drive one mile with it, how much does that mile cost you? Answer: the price of the car.

A car that isn't used too much will last longer. The total mileage you get out of one car that is used constantly and another that is only used intermittently is the same.
your argument only holds if such power plants would be used every blue moon - but that is not the case.

There's surprisingly few HVDC lines out there,

that's why I said 'planned'.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Aug 24, 2011
The DESERTEC plan is not politically feasible, and some would say not ethically feasible because it would mean colonizing North Africa for the sake of feeding the electricity demands of Europe.

The DESERTEC plan says that the nrgy production is first and foremost to be used for desalination plants and energy needs of the MENA nations. North Africa has such a super abundance of potential solar power (and cheap land) that I can't see any problem here with building some extra plants to feed Europe. Could be a first step towards integrating the two continents into a whole.

You'd have to somehow stabilize the middle east as well for it to work, and get Egypt, Sudan, Saudi-Arabia, Iraq and Iran to behave favorably to European interests.

you don't need all of them. Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt (and Lybia in a few days) seem like good candidates. Even if only Morocco were to become a partner that would be ample. Add to that all the unused area in southern Portugal.
Eikka
not rated yet Aug 24, 2011

The DESERTEC plan says that the nrgy production is first and foremost to be used for desalination plants and energy needs of the MENA nations.


Which hinges on the assumption that with the energy available they would not develop much further so they wouldn't use all that much energy, and there would be spare capacity left over for Europe when our windmills stop turning.

A car that isn't used too much will last longer. The total mileage you get out of one car that is used constantly and another that is only used intermittently is the same.


But you still missed the point completely. A car that is only EVER driven 1 mile will cost you the price of the car for that mile. Windmills have a design life of around 25 years due to structural constraints. In fact you have to keep them turning or else the blades would bend unevenly. After a while, you have to replace them.

If you dump the energy they would generate, then you increase the price of the energy they do generate.
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Aug 24, 2011
Windmills have a design life of around 25 years due to structural constraints. In fact you have to keep them turning or else the blades would bend unevenly. After a while, you have to replace them.

It really hinges on whtehr that scenario you talk about is really a reality. past experience would not bear you out on that

In 2008 germany had a testrun of multiple conected powerplants including hydro, wind, solar(thermal) and biomass to supply *base* and peak loads to 11000 homes. It worked all year round (summer *and* winter) without a hitch - biomass taking up the slack whenever the others couldn't cope.

If you dump the energy they would generate, then you increase the price of the energy they do generate.

Again: How often do you need to dump? How likely are continent spanning weather systems I watch the weather forecast daily - I have to the best of my recolection, not in 40 years, seen a 'windless, overcast' forecast for an entire country - let alone a continent.

Eikka
not rated yet Aug 24, 2011

A car that isn't used too much will last longer. The total mileage you get out of one car that is used constantly and another that is only used intermittently is the same.


Untrue. There is a shelf-life for cars as well as for windmills.

The brakes will rust, the o-rings will stick, bearings get stuck, debris in oil will sediment and stick to surfaces inside the engine, the battery will go flat, the fuel will go stale, moisture will do its number on the electrical system... etc.

If you seal a car in a shipping container for more than months, you have to drain the fluids and "mothball" it. It doesn't work if the car is meant to be driven occasionally, because leaving it standing for most of the time just ruins it.

Eikka
not rated yet Aug 24, 2011
I have to the best of my recolection, not in 40 years, seen a 'windless, overcast' forecast for an entire country


How about you wait until your watch says 10 PM and step outside.

It may not be overcast, but the effect is the same.

Wind often follows fair weather in the summer, since it's in the high pressure zones that air rises up and is being replaced from the sides, and that updraft also clears the sky of clouds. You have less of a demand in the summer, and a high probability that both solar and wind are producing at the same time.

In the winter, clear skies with no wind is often associated with extremely cold weather. Precisely when you would need wind power, but you aren't getting any, and you aren't getting much solar power either because it's the winter.
Eikka
not rated yet Aug 24, 2011
There's surprisingly few HVDC lines out there,

that's why I said 'planned'.


You might notice that the green lines in the map are planned as of 2008.

That's a total of three new HVDC lines, two of them connecting Britain to France and Ireland. Nobody else is really considering them, because they're not really needed at the moment, and they are extremely expensive.
Eikka
not rated yet Aug 24, 2011

In 2008 germany had a testrun of multiple conected powerplants including hydro, wind, solar(thermal) and biomass to supply *base* and peak loads to 11000 homes. It worked all year round (summer *and* winter) without a hitch - biomass taking up the slack whenever the others couldn't cope.


The vast majority of the energy used by the homes was coming from the biomass and hydro-power. All they did was a small scale test with multiple redundancy to prove that it does work when you make it work.

We're talking about doing the same thing on the scale of Europe, not on the scale of a single small town. Where do you get enough biomass and enough waterfalls to satisfy the demand?
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Aug 24, 2011
As noted numerous times: The larger your grid the less biomass/hydro you need (as a percentage of the total)

For hydro there are a few interesting solutions proposed. The already mentioned closing off of a fjord is one. another was the creation of a 500m diameter piston of granite which could store excess energy as water under pressure. Calculations show that just two of these would be sufficient per country to iron out any weather fluctuations seen in the past.

Then there are the ideas of storing excess energy as hydrogen, compressed air or even reconstituted hydrocarbons - which would moot any argument about weather in which excess energy production must be shed.

It's still the beginning of a change - but there's really no alternative in the long run.

(As for the energy needs in North Africa: I just looked at the numbers. With the exception of Egypt the population numbers are quite small per country)

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