Wind turbines need a constant supply of electricity
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In case you are afraid that “Parasitic Consumption” (PC) refers to little mites eating the wind turbines, no need to worry. This euphemistic term describes the wind-farms need to use electric power FROM the grid, rather than delivering any TO the grid.
Wind Turbines need Electricity
Wind turbines need a constant supply of electricity to keep the gear boxes at the right temperature, to power the system controls, for lighting and operational purposes, and—in winter—to heat the blades in order to prevent any build-up of ice. These requirements are entirely independent from wind.
Altogether, the energy consumption of any wind-farm can be substantial. Even for small farms with three turbines only, it can be in the order of 100 kW—already in summer. The wind-farm operators have invented the term “Parasitic Consumption” to obfuscate that need.
Variability of Wind
The variability of wind is well known. It can change from a dead calm to violent gusts and severe storms in a few minutes and vice versa. Such rapid changes need an equally rapid response to adjust the turbines’ blade angles to the changing wind force. Without such changes the turbine may not deliver the energy it could or the whole turbine system might get damaged. In fact, despite such precautions, the turbines’ gear boxes (which make up 1/3 of the entire cost) on average last only seven years. No wonder many thousands of wind turbines are simply flailing in the wind without producing anything (other than dead birds and bats)—in the absence of more taxpayer funds, the cost to replace the gears is too great.
In common parlance, “parasitic” refers to an organism living in or on another one and causing a disease. The wind-farm operators use the term “parasitic consumption” to create the impression that it is a curable “disease.” Well, nothing could be further from the truth. PC is an incurable systemic fault caused by lack of useful wind.
Perhaps the Merriam-Webster dictionary has the right definition of wind-farm operators: “a person who exploits the hospitality of the rich and earns welcome by flattery.” Certainly, the wind-farms exploit the current “hospitality” of the electricity-consuming public. The farms consume cheap “stand-by” power (mostly from fossil fuel and nuclear power generation facilities) and sell their power at a multiple of the rate they are getting it. I think it should be the other way around—they should be paying a multiple of what they are getting for their intermittent wind power.
In short, the wind-farms are the real parasites.