Saturday, February 9, 2013

On Wind Energy and Cost

Barring some major technological advance, wind energy will never be cheaper than fossil fuels. The fact of the matter is that wind energy is intermittent and inefficient (the best wind turbines operate at about a 35% capacity and the worst ones are under 10%) and, because of that, it will always need a back-up source and that back-up source will unfortunately probably a coal-fired plant (and it isn't as if these suckers can be turned on and off in that that frequently burns MORE CO2). Add to that the fact that it takes a massive amount of energy and raw material to even make a wind farm (never mind the environmental impact of cutting down trees and harming endangered species) AND the thousands and thousands of miles of new power lines that are necessary and the costs involved are even more exorbitant. I'm sorry, folks, but the more that I look at this wind power, the less that I like it..............................................................................................P.S. Here's a little "back-up" for me......."Wind power is more expensive than conventional power generation in part because the wind's intermittent production patterns need to be augmented with dispatchable generators to match power demand.......In order to provide reliable capacity throughout the year, every megawatt of wind capacity needs to be matched up with a megawatt of dispatchable capacity." Cambridge Energy Research Associates (2008)............."Because wind cannot be called up on demand, especially at the time of peak demand, installed wind generation capacity does not reduce the amount of installed conventional generating capacity required. So wind cannot contribute to reducing the capital investment in generating plants. Wind is simply an additional capital investment." Peter Lang (2009), energy engineer............."China's ambition to create 'green cities' powered by huge wind farms comes with a dirty little secret: Dozens of new coal-fired plants need to be installed as well for use when the winds aren't favorable." Jing Yang, The Wall Street Journal (September, 2009).............According to the The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the wind grid in Texas is currently operating at an 8.7% efficiency rate there (I guess that not everything in Texas is big). That translates into wind providing only 1.2% of Texas's total electricity.............According to the Danish Energy Agency, from 1999 to 2008, Denmark increased the amount of electricity that they were deriving from wind by a whopping 139%....So, what was the effect of this policy on cost? Try a 73% increase from 22 cents per kilowatt hour in 1999 to 38 cents per kilowatt hour in 2008. Yep, that's a lot of green indeed.

4 comments:

Rusty Shackelford said...



Right about now Will.....would'nt it be good to have snow power.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I was barely able to open my door tonight. Snow power? Absotively.

dmarks said...

Hollywood is run on it, Will. If by snow you mean cocaine.

Barlowe Bayer said...

It's a good thing global warming is a hoax.