General and Energy Policy
Wind advocates like to say "The wind's always blowing somewhere" to counter concerns about the variability of wind power. This is true, and it means that wind can always be relied on to produce some power, but that does not mean that wind can always meet demand. In the United States' Great Plains wind belt, wind is typically anticorrelated with demand.
The USDA's Forest Service has proposed sweeping changes to its internal directives governing wildlife monitoring and special use authorizations. These proposed changes will greatly facilitate the siting of industrial wind turbines within our National Forests. The Wilderness Society submitted this letter to the Forest Service detailing concerns about the proposed changes. Windaction.org and over 50 other groups and individuals jointly signed this letter.
North American Electric Reliability Corporation released this assessment of the reliability and adequacy of the bulk power system in North America for the next ten years.
This report details transmission and operating issues and recommendations for integrating renewable resources on the CAISO Control Grid. The CAISO discusses the gross variations in electric production from wind energy due to the intermittent nature of the resource. During periods of highest demand, the winds drop off.
The November passage of Initiative 937 adds Washington to the states with renewable portfolio standards. Wind-powered generation is a resource of choice in meeting renewable standards, and it has been highly touted for its environmental benefits. Considered in isolation, the environmental benefits of a wind resource are undoubtedly warranted. However, it is misleading to consider wind on an isolated basis—that is, outside of the context of the full power-supply portfolio that is necessary to serve load. In the context of an integrated portfolio, much of the environmental benefit disappears and may even be non-existent as compared with other resource portfolio choices.
In particular, a full assessment of the impact of wind resources on the environment necessitates a look at the energy consequences of adding wind-generation to an integrated portfolio in the context of meeting load.
Accounting for energy, it is likely that there is no significant environmental difference between a resource portfolio adding wind generation and one adding high-efficiency combined-cycle gas turbines. It is also likely that the wind-based portfolio results in little reduction, if any, in the need for fossil fuels and therefore little reduction in the exposure to their price swings and environmental consequences. That is, the emissions and fossil-fuel impacts of a wind-based portfolio appear little better than a non-wind-based portfolio.
Editor's Note: This paper makes a critically important point re. wind's purported environmental benefits, i.e. "...it is misleading to consider wind on an isolated basis—that is, outside of the context of the full power-supply portfolio that is necessary to serve load. In the context of an integrated portfolio, much of the environmental benefit disappears and may even be non-existent as compared with other resource portfolio choices." In short, wind's environmental benefits (if any) will be grid-specific depending on the emissions generated (if any) of the reliable generating source(s) required to back it up.
This brief paper reviews and evaluates key aspects of energy policies and plans announced by New York State officials, and contrasts their electricity plans with those of the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) which is responsible for the reliability of New York's electricity grid. Both sets of plans have major implications for the people of New York.
On Jun 12, MA DOER granted Hydro Quebec approval for 108MW of wind to be eligible for the MA Rec market. There is an additional 212MW of wind that is already operating and may soon follow. DOER's decision is attached. A number of folks familiar with the New England REC market believe this decision, to be followed by others, will seriously depress REC values.
DOE released its first Annual Report on U.S. Wind Power Installation, Cost, and Performance Trends: 2006 on May 31st, providing an overview of developments and trends in the U.S. wind power market. The report analyzes trends in the marketplace, including wind power prices compared to wholesale electricity prices, project costs, turbine sizes, and developer consolidation. It also describes the increasing performance of wind projects, current ownership and financing structures, and trends among major wind power purchasers.
The report notes that U.S. wind power capacity increased by 27 percent in 2006 and that the United States had the fastest-growing wind power capacity in the world in 2005 and 2006. For the second straight year, the United States led the world by installing 2,454 megawatts of wind power capacity in 2006—16 percent of the capacity installed worldwide that year—followed by Germany, India, Spain, and China. Leading the way in annual growth capacity in the United States are Texas, Washington, and California.