General or Impact on Landscape
This page [author's website] is dedicated to economic information that applies to wind-power projects anywhere in the United States and specifically applies to the Highland New Wind Development project proposed for the northwestern corner of Highland County, VA. Let me say right up front that I am not an economist or tax accountant. I will try to compile factual information on the economics of wind power along with the opinions of recognized experts in this field.
Editor's Note: This provides a good overview of the production tax credit, capacity factor, renewable portfolio standards, renewable energy certificates. and accelerated depreciation. Readers are encouraged to visit the author's site via the link below for the most current version, e.g. the author is planning to update the production tax credit information to the current prevailing rate of 1.9 cents per kWh.
The allure of an environmentally benign, abundant, and cost-effective energy source has led an increasing number of industrialized countries to back public financing of renewable energies. Germany’s experience with renewable energy promotion is often cited as a model to be replicated elsewhere, being based on a combination of far-reaching energy and environmental laws that stretch back nearly two decades. This paper critically reviews the current centerpiece of this effort, the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), focusing on its costs and the associated implications for job creation and climate protection. We argue that German renewable energy policy, and in particular the adopted feed-in tariff scheme, has failed to harness the market incentives needed to ensure a viable and cost-effective introduction of renewable energies into the country’s energy portfolio. To the contrary, the government’s support mechanisms have in many respects subverted these incentives, resulting in massive expenditures that show little long-term promise for stimulating the economy, protecting the environment, or increasing energy security. In the case of photovoltaics, Germany’s subsidization regime has reached a level that by far exceeds average wages, with per-worker subsidies as high as 175,000 € (US $ 240,000)
The latest annual energy forecast issued by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA)
indicates that, by the year 2030, wind energy would supply less than 1% of US electric
generation and about 4/10 of 1% of total US energy consumption.
This forecast, which likely overstates the potential contribution of wind energy, helps show that officials of the wind industry and US Department of Energy are misleading the public, media and government officials with their claims that wind might supply 20% of US electricity.
Editor's Note: This is a useful inventory of US wind plants as of 2005. A word of caution, however, regarding the column entitled 'Summer (July-September) Capacity Factor. The 'capacity factor' refers to average energy generation, not a plant's 'effective capacity' (a.ka. capacity value) which measures a plant's energy generation during periods of 'peak demand'. As peak demand normally occurs during the warmest/least windy days, a plant's 'effective capacity' is generally considerably lower than its 'average capacity'. This discrepancy, of course, has significant system wide capacity implications and belies the assertion that wind energy can replace conventional, reliable capacity.
This brief paper by energy expert Glenn Schleede explains several key terms that are needed to understand the critically important differences between the quality and value of (i) the intermittent, volatile and unreliable electricity
from wind turbines and (ii) the reliable and more valuable electricity from generating units that
can be called upon to produce electricity whenever it is needed.
This motion was filed with the Vermont Public Service Board on Sep 22, the day hearings were to begin for the Deerfield Wind LLC proposal. Deerfield Wind LLC is seeking to erect 15 industrial scale wind turbines in the Green Mountain National Forest. In response, the Vermont Public Service Board ordered that the hearings be rescheduled to December 1, 2008.
Five options for cutting CO2 emissions from electricity generation in Australia are compared with a "Business as Usual" option over the period 2010 to 2050. The six options comprise combinations of coal, gas, nuclear, wind and solar thermal technologies.
The conclusions: The nuclear option reduces CO2 emissions the most, is the only option that can be built quickly enough to make the deep emissions cuts required, and is the least cost of the options that can cut emissions sustainably. Solar thermal and wind power are the highest cost of the options considered. The cost of avoiding emissions is lowest with nuclear and highest with solar and wind power.
H.R. 2337 just introduced in the US House of Representatives by Congressman Rahall (D-WV), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. Title II, Subtitle D (beginning with Sec. 231 on page 39) of the bill addresses the safe siting of wind energy facilities. This specific section can be found below.