General or Montana
In the UK, the parallel objective is to generate 10% of the UK’s electricity from
renewable sources by 2010. Renewable electricity has become synonymous with
CO2 reduction. However, the relationship between renewables and CO2 reduction in
the power generation sector does not appear to have been examined in detail, and
the likelihood, scale, and cost of emissions abatement from renewables is very
The purpose of this report is to analyse a wide range of technical literature that
questions whether the renewables policy can achieve its goals of emissions reduction
and power generation. To some, renewable energy has the simple and unanalysed
virtue of being “green”. However, the reality of this quality is dependent on practical
issues relating to electricity supply.
......In conclusion, it seems reasonable to ask why wind-power is the beneficiary of such extensive support if it not only fails to achieve the CO2 reductions required, but also causes cost increases in back-up, maintenance and transmission, while at the same time discouraging investment in clean, firm generation.
So, before we proclaim victory against our profligate use of fossil fuels in the last 50 years, politicians and environmental groups might ponder the huge costs in dollars and environmental damage before 20-storey windmills festoon our coastlines, our sea lanes and our beautiful Quebec hills.
Large-scale use of wind power can alter local and global climate by extracting kinetic energy and altering turbulent transport in the atmospheric boundary layer. We report climate-model simulations that address the possible climatic impacts of wind power at regional to global scales by using two general circulation models and several parameterizations of the interaction of wind turbines with the boundary layer. We find that very large amounts of wind power can produce nonnegligible climatic change at continental scales. Although
large-scale effects are observed, wind power has a negligible effect on global-mean surface temperature, and it would deliver enormous global benefits by reducing emissions of CO2 and air pollutants. Our results may enable a comparison between the climate impacts due to wind power and the reduction in climatic impacts achieved by the substitution of wind for fossil fuels.
In August 2004, Chautauqua County Citizens for Responsible Wind Power submitted a letter to the NYSERDA Board of Directors outlining our concerns about NYSERDA’s involvement with the proposed Chautauqua County wind energy project. Mr. Vincent DeIorio initially responded to us in a letter dated August 24, 2004. Mr. Peter Keane then provided a supplemental response in his September 29, 2004 letter. We find that both of these letters do not address the core issues outlined in our August 2004 letter. The following summarizes our concerns in context of the responses provided by NYSERDA to date:
...some wind power facilities, such as
the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA) in eastern Alameda and Contra Costa Counties,
California, are causing severe environmental impacts to raptor populations due to bird kills from
collisions with turbines and electrocution on power lines.
Wind power is good for the environment, right?
On a small scale, yes. However on a commercial level, wind generated electricity cannot be stored, creating factors that negate most of the environmental benefits. Environmentalists around the world are now recognizing that wind development is often more harmful than it is beneficial.
Denmark (population c. 5.4 million) is a leading pioneer in renewable energy. Since 1985 it has set up about 3,100 MW of wind capacity. Of this 420 MW are sited offshore (Nielsen, 2004), and more is planned for the near future (Bendtsen and Hedegaard, 2004). Over the same period many small gas- or bio-fuelled CHP plants were deployed, primarily for local district heating but also to produce electricity. Interest in solar power is also considerable.
The main reason given for imposing wind turbines upon us is that they displace fossil fuel carbon dioxide (CO2) emission. The BWEA claims that wind generation displaces 0.86 tonne CO2 per megawatt-hour (MWh) of coal-fired CO2 emission. This is deliberately misleading. The true figure is the displacement of emission from the average of "coal-fired + gas-fired" generation. It is 0.58 t CO2 per MWh.* These two figures are absolute maxima as they are not corrected for the emission of CO2 by the reserve generation necessary to back up intermittence of wind. This is now accepted as at least 0.3 to 0.5 times the installed wind generating capacity.
Editor's Note This is essentially a 'how to' guide for wind energy developers based on issues and problems encountered prior to July 2004.
A necessary step in any attempt to understand the outlook for US
energy supply and demand
Comments by Glenn Schleede for
The owners and members of
Associated Electric Cooperative, Incorporated
At their 2004 Annual Meeting in
St. Louis, Missouri