USA or Alaska
Coal emits about twice as much CO2 during combustion as natural gas. But wind generation mostly displaces natural gas, because natural gas-fired generators are often the most costly form of conventional electricity production. Yet if regulators are truly concerned about reducing carbon emissions and air pollution, they should be encouraging gas-fired generation at the expense of coal.
If you think drilling 10,000 feet down for oil or fracturing shale "rock" to release natural gas is difficult, try focusing the power of the sun into a storable, usable, convenient, steady source of power. Or to store the wind's intermittent ability to generate power. None of this is easy so I believe we should use what we have while we are working on and dreaming about alternatives.
Returning to Denmark, according to a short article by Torbjörn Isacson (2010), one of the largest windmill producers in the world, Vestas (of Denmark), has run into serious difficulties, and will be reducing its production. What I would like to believe is that the economics of windpower are on the way to being understood by highly educated persons in Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia, but this is only partially the case.
I have been screaming to sell everything solar for months now ...I have felt the same way about wind, but it is such a darling that it keeps getting good press.
Vestas shows that the good press is just more of the feel-good variety, not of the payback variety -- which is the only thing that will work unless the government raises the price we pay for carbon fuels.
President Obama kicked off a five-state campaign swing yesterday with a stop at a "clean energy" plant in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. As it happens, Mr. Obama couldn't have chosen a better company to demonstrate the risks that taxpayers are taking with their billions in green stimulus investment.
the Altamont Pass, Calif., wind farm's cruel blades pulverize 4,700 birds each year, according to the National Audubon Society. Victims of this green power plant include golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, American kestrels and burrowing owls. ...Environmentalism's avian holocaust will continue - 33,000 birds annually, according to a 2002 Fish and Wildlife Service estimate - until government pulls the plug on subsidies for inefficient, unnecessary and deadly windmills.
In June, the Government Accountability Office issued a report that said that "communities will need hundreds of billions of dollars in coming years to construct and upgrade wastewater infrastructure." Add in the need for new spending on roads, dams, bridges etc. and it quickly becomes clear that politicians' infatuation with wind energy is diverting money away from projects far more important to the general public.
Wind power is sold as the answer to Nova Scotia's quest for renewable energy, but we're overlooking the health effects on people who live near windmills, and some serious questions about whether wind can really solve our electrical problems.
Wind turbines, despite being so very green themselves, are antipathetic to nature. On forested hillsides, they require the clear felling of woodland; on low-lying coastal sites, they necessitate the draining of wetland to facilitate the construction of access roads and enormous concrete foundations. ...In spite of the cost, wind power generates only about 4 per cent of the electricity used in Denmark: the truth is that almost all of it is wasted.
...government spending lots of taxpayer dollars is not the path to economic growth, new industries, or job creation. In fact, itís just the opposite. Government takes resources away from private-sector businesses, investment and risk-taking, in order to subsidize inefficiency. That most certainly is the case with the ongoing political romance with wind and solar power.
Little noticed recently was a joint venture announcement by two U.S. industry giants: Babcock and Wilcox (B&W), which produces technology for nuclear-powered naval vessels, and Bechtel, one of the world's largest engineering firms. They intend to complete development of a small modular 125 MW nuclear reactor that could run for four to five years without refueling, like naval power plants.
A combination of what remains of the tax equity market and government stimulus money this year is projected to bring the 2010 figure close to the $6 billion of the strong development years.
But all that could change without Congressional action. ...without a continuation of the grants [the study] foresees a 50 percent drop or greater to $3 billion in both 2011 and 2012.
The primary problem with a renewable energy standard—besides the general high cost of intermittent renewable energy—is transmitting the energy to population centers. Quite simply, the majority of states do not have access to renewable energy sources like wind and solar. ...transmission is unwieldy and expensive, making renewable energy even more expensive, particularly for the states that don’t produce it.
In this surreal debate, perhaps it's worth remembering that though it has been four centuries since Cervantes' character Sancho pointed out to Don Quixote, "Look, your worship ... what we see there are not giants but windmills, and what seem to be their arms are the vanes that turned by the wind make the millstone go," we still must look at things honestly for what they are, not just for what our fantasies want them to be.
To wit: is any modest climate bill worth the political cost, knowing they might not get any other bill passed this year or next?
Then, there's the question the utilities and green jobs advocates will have to answer: is this the market certainty they have been clamoring for?
Will Wolfe Island's eco-terminations prove more palatable with the public because they are caused by a ‘green industry'? If Canada follows the United States' lead, wind turbines will get a free ride.
GE is getting government subsidies to build wind turbines and solar panels. And it supports legislation that would force customers to use them. Immelt has placed the company in the untenable position of not being able to succeed unless it takes something from someone else - in this case taxpayer money and freedom.
"If green sources are really cheaper than fossil fuels, there is no need to subsidize them because households and businesses would have a built-in economic incentive to rely on (renewable energy sources) rather than on supposedly dirty, more expensive energies," writes Carlo Stagnaro, co-author of a study revealing the hidden, exorbitant costs of Italy's subsidized energy.
This means that wind and solar have to use more land, steel and ultra-long transmission lines, which reduces the projects economic viability and their ability to scale. They cannot compete.