Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Wind Energy Development in the Mountains of Virginia

Rick Webb's presentation on October 17 at the Energy Virginia conference provides a thought provoking analysis of the costs and benefits of industrial wind energy.

Selected Extracts:

RPS/Fundamental Questions 

The upcoming General Assembly Session will consider Renewable Portfolio Standard legislation that will require the use of renewable energy, including wind energy, in Virginia.
Before we mandate wind development, shouldn’t we first answer some fundamental questions?
-How much wind power is actually available ?
-How much and where can wind be developed given appropriate guidelines and restrictions ?
-What are the tradeoffs in terms of environmental costs and benefits ?

Benefits Summary for Maximum Potential Onshore Wind Development in Virginia

•Electricity generation equal to only 3.8% of projected 2015 demand
•No reduction in fossil fuel consumption
•Little or no reduction in SO2and NOX emissions
•CO2offset equal to only 1.8% of projected 2015 emissions

Better Alternatives

–Address our 2.5% annual growth rate in electricity consumption
•Focus on major emission sources
–Maximize the air quality dividend
•Objective assessment of options
–Go beyond qualitative slogans

Evaluating The Costs And Benefits Of Wind Energy Development In The Mountains Of Virginia Webb

Download file (4.27 MB) pdf


OCT 17 2006
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