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Opinion on health hazards of wind powered electricity generating turbines of the commercial variety being proposed in PEC is moving from the anecdotal domain to a deeper understanding of causality. However, it should be stated that many conclusions are disputed. There is however a significant and growing trend towards caution.
It is still expensive, for one. Liddle put generating costs alone at nine to 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. This in a province where residential users pay a regulated price of five and 5.8 cents per kilowatt-hour, depending on use-though in recent months industrial power users have been paying market prices of eight to ten cents per kilowatt-hour for their power. It is also unreliable. Power production depends on how the winds blow: turbines turn off when wind speeds fall below four metres per second, or when they exceed 25; they produce the most power at wind speeds of 18 metres per second.
If the wind isn't blowing at peak times, the argument goes, then the wind turbines are not contributing to the power in the grid. However, if wind farms could store all the power they generate at off-peak times, during the night for example, and then control the way and time it is released, it would not only enhance the revenue streams they could receive, but also remove the intermittency claims. Now, a Canadian energy management firm claims to be able to do just that. EPOD International has secured two pilot projects with wind power developers in Canada and the US to test their proprietary energy storage system, the EMT.
But world energy resources are adequate to meet this sustained growth trend because global oil reserves today exceed the cumulative projected production to 2030, IEA said. This optimistic outlook, however, is based on a reference scenario that IEA describes as "unsustainable." Under that reference scenario, primary world energy demand increases by an average rate of 1.6%/year, with fossil fuels accounting for 83% of the projected increase. By 2030, the world consumes 16.3 billion tonnes of oil equivalent (toe)/year5.5 billion toe more than it does todaywith more than two thirds of energy use coming from developing countries.
Editor's Note: This article is available via the link below.
This working paper is made available by the Resource and Environmental economics and Policy Analysis (REPA) Research Group at the University of Victoria. REPA working papers have not been peer reviewed and contain preliminary research findings. They shall not be cited without the expressed written consent of the author(s). Editor's Note: The authors’ conclusion regarding ‘effective capacity’, i.e. the measure of a generator’s contribution to system reliability that is tied to meeting peak loads, is that it “is difficult to generalize, as it is a highly site-specific quantity determined by the correlation between wind resource and load” and that ‘values range from 26 % to 0% of rated capacity.” This conclusion is based, in part, on a 2003 study by the California Energy Commission that estimated that three wind farm aggregates- Altamont, San Gorgonio and Tehachpi, which collectively represent 75% of California’s deployed wind capacity- had relative capacity credits of 26.0%, 23.9% and 22.0% respectively. It is noteworthy that during California’s Summer ’06 energy crunch, as has been widely publicized in the press, wind power produced at 254.6 MW (10.2% of wind’s rated capacity of 2,500MW) at the time of peak demand (on July 24th) and over the preceding seven days (July 17-23) produced at 89.4 to 113.0 MW, averaging only 99.1 MW at the time of peak demand or just 4% of rated capacity.
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.
The development of commercial wind power that is currently fashionable is potentially misguided, ineffective and neither environmentally nor socially benign; but it is the right of citizens of rural areas to enjoy both clean and safe energy generation and an unspoiled countryside.