The Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University has studied the Cape Wind proposal in considerable detail, and offers the following comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Reference file no. NAE-2004-338-
Library filed under Pollution from USA
I was asked to review the prefiled testimony and exhibits of Matthew Rubin for the East Haven Windfarm and to provide an independent opinion regarding the claimed environmental benefits, estimated benefit values, project footprint and noise impacts and general wind project economic issues.
Given its location, Gray County would have displaced mostly NGCC and some oil fired generation. Using the average 2003 NGCC heatrate for the sub-powerpool (7,478 Btu/kWh) and the average CO2 content of natural gas (116 #CO2/MMBtu), the project may have displaced only 158,000 tons of CO2 in 2003 (0.00207% of 2003 US estimated emissions according to the USDOE report entitled Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States, 2003 (issued December 13, 2004). (Note in 2002, the output was less and it would have displaced only 140,000 tons).
Unfortunately, there is a major flaw in all this current "fixative" thinking. Simply put, no matter how strong any Senate mandate, the technology needed to stabilize global atmospheric levels of CO2 does not exist. This crucial fact, noted in science journals, is woefully ignored.
Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in moving air into rotational energy, which in turn is converted to electricity. Since wind speeds vary from month to month and second to second, the amount of electricity wind can make varies constantly. Sometimes a wind turbine will make no power at all. This variability does affect the value of the wind power……Editor’s Note: This ‘fact sheet’ is, on the whole, a comparatively fair report. The definitions provided for capacity factor, efficiency, reliability, dispatchability, and availability are useful. Its discussion of back-up generation, marginal emissions and Germany & Denmark, however, is disingenuous as is, to a lesser degree, its discussion of capacity factor and availability. IWA's comments (updated October '06) on these issues follow selected extracts from the 'fact sheet' below.