Library filed under Energy Policy

The Low Benefit of Industrial Wind

The_low_benefit_of_industrial_wind__e.__rosenbloom_thumb Eric Rosenbloom writes: "Driving the desire for industrial wind power is the conviction that its development is necessary to reduce the effects of fossil and/or nuclear fuel use. Thus the local impacts of large industrial wind turbine installations are justified by a greater good of healthier air and water, reduction of global warming, and moving away from harmful mining and fuel wars. These are all without question important goals. While the wind power industry tends to downplay its negative effects, many conservation groups call for careful siting and ongoing study to minimize them. There is debate, therefore, about the actual impacts, but there is none about the actual benefits. Even the most cautious of advocates do not doubt, for example, that "every kilowatt-hour generated by wind is a kilowatt-hour not generated by a dirty fuel." That may be true for a small home with substantial battery storage, but such a formula is, at best, overly simplistic for large turbines meant to supply the grid. The evidence from countries that already have a large proportion of wind power suggests that is has no effect on the use of other sources. This is not surprising when one learns how the grid works: A rise in wind power simply causes a thermal plant to switch from generation to standby, in which mode it continues to burn fuel." Author Rosenbloom goes on to take a look at the experience with industrial wind of Ireland, Denmark and Germany and concludes that wind energy's benefits are largely illusory and do not warrant the degradation of rural and wild areas.
1 Oct 2005

Wind energy month: What does that mean?

It suggests a welcoming atmosphere for the industrial wind developers who are gauging the state's appetite for wind towers on our ridgelines. That's not the intent of the proclamation, according to Jason Gibbs, the governor's spokesman. It's about promoting renewable energy in general, and small wind power projects specifically -- on "a Vermont scale."
30 Sep 2005

Wind Energy Technology Acceptance

The goal of the Technology Acceptance activity is that "By 2010, at least 100 MW will be installed in 30 states." Further, the Technology Acceptance effort is striving to ensure that, by 2005, at least 20 MW will be installed in 32 states.Editor's Note: This is tantamount to a 'full court press' without any consideration of the critical 'impact' issues related to wind energy, i.e. wind energy's (1) negligible value as a source of base load capacity, (2) ineffectiveness in reducing emissions, (3) cost implications for electrical transmission, (4) cost to tax and rate payers, (5) affect upon the quality of our lives, our environment, on wildlife and on tourist/second home based economies, etc .
9 Sep 2005

Friction over forest

It's not easy to strike a balance, and that's where the friction arises. In Vermont, it is playing out as the U.S. Forest Service is faced with delivering a new management plan for the Green Mountain National Forest, a 400,000-acre parcel of public land in central and southern Vermont.
21 Aug 2005

A Practical Analysis of the Merits of Wind Power on Glebe (Magic) Mountain

Wind power is an idea that is appealing to the imagination. It sounds like a "free" source of energy that would be non-polluting and stable in cost. I am an optimist, and I love technology. If I thought for one moment that windmills would be a source of low cost energy, I would be building them. The reality is quite the contrary--wind power is wasteful of human and natural resources.
1 Aug 2005

Towers on public land

Do we now want to see pristine ridge lines turned into pincushions with enormous white turbines whirring along the skyline? Most people support clean energy sources, but at what price? Is this the vision Americans had of its national forests when these wild places were set aside for our children and their children to enjoy?
24 Jul 2005

Greenhouse Hypocrisy

Robert Samuelson writes in the Washington Post: "Almost a decade ago I suggested that global warming would become a "gushing" source of political hypocrisy. So it has. Politicians and scientists constantly warn of the grim outlook, and the subject is on the agenda of the upcoming Group of Eight summit of world economic leaders. But all this sound and fury is mainly exhibitionism -- politicians pretending they're saving the planet. The truth is that, barring major technological advances, they can't (and won't) do much about global warming. It would be nice if they admitted that, though this seems unlikely."
29 Jun 2005

Working Paper: Utility-scale Wind Power: Impacts of Increased Penetration

Dti3_20robin_20oakley_20atl_1__thumb 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.
1 Jun 2005
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