Library filed under Energy Policy
Eyesores or clean machines? Environmentalists are split over the giant energy-producing towers popping up in Maryland and other states.
Eric Rosenbloom writes: "Although Greenpeace's answer to wind-farm.org, Yes2Wind, includes a link to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), I was not surprised to find almost nothing from IPCC about wind power. In one 1996 Technical Paper, "Technologies, Policies and Measures for Mitigating Climate Change," wind is discussed among other renewable sources. The study is interesting. It examines seven areas of human activity that affect the emission of greenhouse gases, especially CO2. The main topics are buildings, transport, industry, and the energy supply itself to these three areas. Also of concern is agriculture, which accounts for only 5% of human CO2 release but 50% of CH4 and 70% of N2O; forests, the clearing and degradation of which in low latitudes adds 1.2-2.0 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC) to the atmosphere per year, while mid- and high-latitude forests remove 0.5-0.9 GtC/yr; and waste treatment, which adds carbon in the form of methane (CH4)."
This response to the Dti’s consultation has been prepared by Hugh Sharman of Incoteco (Denmark) ApS, and The Renewable Energy Foundation, working in collaboration. Hugh Sharman is an energy consultant, based in Denmark. Most of Incoteco’s work is done for and with large energy companies seeking innovative environmental solutions to practical problems. An example is its leading role in the formulation and development of the “CO2 for EOR in the North Sea” (CENS) project during 2001. During 2004, Incoteco (Denmark) ApS completed a wind-energy related study for the Danish Energy Agency that was also supported by a number of important Scandinavian energy companies. Its purpose was to find more effective uses for the large wind power surplus that is generated in West Denmark. The Renewable Energy Foundation is a newly created foundation which has arisen from widespread and growing public concern that the current renewables energy policy is in itself unbalanced, and causing subsequent imbalances in the rest of the energy sector. REF encourages the development of renewable energy and energy conservation whilst safeguarding the landscapes of the United Kingdom from unsustainable industrialisation. In pursuit of this goal, REF highlights the need for an overall energy policy that is balanced, ecologically sensitive and effective.
Lessons Learned: E.ON Netz GmbH, the largest grid operator in Germany, reports in its Wind Report 2005, that "Wind energy cannot replace conventional power stations to any significant extent...The more wind power capacity [on] the grid, the lower the percentage of traditional generation it can replace."
....there are too many forms of subsidies and favoritism to determine accurately which energy sources get the best treatment, although some interpretations can be made. In any case, those who argue that their technology should receive more in order to compensate for another technology’s subsidies are being disingenuous. Congressional subsidies in the latest energy bill will only make matters worse.
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).
To help guide our own internal policy on wind energy, VNRC has developed a list of criteria that we feel is appropriate to consider for wind energy development. These criteria are not exclusive to state owned land, but rather focus on developing a vision for siting wind energy infrastructure in Vermont. We have included specific considerations for State lands as well. The goal is to integrate the need to develop new in-state sources of renewable energy with protection of existing environmental values and public policy goals.
That’s the stunning thing about nuclear power: tiny quantities of raw material can do so much.
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.
Key Energy Issues to 2025 The Energy Information Administration (EIA), in preparing model forecasts for its Annual Energy Outlook 2005 (AEO2005), evaluated a wide range of current trends and issues that could have major implications for U.S. energy markets over the 20-year forecast period, from 2005 to 2025. Trends in energy supply and demand are linked with such unpredictable factors as the performance of the U.S. economy overall, advances in technologies related to energy production and consumption, annual changes in weather patterns, and future public policy decisions [see endnote 1 on page 8]. Among the most important issues identified as having the potential to affect the complex behavior of the domestic energy economy, oil prices and natural gas supply were considered to be of particular significance in increasing the uncertainty associated with the AEO2005 reference case projections.
"On November 10, 2004, the New York State Public Service Commission (“Commission”) published two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (“Notices”), identified as SAPA No. 03-E-1088SA2 and SAPA No. 03-E-1088SA3, in the State Register. These Notices indicate that the Commission is requesting comments on certain proposed measures intended to implement the renewable portfolio standard (“RPS”) that was adopted by the Commission by order issued September 24, 2004 (“RPS Order”)."
Absent special political privileges - federal research and development subsidies, tax breaks, and state RPS programs - today's renewable-energy industry, or most of it, would not even exist. Three decades, $14 billion in direct federal support, and untold billions in state taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies have failed to make "green" energy economically self-sustaining. Enough is enough. Congress should terminate, not expand, its patronage of this boondoggle.
Instead, the Government insist that onshore wind farms are the answer to meeting both our energy needs and our carbon dioxide emission targets, despite the fact that: • wind farms only generate energy when the wind is blowing, and then not too hard • they can't store energy, but only pass it on for immediate use, • they are sometimes opposed by local communities for sound environmental and economic reasons, and • they can only make a tiny contribution to achieving our renewables target .
“America can't afford to have an energy policy that's tailored to what's "in" politically. We need to focus our efforts on expanding meaningful alternatives to fossil fuels that can have a major impact on achieving energy security and reducing global warming.”
In the UK, the parallel objective is to generate 10% of the UK’s electricity from renewable sources by 2010. Renewable electricity has become synonymous with CO2 reduction. However, the relationship between renewables and CO2 reduction in the power generation sector does not appear to have been examined in detail, and the likelihood, scale, and cost of emissions abatement from renewables is very poorly understood. The purpose of this report is to analyse a wide range of technical literature that questions whether the renewables policy can achieve its goals of emissions reduction and power generation. To some, renewable energy has the simple and unanalysed virtue of being “green”. However, the reality of this quality is dependent on practical issues relating to electricity supply. ......In conclusion, it seems reasonable to ask why wind-power is the beneficiary of such extensive support if it not only fails to achieve the CO2 reductions required, but also causes cost increases in back-up, maintenance and transmission, while at the same time discouraging investment in clean, firm generation.
Background and Purpose: Vermont’s energy needs are growing while its future energy sources remain uncertain. At the same time, Agency lands are under ever-increasing pressure to serve more uses and needs. Part of meeting Vermont’s future energy needs will likely involve development of additional renewable energy sources in Vermont. The role of Agency of Natural Resource (ANR) lands in accommodating wind energy and other renewable energy projects has been the subject of recent public debate and is the focus of this policy.
A new simulation finds serious and previously unrecognized environmental threats from massive wind farms in the American Great Plains. A recent study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research by scientists from Princeton and Duke Universities indicates massive wind farms would significantly increase local surface drying and soil heating, which in turn would impact agricultural or range use on or near the wind farm. The modeling experiment used current wind turbine and rotor technology to assess local climate impacts from a simulated wind farm with 10,000 turbines, arranged in a simple, square array of 100 by 100 turbines, each spaced one kilometer apart.
All too often I hear an enthusiastic statement that wind generators will replace the power plant and become the singular source of our energy supply. Despite what the infrequent visitor to western Kansas may think, the wind does not always blow. Consumers want to turn on the television or do the wash at any time, illustrating that the demand for electricity is present even when the wind is not blowing.
"Wind-power does almost nothing to cut emissions of CO2 because its output is so unpredictable. This makes its fossil-fuel backup highly inefficient and tends to offset the savings as it makes."
Denmark (population c. 5.4 million) is a leading pioneer in renewable energy. Since 1985 it has set up about 3,100 MW of wind capacity. Of this 420 MW are sited offshore (Nielsen, 2004), and more is planned for the near future (Bendtsen and Hedegaard, 2004). Over the same period many small gas- or bio-fuelled CHP plants were deployed, primarily for local district heating but also to produce electricity. Interest in solar power is also considerable.