Library filed under Energy Policy
Hundreds of thousands of acres spanning 34 states in the US have already been impacted by industrial wind power development. As we speak, thousands of giant turbines grind away, and TOGETHER they'll take the next 25 years to generate electricity that may last for a total of 19 days.
If renewables were indeed less expensive than conventional alternatives as suggested by the Public Policy Consulting Report, why mandate their purchase and set a minimum market share?
E.ON Netz manages the transmission grid in Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony, about a third of Germany, hosting 6,250 MW of Germany's 14,250 MW installed wind-generating capacity at the end of 2003. This report focuses on the operational challenges and costs associated with the intensive use of wind power due to wind's variability and unpredictability.
This paper is the explanation provided by Richard S Courtney of why it is not possible for electricity from windfarms to be useful to the UK electricity grid. The explanation was presented at the 2004 Conference of "Groups Opposed to Windfarms in the UK." It includes explanation of why use of windfarms is expensive and increases pollution from electricity generation.
Wind energy is growing rapidly because environmentalists think it has environmental benefits and the government has given it large tax incentives. But electricity consumers who want reliable delivery and who are truly concerned about the environment should question this preferential treatment. Wind energy is environmentally harmful and costly to taxpayers. Furthermore, its expansion could adversely affect the nation's electricity transmission system.
This presentation indicates that for New England the increasing demand for summer-time electricity is greater and increasing faster than winter-time demand. The fast-rising need for power in summer will likely result in construction of new power plants to keep ahead of demand - although inland industrial wind plants will not be able to contribute much to this demand period due to their very low capacity factor during summer months.
"The biggest blackout in history on August 14, 2003 brought all economic activity in the northeastern United States to a halt. At 4:11pm EST, the sudden plunge into darkness was a reminder of just how much we depend on energy for much of our activities. Thirty years earlier, another energy shock – the 1973 OPEC oil embargo – provided a more protracted lesson in the importance of energy to our overall well-being. The recommendations in this Plan all stem from the fundamental importance of energy to the State’s economy and the well-being of its citizens. Because energy – especially electricity – remains a fundamental driver of the VT economy, competitively priced energy continues to be vital, since differentials in energy costs can be a determinant in relative competitiveness of one region over another. The disparity between the average electric rates Vermont’s residential and business customers pay, and the average rates paid by customers in the U.S. as a whole, has steadily increased. In 1990, Vermont’s residential electric rates were about 15 percent higher than the U.S. average, commercial rates were about 20 percent higher, and industrial rates were some 35 percent higher than the U.S. average. Today, that disparity has grown to about 50 percent for all three classes"....
Eric Rosenbloom's comments on a report written by Eleanor Tillinghast on the poor performance of Vermont's Searsburg wind project. An environmental advocate in southwest Massachusetts, Ms. Tillinghast's report was published in The Caledonian-Record of St. Johnsbury (Vt) on December 17, 2003 but, unfortunately, is not available on line.
This report illustrates how a typical ISO might assess the capacity value of energy sources within an energy portfolio and the negligible capacity value accorded industrial wind. An excerot of the report discussing the limitations of wind is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on the page.
The random intermittency of electrical power supplied from many renewable sources, most notably wind, requires a high level of conventional back-up generating capacity to ensure security of supply. As the penetration of intermittent generators increases and becomes a significant proportion of the total, the extra system requirements and costs could pose serious problems. Although the causes of recent well-publicised blackouts have been due to other reasons, intermittency will exacerbate the potential for cascade failure. Editor's Note This paper complements the Irish Grid and Eon Netz reports that address the low capacity credit of wind power.
...the NYSRC stated that the design of a Renewable Portfolio Standard ("RPS") may have significant impact on the reliability of the New York State bulk power system.....
The aim is to show that the fuel economy and emissions reduction in the power systems consisting mainly of thermal power plants are not proportional with the electricity production of wind turbines. Participation of thermal power plants in the compensation of fluctuating production of windmills eliminates major part of the expected positive effect of wind energy. A method for calculation of real fuel economy and emissions reduction is described and a calculation example basing on Estonian and Danish data is given. Editor's Note: A worthwhile read in its entirely (attached pdf file). Selected extracts appear below.
Several detailed technical investigations of grid ancillary service impacts of wind power plants in the United States have recently been performed. These studies were applied to Xcel Energy (in Minnesota) and PacifiCorp and the Bonneville Power Administration (both in the northwestern United States). Although the approaches vary, three utility time frames appear to be most at issue: regulation, load following, and unit commitment. This paper describes and compares the analytic frameworks from recent analysis and discusses the implications and cost estimates of wind integration. The findings of these studies indicate that relatively large-scale wind generation will have an impact on power system operation and costs, but these impacts and costs are relatively low at penetration rates that are expected over the next several years.
"In a number of European nations, offshore wind farms are well established. However, in the United States, the concept is relatively new and an established approval process for offshore wind farm permitting does not yet exist. This document identifies the approval process one would need to take in order to site an offshore wind farm in coastal waters of the U.S., particularly North Carolina." Editor's Note: The U.S. Minerals Management Service, a branch of the Interior Department, has review responsibility for offshore projects per the 2005 Energy Policy Act passed in May 2005.
During the 1990s, West Denmark experienced a revolution in its generating capacity. Wind capacity grew from almost nothing in the mid-1980s to more than 60% of peak, local consumption in 2002. Similarly, the electricity generating capacity of smaller, decentralized CHP grew from very small beginnings in the late 1980s to almost 50% of the six, central CHP power plants that supply all the major towns with district heating. In a single decade, the nominal generating capacity of West Denmark more or less doubled. In 2002, renewable, mostly wind energy supplied the equivalent of roughly 19% of West Denmark’s consumption. This will increase to 21%, or so, during 2003. There are about 2.7 million residents in West Denmark, so the number of wind generators per head of population is 1.74 machines per 1000 people. In the UK, this would amount to about 100,000. West Denmark is therefore the most intensely wind mill populated land on the planet.
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.
Many people accept the well-publicized claim that windmills will be able to supply a significant share of our country’s growing requirements for electricity. They also believe that wind energy is environmentally benign and a way to avoid emissions from other sources of energy for electric generation. Political leaders in windy states have even been persuaded that “wind farms” will provide economic benefits, principally through rental payments to landowners. As proposals to build “wind farms” have proliferated, however, the adverse impacts of wind energy are becoming clear to a growing number of citizens, consumers and taxpayers. They are learning that “wind energy” has adverse environmental, ecological, scenic and property value impacts. They are learning that many of the claimed benefits of wind energy are misleading or false, and that the true costs of wind energy are higher than advertised -- with those higher costs falling on taxpayers and electric customers.