WindAction Editorials filed under General
RGGI proponents want us to believe that the program is delivering on a global environmental promise, but the reality is the nine-state cap and trade system is a colossal failure of resource allocation that should be repealed to leave more efficient market forces.
“With each oversized, out-of-scale, in-your-face wind project presented, scores of people join the not-so-quiet ‘war on wind’ raging nationwide…. While Big Media and Big Wind are busy forcing the vision they want, communities are taking aggressive action to limit wind’s negative impacts and will ultimately lead to far fewer projects being built.”
The American Wind Energy Association (‘AWEA’) claims big wind had a spectacular 2015, but we looked past the slick advertising and found the same boastful AWEA rhetoric, this time with extra pixie dust applied.
Windaction.org has updated its database of US wind production and capacity factors to include the years from 2011 through to 2015. The data are based on monthly energy output figures released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Aggregate annual capacity factors for each state and for the nation can be found here. A spreadsheet of each project for which production is reported can also be downloaded from the page.
Last April, Reuters and others reported poor winds in some western states during the first quarter of 2015. We checked the preliminary production data released by the Energy Information Administration for that period and, sure enough, the production numbers were way down. The attached spreadsheet compares Q1'15 performance against the same period in 2014. A summary of the capacity factors for the states reporting wind project information is provided below. The full data can be accessed by downloading the attachment on this page. Texas, California, Iowa, Oklahoma and Illinois, which account for 50% of total installed wind in the US, each experienced significant reductions in output for the first quarter. NextEra Energy confirmed the reduction in Texas performance during its first quarter earnings conference call.
“Before Americans are asked to pay more billions for an energy resource that still, after 23 years, cannot stand on its own two feet, Congress should ask DOE to get out of the vision business and report on the practicality of wind energy reaching even 10% of the U.S. power market.”
The U.S. Energy Information Administration provides monthly and annual production data for over 1,900 power plants including wind-powered facilities. Windaction.org filtered the data for the years 2011-2013 looking for wind projects only and determined the capacity factors for each project in EIA's sample list with at least one full-year of production. The below map shows the average capacity factors by state for 2013. (Click the map to see a larger image.)
1. Bald Eagle killed at U.S. Wildlife Refuge. In March, a dead bald eagle was found below a small 10-kilowatt wind turbine at the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Rock Hall, Md. Cause of death: blunt force trauma.
[Editor's note: Windaction's executive director, Lisa Linowes, attended the March 19 DC premier of Laura Israel's Windfall.]
... Installations of wind energy by the end of 3rd quarter 2010 stood at 1,634 megawatts, down 72 percent from 2009, and the lowest level since 2006.
Windaction is closely tracking several important stories involving wind energy development that we will be reporting on in more depth in the coming weeks. Highlights of two of these stories are detailed below.
Several stories in the press this week caught our attention which we felt deserved responses.
After nine years of debate and millions of public and private dollars, the decision to permit America's first offshore wind project fell on the shoulders of one man, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar. Hindsight notwithstanding, there was no chance Salazar could disapprove the Cape Wind application. Does anyone doubt the Obama administration would dare to ignore the tsunami of political favoritism already bestowed on the project, no matter how unjustified? And given the administration's stated goal to nurse the U.S. economy back to health through the green movement, a denial of the permit would have unleashed a public firestorm virtually impossible to contain.
Alexandra Weit has followed the wind energy industry in the San Gorgonio Pass, California since its beginnings. In 2008, she obtained nine years of production records directly from Southern California Edison that showed both the amount of energy generated by the site's wind turbines and the period in the day when it was produced.
Last year, Rhode Island's Governor Carcieri entered his State into the race, wanting to become the first to see industrial scale wind turbines spinning off its coastline. His administration's initial step was to select Deepwater Wind as the preferred developer of two offshore projects. The first, a small pilot wind farm of 5-8 turbines to be sited in State waters within three miles of Block Island and the second, a 100+ turbine facility planned for fifteen miles off state shores in federal waters.
There are several news stories we've been following that we thought important to highlight this week given the similarities to other cases our readers are involved with.
The trend at all levels of governance is clear: Deployment of wind energy facilities will be expedited and no location deemed to be suitable by the industry will be denied.
Windaction.org has been tracking a number of controversial wind energy stories that we will be commenting on in future Wind Alert! newsletters.
It is fundamental that the benefits of any proposed wind energy facility outweigh its impacts. Since there are no intrinsic environmental benefits to erecting wind turbines on ridge lines, prairie lands or coastal areas, the benefits of wind-powered electricity are expected to accrue through the displacement of fossil fuel generation, and the offsetting of associated CO2 emissions and other pollutants.