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German Experiences with Wind Power

"In order to guarantee reliable electricity supplies when wind farms produce little or no power,e.g. during periods of calm or storm-related shutdowns, traditional power station capacities must be available as a reserve. This means that wind farms can only replace traditional power station capacities to a limited degree."

I applaud the resolution of recent correspondents (to the Manchester Journal)to carry on a civil discussion of the merits and disadvantages of wind power, without appeals to emotion.In that spirit,I would like to offer a summary of recent German experience with wind power, as stated in the 2005 annual report of E.ON Netz, one of Germany's largest electric grid operators. E.ON Netz serves a population of 20 million people living in 40% of the Germany's land area. It runs 32,500 kilometers of high voltage power lines, and is responsible for integrating 7,000 megawatts of wind power, nearly half of that installed in all Germany, which has more wind power installed than any other country, including the United States and Denmark.


One of E.ON Netz's most notable conclusions is that wind energy cannot replace conventional power stations to any significant degree. In the words of the report, "In order to guarantee reliable electricity supplies when wind farms produce little or no power,e.g. during periods of calm or storm-related shutdowns, traditional power station capacities must be available as a reserve. This means that wind farms can only replace traditional power station capacities to a limited degree." (p.9).... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

I applaud the resolution of recent correspondents (to the Manchester Journal) to carry on a civil discussion of the merits and disadvantages of wind power, without appeals to emotion. In that spirit, I would like to offer a summary of recent German experience with wind power, as stated in the 2005 annual report of E.ON Netz, one of Germany's largest electric grid operators. E.ON Netz serves a population of 20 million people living in 40% of the Germany's land area. It runs 32,500 kilometers of high voltage power lines, and is responsible for integrating 7,000 megawatts of wind power, nearly half of that installed in all Germany, which has more wind power installed than any other country, including the United States and Denmark.


One of E.ON Netz's most notable conclusions is that wind energy cannot replace conventional power stations to any significant degree. In the words of the report, "In order to guarantee reliable electricity supplies when wind farms produce little or no power,e.g. during periods of calm or storm-related shutdowns, traditional power station capacities must be available as a reserve. This means that wind farms can only replace traditional power station capacities to a limited degree." (p.9). Furthermore, the report says that as more wind power is built, its capacity to replace conventional power sources, never more than 8%, actually declines. (p. 9).

In other words, E.ON's experience shows conclusively that those who expect wind power to prevent a nuclear build up, or to reduce the need for gas and coal stations, have been seriously misled.

There is more. Wind resources are not evenly distributed in Germany, any more than they are in the United States, most of the wind being available near the sea. Consequently, very substantial grid expansion is required to carry this energy to the major centers of use, and to permit immediate import and export of energy to cope with the rapid fluctuations of wind power. E.ON Netz estimates that Germany as a whole will require 1,700 miles of new or reinforced grid, of which 1,200 miles will need to be on new routes at a cost of 3 billion Euros (about 3.6 billion dollars). This is addition, of course, to the cost of the wind towers themselves. Keeping in mind that Germany is only slightly larger than New England, New York and New Jersey combined, one can see the scope of the problem and the expense involved, to say nothing of the damage to the environment caused by such building.

Proponents of wind power in Vermont would do well to ponder the reports of other jurisdictions with more experience of the costs and benefits of wind power.

(Editor's Note: the link below will take you to the E.ON Netz Wind Report 2005)

Source: http://www.windwatch.org/do...

DEC 11 2005
https://www.windaction.org/posts/598-german-experiences-with-wind-power
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