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The Legend of Wind Power

Posted by Tom Fletcher on Tuesday, October 9th, 2012, 10:27 AM PERMALINK

One of the great myths perpetuated by the far-left environmental lobby is that wind power is the cure-all solution to alleviate our country’s energy and environmental problems.  This is not an opinion shared by a mere few, but a near unanimous position by those on the Left.  While supporters of wind-power claim government incentives are necessary, it is important to see if wind-power is, in fact, a viable solution. The Reason Foundation issued such a report  and found:

“The analysis reported in this study indicates that 20% would be the extreme upper limit for wind penetration. At this level the CO2 emissions reduction is 90g of CO2 equivalent/kWh, or about 18% of total emissions from electricity generation. Using wind to reduce CO2 to this level costs $150 per metric ton (i.e. 1,000 kg, or 2,200 lbs) of CO2 reduced.

Very high wind penetrations are not achievable in practice due to the increased need for power
storage, the decrease in grid reliability, and the increased operating costs. Given these constraints, this study concludes that a more practical upper limit for wind penetration is 10%. At 10% wind penetration, the CO2 emissions reduction due to wind is approximately 45g CO2 equivalent/kWh, or about 9% of total.”

At low wind penetrations, there is very little impact on CO2 emissions. As wind penetrations increase, the grid requires increasing amounts of spinning reserves to maintain reliability. At high wind penetrations, even large amounts of power storage cannot prevent significant (and expensive) wind dumping. The already high cost of wind power increases with the construction of storage facilities, and the cost to construct extra wind turbines, which will be dormant during periods of wind dumping.”

The report concludes that that wind-power provides only partial solutions and is altogether limiting.
Click here for Marlo Lewis’s take on the new Reason report.  

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