Category — Windpower: History and Issues
“Many people point to the mandates of Ohio Senate Bill 221 or other such legislation in other states, which require the use of fashionable generation methods for electricity, as justification for subsidizing investment into economically questionable energy generation projects.
To me this is an exercise in circular logic, mandating that we have to use more expensive means of generating electricity, and then using the rising cost of electricity to justify subsidizing more expensive means of generating electricity.”
Jerry Graf – Effective Energy Strategy (March 2013)
In an editorial response printed in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette (10/21/2013), four co-authors make the following points with regard to the Blue Creek Wind Farm and wind energy in general.
I have rearranged their words for brevity and direct the reader to the Journal Gazette website to read verbatim. Our rebuttal letter follows:
Electricity from wind is very high in true cost and low in true value
Electricity from wind turbines is low in value because it can’t be counted on to be available when needed, and it is most likely to be produced at times when it is least needed. Wind turbines tend to produce most of their electricity at night in cold months, not on hot weekday afternoons in July and August when demand for electricity is highest. Furthermore, the electricity from wind tends to be low in value because the output can’t be counted upon to be available at the time of peak demand, unlike reliable (“dispatchable”) generating units that can be called upon to produce whenever needed. [Read more →]
December 3, 2013 5 Comments
Bird Kills: The Evidence and Publicity Mounts (Sierra Club, Audubon must stop deceiving memberships)
“Combined together, these clever [evasive] techniques mean that most carcasses are ‘missed.’ In fact, 90% or more of the slaughter can easily be hidden. This … is certainly not ‘scientific or ‘green.’ But it is certainly effective.”
The Wall Street Journal recently published several letters and articles on the environmental impacts of wind energy, adding to a growing body of reportage of wind power’s cruel, ironic byproduct.
Making the public aware of this extremely important issue is essential, because the wind industry has been using bogus research and other methods to hide its slaughter of millions of birds and bats that are supposedly protected by law, putting some species on a path to extinction.
1. Delayed Search: At Altamont Pass in California, mortality studies have employed 30-90 day search intervals since 1998. These excessively long search intervals ensure that most carcasses disappear before the next search is conducted. In addition, even as wind turbines have grown larger and larger over the years, search areas for carcasses have deliberately been left unchanged. [Read more →]
November 21, 2013 8 Comments
“An Energy Imbalance Market would mainly have to rely on cheap hydropower in the Western U.S. to offset high green power prices and high peaker power prices during the sunset hours of the day. Ironically, California banned hydropower as “renewable energy” under the California Global Warming Solutions Act …. Now, cheap hydropower has to come to the rescue of the green power grid.”
California is trying to do a quick splicing job to its green energy grid by creating an “Energy Imbalancing Market” to cut off an emerging daily two-hour energy-pricing crisis. The crisis isn’t so much an imbalance of the availability of electrons but imbalanced electricity prices during the sunset hours of each day.
In today’s California energy market, the grid operator must balance loads and resources within its borders. In an Energy Balancing Market, the grid operator schedules resources across regional balancing authorities to balance energy. An energy imbalance is the difference between live demand and prearranged scheduled resources. California is part of the Western Interconnection Coordinating Council (WECC), which includes 33 control areas shown here. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved California’s implementation of an Energy Imbalancing Market by October 2014.
California’s “Duck Chart” Problem Can’t Be Ducked
An emerging problem with California’s new green power grid is how to ramp up enough conventional power each day when solar power is sunsetting and mostly nighttime wind power isn’t spinning enough yet to take over. [Read more →]
November 13, 2013 4 Comments
“AWEA’s CEO Tom Kiernan bellyached last week that his people were exhausted by the ‘boom-bust’ behavior sparked each time the industry faced possible withdrawal of the PTC. He showed no remorse that big wind was still economically impotent despite decades of public handouts meant to stimulate self-growth.”
The U.S. wind power market has staggered this year, adding less than seventy (70) megawatts of new wind in the first three quarters. This is down from 4,743 megawatts installed during the same period in 2012.
Only three states reported wind expansions:
· Colorado – Tri-State expanded its Colorado Highlands Wind Farm by 23.8 MW; and
· Alaska – Just 2 MW added.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) wasted no time blaming the precipitous drop in installations on uncertainty surrounding the wind production tax credit (PTC), the federal incentive most often credited for market growth in the sector.
That’s a convenient excuse that might resonate with sympathetic members of Congress, but it’s not accurate. [Read more →]
November 4, 2013 3 Comments
“Georgia … Texas … Arizona…. One story is an anomaly; two, a coincidence; three, a trend. When a so-called conservative Republican talks green energy and sounds like he or she is hitting the right notes, be careful. It’s probably the wrong song.”
Creating jobs…. enlarging the tax base… access to markets … energy choices for consumers…. monopoly busting … resource conservation….
The words and terms are being used by two government dependent renewable energy industries to sucker citizens and legislators to retain, if not enlarge, their taxpayer subsidies and ratepayer cross-subsidies in the current energy debate.
Make no mistake: This is an organized attempt to hoodwink Republicans, conservatives, limited-government and free-market supporters, and even fiscally minded Democrats. Yet the means and ends of the deceivers are 180 degrees from what ordinary fiscally prudent citizens would support if they understood the gloss and what was underneath the hood.
If supporters of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, said it was heavily subsidized on both the state and federal level, had an artificial market created by government mandates, would help mitigate global warming, was the recipient of taxpayer dollars through Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill that funded projects like Solyndra, and was marred by cronyism, the right would run. [Read more →]
October 29, 2013 No Comments
“Jeff Clark and the Austin-based Wind Coalition are working the red states hard to convince citizens, voters, and legislators that Big Wind is not only green but also red, white, and blue.
Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, fiscally concerned Democrats beware! Wind power is a solution looking for a problem and has nothing to do with the free market and limited, constitutional government.”
At a panel discussion of the future of windpower in Texas last week, hosted by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Jeff Clark of the Wind Coalition made a “conservative” case for continuing government mandates and tax preferences for his industry.
The sold-out event was mostly attended by those favoring smaller government—and ready for a comeuppance for government-dependent windpower. The event was held in Austin, the home of TPPF and the Wind Coalition, an advocacy group focused on the south-central United States.
I was part of the panel. I rebutted a number of Mr. Clark’s arguments on the spot, but there was something larger going on: a disarming conservative, Republican, I-am-you-and you-too-you-can-like-wind pitch from Mr. Clark that deserves special attention and refutation.
Old, Fallacious Arguments [Read more →]
October 21, 2013 10 Comments
“Wind, an expensive energy resource, becomes more expensive (uneconomical) when costs are added for an apples-to-apples comparison to conventional generation. With natural gas prices at $4.00/MMBtu, and long-term cheap gas contracts available to anchor new power generation, wind power projects are typically uneconomic on a variety of grounds.”
A study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the 2011 Cost of Wind Energy Review, estimated the cost of wind-generated electricity at $0.o72/kWh. This estimate is nearly 20 percent lower than the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimate of about $0.087 per kWh.
But as I argue in a new study for the Institute for Energy Research (IER), Assessing Wind Power Cost Estimates (October 2013), adding wind power to the power grid involves a number of other costs.
Adding in these costs, I came to four major conclusions:
- The levelized cost of energy for wind is $0.109/kWh, more than 50 percent higher than NREL’s estimate.
- NREL’s cost estimates exclude key categories of costs such as the cost of transmission and grid balancing for far-away, intermittent wind sources.
- PTC-subsidized wind power projects distort electricity markets because they can bid as low as negative $0.035/kWh and still profit through the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC).
- Adding wind power on PTC economics cannot reduce the overall cost of power to the economy — it merely shifts costs to taxpayers.
Background [Read more →]
October 18, 2013 12 Comments
“I therefore suspect that the most likely reason for this missing information concerning eagle mortality at wind farm facilities was due to editing from the upper level positions within the ranks of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. These are same people responsible for the wind industry’s voluntary regulations.”
“So here is the rest of the story. Due to the lack of accountability and monitoring, a single permit could actually result in the death of a hundred of any species a permit is issued for. So much for ‘green’ energy and the public’s sacrifice for paying more for electricity.”
A few weeks ago, an article was published in The Journal of Raptor Research, “Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Mortalities at Wind Energy Facilities in the Contiguous United States.” Information from this article was widely distributed by media outlets across the country. Most of the headlines said 67 eagles had been killed in five years or 85 had been reported killed over the last 15 years. Unfortunately these are the numbers that the public will remember — whereas the hideous truth about eagle mortality remains buried in disinformation.
The four authors of this study all work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The fact is that so much information is missing from the article is of great concern, because the truth about wind turbine impacts should be disclosed and discussed. Since the authors are experts, I do not believe they could possibly have been so remiss with their findings.
I therefore suspect that the most likely reason for this missing information concerning eagle mortality at wind farm facilities was editing by upper level supervisors and political appointees within the FWS. These are same people responsible for the wind industry having only voluntary regulations for monitoring and reporting wildlife mortalities due to their installations – whereas other industries are subject to mandatory requirements and stiff fines for any fatalities.
In order to illustrate the seriousness of the problems with the article, I will present only the closing statement, and then follow up with a new summary that includes missing information and facts, and my expert opinion.
Summary Paragraph: Actual Article
“This summary likely conveys only a limited portion of eagles killed at non-APWRA wind energy facilities in the contiguous United States, considering the general lack of rigorous monitoring and reporting of eagle mortalities. Thus, our findings of the reported mortalities likely underestimate, perhaps substantially, the number of eagles killed at wind facilities in the United States. [Read more →]
October 16, 2013 11 Comments
“Businesses that are planning to provide equipment or services to the wind industry especially need objective information about wind energy.… Participating in industries that are dependent on federal tax breaks and subsidies can be dangerous, particularly at a time of massive federal deficits and a national debt of about $17 trillion.”
A highly misleading article, “Winds of change blow across Ohio,” by the CEO of the Van Wert (OH) Area Chamber of Commerce, Susan Munroe, was published by the Fort Wayne (IN) Journal Gazette on October 7, 2013. Such reflects a new battlefront in the politics of wind with local chambers of commerce arguing for wind projects in their areas.
However, her claims appear to be based heavily on information from Iberdrola, not on an objective analysis of facts about wind energy. Those facts call into question key points made in the article. For example, Ms. Munroe appears not know that: [Read more →]
October 15, 2013 6 Comments
“Put simply, wind farms are causing considerable damage to nature’s balance, for no benefit whatsoever to society. Indeed, no country in the world has reduced its carbon footprint thanks to them…. It is high time to call a moratorium on wind farms, and examine the situation after ditching our blinkers.”
Wind turbines kill birds and bats, we all know that, but the billion-dollar question is: how many? I say “billion” because subsidies to the wind industry run into billions of dollars per year in the United States alone, and chances are the public would not support such expenditures if they found out that these machines were driving iconic, useful or beautiful species into extinction. It is therefore important to find out the extent of the mortality caused by their rotor blades and high tension power lines.
In a paper presented in 2009 at the Fourth International Partners in Flight Conference, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Biologist Dr. Albert M. Manville wrote: “While the wind industry currently estimates that turbines kill 58 000 birds per year in the U.S. … the Service estimates annual mortality at 440 000 birds.” (1) This created quite a stir, and the wind industry tried hard to fight this estimate ever since.
Three years later, consultant biologist Dr. Shawn Smallwood came up with his own estimate in the March 2013 issue of the peer-reviewed Wildlife Society Bulletin: “I estimated 888,000 bat and 573,000 bird fatalities/year (including 83,000 raptor fatalities) at 51,630 megawatt (MW) of installed wind-energy capacity in the United States in 2012.” (2) This prompted Birdwatching Magazine to post on their website: “Smallwood’s number of bird deaths represents a 30 percent jump over the 440,000 fatalities estimated by a 2009 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report” (3). Their counterpart in the UK, Birdwatch, wrote a similar article under the headline: “Wind farm bird deaths more than thought”. (4) [Read more →]
September 26, 2013 12 Comments