Category — False claims, windpower
“The claim that wind projects in the U.S. are achieving 30% average capacity factors nationally [are] … not meaningful when considering that state RPS mandates are based on local resources. For states like New York and Pennsylvania, where average capacity factors are in the low- to mid- 20% range, many more wind turbines and related infrastructure (transmission) will be needed to meet RPS mandates than originally forecasted, resulting in increased costs and impacts.
Couple this with the fact that wind production in most states is seasonal with summer months producing at half that of winter months and also concentrated during periods of low demand (night time) — much of the energy arrives as excess energy making it less useful.”
The study, produced in cooperation with the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and other stakeholders, explored a modeled energy scenario in which wind could supply 20% of the nation’s electricity by 2030. DOE made clear in the report that the 20% scenario was neither a prediction nor a goal, but, for wind proponents, the study served as the foundation for ongoing advocacy.
20% wind power by 2030 became a call to action and more. Absent a national renewables standard, AWEA heralded the 20% as a de facto mandate for wind.
The industry insists it’s on track to reach 20% wind (up from 4% today), but such claims are neither realistic nor wise. Despite explosive growth in new wind installations in the last five years alone,  challenges to further development have become more evident and will ultimately limit wind’s expansion.
An Unpopular Wind [Read more →]
May 16, 2013 9 Comments
Wind Jobs at PTC Risk: Not 37,000 per AWEA but 2,525 (these million-dollar jobs displace real jobs, too)
“The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, for example, has estimated that the cost of a one-year PTC extension is $12.1 billion. Thus, even accepting the Report’s grossly inflated number of 37,000 wind jobs, the cost to the American taxpayers would be $12.1 billion divided by 37,000, or about $327,000 per job. [But] … the cost for a one-year PTC extension could be as much as a staggering $4,792,079 per direct up-front job added ($12.1 billion ÷ 2,525 jobs).”
An intellectual nail has been driven into the wind-industry-driven Production Tax Credit, a governmental lifeline keeping an inherently flawed industry afloat. The new study, Inflated Numbers; Erroneous Conclusions: The Navigant Wind Jobs Report, was authored by Charles J. Cicchetti, a noted economics consultant and longtime economics professor (now adjunct) at the University of Southern California.
The remainder of this post highlights parts of the study (in blue). [Read more →]
March 8, 2013 5 Comments
“The federal PTC should expire since it has morphed from an ill-designed temporary subsidy for a purportedly ‘infant industry,’ into an inequitable tax hand-out for what is clearly a well-established industry that distorts markets and allows wind to compete unfairly with both conventional generation resources and even other types of renewables.”
- David Dismukes, “Removing Big Wind’s Training Wheels: The Case for Ending the Federal Production Tax Credit,” November 2012.
The federal wind Production Tax Credit (“PTC”), first enacted in 1992 to “jump start” a nascent, but promising industry, provides wind producers with a subsidy of $22 per megawatt hour of electricity generated. The PTC has been extended seven times, but is scheduled to expire under current law on December 31, 2012. Extension of the federal wind PTC has become the “stalking horse” in the debate on government’s role in picking energy “winners and losers.”
Although wind advocates proffer several internally inconsistent rationalesfor continuing the federal wind PTC, a closer examination of compelling facts and data indicates these purported justifications are not about wind’s continued viability without the PTC. Rather, the wind industry’s arguments supporting a continuation of the federal wind PTC simply represent a classic case of “rent seeking” by an established industry seeking to maintain profits through a generous tax subsidy.
This research finds that the federal wind PTC is an inefficient, expensive, and unsustainable policy mechanism for promoting wind that should be allowed to expire in today’s challenging fiscal environment for the following reasons: [Read more →]
November 2, 2012 5 Comments
“The following overview on these issues, and my concluding remarks, should leave little doubt as to the worthlessness and serious consequences of pursuing policies of supporting and implementing wind plants in particular. Will the other side respond in the interest of more informed public policy?”
As shown in Part I (Introduction & Summary), Part II (Analysis Approach & Implementation Costs), Part III (Total Costs), and Part IV (Subsidies & Emissions), wind fails on the major considerations of cost and emissions. Yet unbelievably, it still enjoys general popularity and significant government support and subsidization. The answer must be in my response to question 1 in Part I: Wind is seen as a silver bullet – environmentally and politically.
On top of this, there are many other problems with wind that can cause serious, and needless, damage to society. I do not typically focus on most of these, and I cannot do justice to them, but they are worthy of attention. So I shall try, but I will only be scratching the surface. References cited for these are my selections only. Readers are invited to supply additional support with comments.
Anyone wishing to know more about these issues can start with the wealth of information that Lisa Linowes at Industrial Wind Action Group has compiled on wind matters. Also included in references below are examples of other excellent sources of general information on wind.
The following overview on these issues, and my concluding remarks, should leave little doubt as to the worthlessness and serious consequences of pursuing policies of supporting and implementing wind plants in particular. Will the other side respond in the interest of more informed public policy? [Read more →]
September 27, 2012 9 Comments
This post is part of a five-part series on the adverse consequences of imposing industrial-scale wind plants on electricity systems. The series shows that there is no valid reason to pursue the policy of implementing new renewable energy sources in electricity generation, especially wind.
This post provides more information on the subsidies and emissions considerations for the scenarios summarized in Part I. Parts II and III dealt with cost implications. Part V this Thursday will focus on a number of other issues providing a complete picture of wind’s undesirability and unfeasibility in all respects.
Part I also provides links to the rest of the series.
Because subsidy issues are often raised, comparing those for wind and other generation plants, it is appropriate to show their effect on a MWh basis, regardless of the absolute amounts. The subsidy related to producing a useful output is the important consideration, because this is how electricity is generated, used and paid for. Table IV-1 shows this, but at the level that the wind plant owner experiences, not the full costs of wind to society, that is including wind balancing plant and unique-to-wind grid investments. Note the very high wind subsidies, especially relative to this limited view of costs. [Read more →]
September 25, 2012 2 Comments
This post completes the determination of wind costs, and Part IV covers subsidization and emissions. Part I, Introduction and Summary, contains links to all the posts in this series.
Just about any analysis you see understates wind’s cost. In fact there can be no comparison between the costs for wind and reliable, dispatchable generation plants such as coal, nuclear and gas plants. Reliability is so important in electricity systems, and wind’s persistent erratic behavior is so problematic that any electricity it produces is not usable and is a threat to electricity system reliability.
Add capacity from reliable generation plants flexible enough to balance wind’s erratic output and a steady, reliable electrical energy flow can be provided. However there is a substantial cost associated with this. As shown in Part II, for wind to produce the same amount of useful, reliable electricity over 40 years, wind and associated balancing overnight plant capital costs are almost 3 times that for nuclear, the most expensive conventional generation plants reviewed.
Many of these considerable costs can be “hidden” within a new generation plant program and arguments that the grid must be improved anyway. See Part II for further discussion on the so-called “smart” grid considerations.
As wind penetration increases into high single digits, another approach becomes increasingly necessary. That is to dump wind production in excess of some minimal amount by curtailment, or by selling it to some customers or other jurisdictions at almost no cost, and who are sometimes paid to take it. The real, full costs will be borne by the jurisdiction hosting the wind plants through increased electricity rates or taxes. Further, depending on timing and other circumstances, it may not be possible to find such customers.
In this post we will see: (1) the impact of such measures when wind plants are present, and (2) in the Wind scenario, with wind penetration at 38%, that it is not supportable. [Read more →]
September 20, 2012 4 Comments
The carefully-crafted press release by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) presents their new wind-energy jobs report as thorough, objective, and academically sound. Although such an assessment would be very welcome, their “report” is no more than marketing propaganda. Their blatant bias here gives further credence to a piece by Henry Miller of the Hoover Institution, “Bad Faith and Bad Science at the NRDC,” which concluded that “NRDC continues to peddle junk science” for their own financial gain.
Energy specialists ordinarily don’t have the time to critique sales brochures, but here are some quick observations on this material:
1 – There is a strong implication given that a 250 MW wind energy facility creates “1,079 jobs.” That is not true. The vast majority of the jobs cited are for people already employed — e.g. lawyers, real estate professionals, acoustical consultants, etc. Put another way, these people would not be unemployed just because a 250 MW facility was not built.
2 – Contrary to the insinuations made by NRDC, “1,079 jobs for a 250 MW facility” are not full-time dedicated jobs. For instance an Iberdrola draftsman may work for one month designing part of some 250 MW project, and then move onto something else. He is apparently counted as “one job”. The proper way to deal with this situation is to show a more applicable metric: “job years” rather than “jobs.” [Read more →]
September 19, 2012 4 Comments
Part I yesterday provided an introduction and summary of results; this post describes in more detail the analysis approach and implementation costs. Parts III and IV will cover the full costs and other results.
As will be seen, dealing with wind is not as easy as some would suggest.
This analysis looks at a 13 year period (years 0-12) in which the demand growth and plant retirement due to obsolescence/age will be each 2% per year compounded. Assuming year 0 is 2012, year 12 is 2025. Table II-1 shows the situation at year 12.
Table II-1 – Year 12 Situation for a Year 0 Demand Level of 1.0 TWh
Using demand of 1 TWh in year 0 allows easy scaling for a particular jurisdiction. For example in 2010 the total US electricity production was about 4,000 TWh.
The profile of the new generation capacity to meet the electricity production gap of 0.48 TWh would normally be a combination of plant types depending on a number of considerations. However in most cases, this analysis shows the effect of using one plant type only to meet the electricity production gap. This is done to illustrate the performance of the energy source involved.
When wind is present, another plant type must also be included to balance wind’s persistent erratic behavior. This is otherwise redundant new capacity, meaning over and above that which would normally be required. There are two “wind” scenarios. One is a combination of wind and natural gas to meet the electricity production gap. Given the belief, by some at least, that more extensive wind implementation is desirable, the second scenario addresses this, allowing wind to provide the full 0.48 TWh, which we will see is not feasible. [Read more →]
September 18, 2012 No Comments
This post introduces a five-part series that summarizes some of the most important information about the present and future of industrial wind power in light of the growing backlash against the industry’s taxpayer dependence. Readers are invited to add anything that I have missed.
Continuing government support for windpower must confront two questions. First, why do so many people think that we have to revolutionize our energy systems right now to avoid the consequences of running out of fossil fuels (or suffering very high costs), climate change, or other possible challenges that we might face? Note the emphasis on “right now,” meaning starting now with substantial changes in energy system directions, especially electricity systems, involving massive implementation of grid-connected, industrial-scale wind and solar generation plants.
Second, what is required for wind-subsidy proponents to agree that forced energy transformation is not feasible? A notable and growing number of people have tried with some success to close the gap between reality and romance, but progress has been slow because of the size, power, and persistence of the pro-wind movement. Without enough knowledge on the subject, the general public and media naturally rely on this movement in government, some of the scientific community, and many environmental groups.
Later posts will show why industrial wind fails the feasibility test to constructively change our electricity systems. The implications for government/taxpayer policies are obvious. [Read more →]
September 17, 2012 9 Comments
“AWEA’s job figures, dating back to at least 2009, may be nothing more than figures pulled from thin air.”
The numero uno goal of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is extending the Production Tax Credit (PTC) beyond its current expiration date of December 31, 2012. Documents available on the trade group’s website show that about $4 million of AWEA’s 2012 budget ($30 million) was directed toward PTC lobbying.
With job growth the top political issue in this election season, AWEA’s strategic plan calls for rebranding of the wind industry as an economic engine that will produce steady job growth, particularly in the manufacturing sector. But therein lies a problem: the wind industry’s own record on job growth lacks credibility.
Public information suggests that AWEA has inflated its overall job numbers.
Section 1603 Job Inflation
Seventy-five percent of the Section 1603 largesse was lavished on big wind, yet, despite billions of taxpayer dollars, this sector experienced a loss of 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2010. This lowers AWEA’s reported total to 75,000 jobs. 
In April, the DOE subsidiary National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) released its estimates of direct and indirect jobs created by wind projects receiving 1603 funding. The agency relied on the JEDI (‘Jobs and Economic Development Impacts’) model to estimate gross jobs, earnings, and economic output supported through the construction and operation of large wind projects.
But an investigation by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations rightly objected to NREL’s conclusions. The Subcommittee found that NREL overstated the number of jobs created under 1603, that it failed to report on the more important net job creation, and ignored potential jobs that would be created given alternative spending of federal funds. The key sticking point was that NREL did not validate its models using actual data from completed projects. [Read more →]
July 10, 2012 15 Comments