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Category — Poor output, wind

Ohio’s Blue Creek Wind Farm: Predictable Underperformance

“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

Wind Performing Badly

“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.”

This week, the U.S. Department of Energy announced it was revisiting the conclusions of its 2008 report, 20% Wind Energy by 2030.

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, [1] 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

Overestimating Wind Power Generation: From the UK to New York State

Wind generation as an intermittent power source adds to the total variability of a regional grid system. A number of studies have been completed that model and analyze wind profiles by region with the intent of better understanding how high penetrations of wind energy might impact system reliability and what steps could be taken to minimize the impacts.

In most cases, these studies are based on available wind data (speed, direction, timing) collected over many years–the type data used by developers forecasting project performance prior to construction. These wind studies are also used by legislators and regulators when evaluating policies that mandate renewable energy development.

Growing evidence from both sides of the Atlantic indicates that performance models based on wind data often promise levels of generation substantially above actual wind power output.

UK: John Muir Trust Challenges 2005 Analysis

The  United Kingdom has long been regarded as having the best wind resource in Europe. A 2005 analysis of hourly wind speeds collected from  sixty-six UK locations identified three characteristics of the wind resource that proponents rely on to justify an expansive build-out of wind energy facilities. [Read more →]

June 6, 2011   8 Comments