This [new report on advances in wind integration] will make uncomfortable reading for those on this list who appear to be religiously opposed to wind energy, i.e. irrespective of the objectively verifiable facts. Wake up people, wind energy is growing world wide at 22% with 194 GW installed already, and “grid operators are increasingly positive about integrating wind power….”
– Wind advocate email, January 4, 2012
The communication concerned a new report sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Strategies and Decision Support Systems for Integrating Variable Energy Resources in Control Centers for Reliable Grid Operations.
Subtitled Global Best Practices, Examples of Excellence and Lessons Learned,” the report admits that “there is no ‘silver bullet’ solution to successful wind integration that applies to all power systems.” But that is about all that can be said about, as John Droz puts it below, trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. Another analogy: integrating agriculture on ocean liners. (Any more analogies welcomed in the comments.)
The advocates’ email drew this response from Thomas Marks, Executive Director of Great Lakes Wind Truth; New York Director, Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council and North American Platform Against Windpower:
I see a few names on the distribution list who are or should be “religiously opposed to wind energy”…
When you consider the human health concerns, bird and bat mortality, impacts to the ecosystem caused by the “facility” sprawl, economic impacts (business and residential) from high electric rates for wind, the cost of maintaining back-up generation that could be the primary generation source, the huge tax load and deficits for national economies to subsidize an industry that is uncompetitive and can not sustain itself, the lunacy of government support and mandates for a power source that has not been shown to result in any net reductions in CO2 emissions, the intermittent and variability of wind as a power source makes it a poor choice for a society the needs power on demand 24/7/365.
I could go on but this conversation has become pathetic. Wind zealots use reasoning as diffuse as the power in wind to make its case. Let’s stop wasting resources (natural and economic) and time; if climate change from CO2 emissions is as serious as the climate zealots say let’s get to work on real energy systems and sources that will reduce CO2.
And John Droz of MasterResource responded:
I am not aware of anyone on this list who is “religiously opposed to wind energy.”
What they are opposed to are alternatives that are politically mandated without adequate prior scientific vetting. To this day there is no scientific report that proves that wind energy is a cost-beneficial solution. Of course I could be wrong, and would be glad to see such a document if you can find it.
Now regarding the reports you sent. Yes, there is some interesting material in that report.
The authors are with a company whose business is all about integrating things like wind energy on the grid, so it should be clearly understood that is their lens.
In that vein, I do not see anywhere where they actually questioned the merits of wind integration — rather, the focus seems to be: how to best do it.
This is the scenario that we find ourselves in: evangelists, rent seekers and hangers-on all clamoring to get on the gravy train to “help” pound this square peg into a round hole.
I would think that an analogous report would be: how best to integrate horses into the modern transportation system.
The reality is that the government has created an artificial industry that will excruciatingly contract as consumer/ratepayer/taxpayer subsidies are scaled back.
And then new issue will be: who will dismantle the increasing dead turbines? And the question raised: just why did Big Environmentalism support industrial wind power?