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Posts from December 0

Power Density Separates the Wheat from the Chaff

By Kent Hawkins -- February 20, 2013

“Power density (W/m2) is perhaps the most revealing variable in energetics…”[1]- Vaclav Smil

It may be a bit of an exaggeration to say that understanding power density may be all the average person requires to put our energy sources and needs into perspective, but there is some merit in this argument. Unfortunately, this view of energy matters remains little discussed, probably because it appears rather academic.

This post attempts to overcome this by further illustrating the concepts. It will also demonstrate how industrial-scale wind and solar PV electricity generation plants fail to meet this important, high-level standard of performance for electricity sources required by mankind, particularly in developed societies, but increasingly in developing and even undeveloped societies.

This is even without taking into account:

(1) The persistent erratic (short term – minutes) and unreliable (medium to long term – hours to days) nature of electricity production that wind and solar PV provide; (2) their high costs; and (3) many other considerations described here.

Wind Consequences (Part V – Other Considerations and Conclusions)

By Kent Hawkins -- September 27, 2012

“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.…

Wind Consequences (Part III: Total Costs)

By Kent Hawkins -- September 20, 2012

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.…

Wind Consequences (Part II: Analysis Approach and Implementation Costs)

By Kent Hawkins -- September 18, 2012

Windpower Consequences (Part I: Introduction and Summary)

By Kent Hawkins -- September 17, 2012

Wind Costs: Connecting Some Dots

By Kent Hawkins -- July 14, 2011

The Smart Grid and Distributed Generation: A Glimpse of a Distant Future

By Kent Hawkins -- April 28, 2011

Windpower Emissions: Kleekamp Critique (Part III – Cost of Wind and Nuclear Plants)

By Kent Hawkins -- January 26, 2011

Windpower Emissions: The Kleekamp Critique (Part II – Capacity Considerations)

By Kent Hawkins -- January 25, 2011

Windpower Emissions: Kleekamp Critique (Part I – Introduction)

By Kent Hawkins -- January 24, 2011