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Wind power creates market havoc, is unreliable and costly

Thanks to Central Bruce Wind Action for this gem.

Jonathan Lesser, President of Continental Economics — The Columbus Dispatch — November 22, 2012

The United States has subsidized the wind industry for 35 years. For the past 20 years, most of these subsidies have taken the form of a production tax credit, which provides wind-generation owners a 2.2 cent per kilowatt-hour (kWh) tax credit. The credit already has been extended by Congress five times. Now, Congress is considering whether to extend it one more year, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $12 billion. If so, the many will once again pay to benefit the politically connected few.

The wind industry says it needs more time to become fully competitive. Whether that’s true or not, one thing is certain: high-cost wind generation provides low-value electricity. On hot and humid summer days that Midwesterners well know, the demand for electricity peaks, because everyone is using air conditioners. But my analysis of four years of wind-generation data shows that, on those same days, wind blows the least. No wind, no wind power. For example, last July 6 the temperature hit 103 degrees in Chicago. Electricity demand skyrocketed. But that day, the 2,700 megawatts of wind turbines in Northern Illinois produced an average of just 4 megawatts of power, enough to power 4,000 Chicagoans’ blow dryers.

An analysis of four years of data from the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Texas, where more than half of the nation’s wind turbines are located, shows a disturbing pattern: wind turbines generate the most power when it is least needed — at night, and in the spring and fall — and the least amount of power in summer, when it is most needed. The data show that wind generation is available less than 15 percent of the time on the highest-demand days. That’s why wind power is “low-value.” It’s like a soda machine that works only if you are not thirsty.

(To continue reading, click here)

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3 Comments on “Wind power creates market havoc, is unreliable and costly”

  1. Scott November 23, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    If you liked that one, perhaps you’ll also get something out of this article citing generation from renewables as grid pollution: http://seekingalpha.com/article/938671-how-wind-and-solar-power-are-polluting-the-commons?source=email_authors_alerts&ifp=0#comments_header

    • Donna Quixote November 23, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

      Thanks, Scott. I’ll post this up on the banner.

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