Tip o’ the hat to Sherri Lange of NAPAW for this article.
Irish Examiner — January 23, 2015
While the arguments for wind power seem straightforward and compelling, Wind power would reduce our dependency on foreign oil, wind power is clean and would allow for the shut down of dirty fossil fuel fired power plants.
Wind power would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Investment in wind power quickly pays for itself.
These arguments sound all too powerful and all make sense. Or do they?
First, there is the notion that somehow wind power will reduce our dependency on foreign oil. This hope is hinged on the prospect that wind power will somehow replace fossil derived electric power.
The problem with this theory is that wind is so unpredictable that anywhere from 80% to 100% of whatever new wind power generation is brought on line, must still be backed up with standard generation facilities that can be counted on for their reliable power.
In the event there are not enough existing standard generation facilities in place, new ones would have to be added. Otherwise, the level of reliability of power availability would be jeopardized. Thus, we would be paying for two power generation facilities – the good, old-fashioned, dependable, dispatchable power plants, and the new, unpredictable, undispatchable wind power plants that may or may not operate, depending on how much wind is blowing.
Second, clean wind energy will be able to replace or retire dirty power plants. This too is not borne out by experience. Since the dirty reliable power must remain on standby to backup the new unpredictable wind power, there is virtually no reduction in the use of dirty power plants or the dirty fuel they burn. Continue reading here….