Time to terminate Big Wind subsidies

Logo of the American Wind Energy Association.

Logo of the American Wind Energy Association. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

– and protect environmental values, endangered species, jobs and human welfare

Guest post by Paul Driessen

Unprecedented! As bills to extend seemingly perpetual wind energy subsidies were again introduced by industry lobbyists late last year, taxpayers finally decided they’d had enough.

Informed and inspired by a loose but growing national coalition of groups opposed to more giveaways with no scientifically proven net benefits, thousands of citizens called their senators and representatives – and rounded up enough Nay votes to run four different bills aground. For once, democracy worked.

A shocked American Wind Energy Association and its allies began even more aggressive recruiting of well-connected Democrat and Republican political operatives and cosponsors – and introducing more proposals like HR 3307 to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC). Parallel efforts were launched in state legislatures, to maintain mandates, subsidies, feed-in tariffs, renewable energy credits, and other “temporary” ratepayer and taxpayer obligations.

This “emerging industry” is “vitally important” to our energy future, supporters insisted. It provides “clean energy” and “over 37,000” jobs that “states can’t afford to lose.” It helps prevent global warming.

None of these sales pitches holds up under objective scrutiny, and their growing awareness of this basic reality has finally made many in Congress inclined to eliminate this wasteful spending on wind power.

Entitlement advocates are petrified at that possibility. Crony corporatist lobbyists and politicians have built a small army to take on beleaguered taxpayers, rate payers and business owners who say America can no longer afford to spend more borrowed money, to prop up energy policies that drive up electricity costs, damage the environment, and primarily benefit foreign conglomerates and a privileged few.

To confront the growing onslaught of wind industry pressure and propaganda, citizens should understand the fundamental facts about wind energy. Here are some of the top reasons for opposing further handouts.

Energy 101. It is impossible to have wind turbines without fossil fuels, especially natural gas. Turbines average only 30% of their “rated capacity” – and less than 5% on the hottest and coldest days, when electricity is needed most. They produce excessive electricity when it is least needed, and electricity cannot be stored for later use.  Hydrocarbon-fired backup generators must run constantly, to fill the gap and avoid brownouts, blackouts, and grid destabilization due to constant surges and falloffs in electricity to the grid. Wind turbines frequently draw electricity from the grid, to keep blades turning when the wind is not blowing, reduce strain on turbine gears, and prevent icing during periods of winter calm.

Energy 201. Despite tens of billions in subsidies, wind turbines still generate less than 3% of US electricity. Thankfully, conventional sources keep our country running – and America still has centuries of hydrocarbon resources. It’s time our government allowed us to develop and use those resources.

Economics 101. It is likewise impossible to have wind turbines without perpetual subsidies – mostly money borrowed from Chinese banks and future generations. Wind has never been able to compete economically with traditional energy, and there is no credible evidence that it will be able to in the foreseeable future, especially with abundant natural gas costing one-fourth what it did just a few years ago. It thus makes far more sense to rely on the plentiful, reliable, affordable electricity sources that have powered our economy for decades, build more gas-fired generators – and recycle wind turbines into useful products (while preserving a few as museum exhibits).

Economics 201. As Spain, Germany, Britain and other countries have learned, wind energy mandates and subsidies drive up the price of electricity – for families, factories, hospitals, schools, offices and shops. They squeeze budgets and cost jobs. Indeed, studies have found that two to four traditional jobs are lost for every wind or other “green” job created. That means the supposed 37,000 jobs (perpetuated by $5 billion to $10 billion in combined annual subsidies, or $135,000 to $270,000 per wind job) are likely costing the United States 74,000 to 158,000 traditional jobs, while diverting billions from far more productive uses.

Environment 101. Industrial wind turbine projects require enormous quantities of rare earth metals, concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and other raw materials, for highly inefficient turbines, multiple backup generators and thousands of miles of high-voltage transmission lines. Extracting and processing these materials, turning them into finished components, and shipping and installing the turbines and power lines involve enormous amounts of fossil fuel and extensive environmental damage. Offshore wind turbine projects are even more expensive, resource intensive and indefensible. Calling wind energy “clean” or “eco-friendly” is an extraordinary distortion of the facts.

Environment 201. Wind turbines, transmission lines and backup generators also require vast amounts of crop, scenic and wildlife habitat land. Where a typical 600-megawatt coal or gas-fired power plant requires 250-750 acres, to generate power 90-95% of the year, a 600-MW wind installation needs 40,000 to 50,000 acres (or more), to deliver 30% performance. And while gas, coal and nuclear plants can be built close to cities, wind installations must go where the wind blows, typically hundreds of miles away – adding thousands of additional acres to every project for transmission lines.

Environment 301. Sometimes referred to as “Cuisinarts of the air,” US wind turbines also slaughter nearly half a million eagles, hawks, falcons, vultures, ducks, geese, bats and other rare, threatened, endangered and otherwise protected flying creatures every year. (Those aren’t song birds killed by house cats, and this may be a conservative number, as coyotes and turbine operator cleanup crews remove much of the evidence.) But while oil companies are prosecuted for the deaths of even a dozen common ducks, turbine operators have been granted a blanket exemption from endangered and migratory species laws and penalties. Now the US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a formal rule to allow repeated “takings” (killings) of bald and golden eagles by wind turbines – in effect granting operators a 007 license to kill.

Environment 401. Scientific support for CO2-driven catastrophic manmade global warming continues to diminish. Even if carbon dioxide does contribute to climate change, there is no evidence that even thousands of US wind turbines will affect future global temperatures by more than a few hundredths of a degree. Not only do CO2 emissions from backup generators (and wind turbine manufacturing) offset any reductions by the turbines, but rapidly increasing emissions from Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and other rapidly developing countries dwarf any possible US wind-related CO2 reductions.

Human Health and Welfare 101. Skyrocketing electricity prices due to “renewable portfolio standards” raise heating and air conditioning costs; drive families into fuel poverty; increase food, medical, school and other costs; and force companies to lay off workers, further impairing their families’ health and welfare. The strobe-light effect, annoying audible noise, and inaudible low-frequency sound from whirling blades result in nervous fatigue, headaches, dizziness, irritability, sleep problems, and vibro-acoustic effects on people’s hearts and lungs. Land owners receive royalties for having turbines on their property, but neighbors receive no income and face adverse health effects, decreased property values and difficulty selling their homes. Formerly close-knit communities are torn apart.

Real World Civics 101. Politicians take billions from taxpayers, ratepayers and profitable businesses, to provide subsidies to Big Wind companies, who buy mostly Made Somewhere Else turbines – and then contribute millions to the politicians’ reelection campaigns, to keep the incestuous cycle going.

It is truly government gone wild – GSA on steroids. It is unsustainable. It is a classic sWINDle.

Citizens can contact senators, congressmen, congressional committees and state representatives – to demand science-based energy policies. These reasons could be a good way to start the conversation.

___________

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author or Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.

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115 thoughts on “Time to terminate Big Wind subsidies

  1. “Now the US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a formal rule to allow repeated “takings” (killings) of bald and golden eagles by wind turbines – in effect granting operators a 007 license to kill.”
    That is obscene and the US FAWS should be ashamed of their proposed action.

  2. BRILLIANT, Paul! This should be printed out and widely distributed. And it’s great to see democracy at work.

  3. Here’s an idea ( or two ) – remove ALL (the thousands of) small, obsolete and broken-down turbines from Techahapi, San Gorgonio and Altamont as fast as possible and replace them with just enough larger modern turbines to keep the average electricity production the same.

    Subsidize only well-sited turbines but cut the overall industry subsidies in half.
    Cancel all subsidies to Big Oil and redistribute to solar projects, preferably in sunny cities, of which there are no shortage in America, and focus on large rooftop and parking lots, while encouraging citizen ownership.

  4. Brian Johnson UK – Unfortunately no different from the RSPB. They should lose their charitable status

  5. Reposted to Weatherzone – some day our grand children will look back at us and say “How come the world was so dumb to allow these people” to operate and for the life of me I can’t find the answer.

  6. I saw the first bald eagle of my life, on a nearby pond here in Southern New Hampshire, this spring. What a thrill! What a pity they are proposing windmills on nearby hills.

    People are only in it for the money. Wolves in sheep’s clothing. Take away the money, and the so-called “environmentalists” will decide windmills aren’t so interesting.

  7. Meanwhile, the genius Politicians allow the UK’s largest windfarm to go ahead:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-17995258

    “Enough power for 200,000 homes” they say. Note that “power” includes all the energy for heating as well as electricity. That is absolute baloney, even when the wind is blowing at the correct speed.

    The promoters of this scheme must be aware of the actual generation figures. The politicians have absolutely no excuse for not knowing the same, and the eyewatering cost.

    They should all be charged with a criminal conspiracy to defraud the public.

  8. Meanwhile the genius Politicians allow the UK’s largest wind farm to go ahead.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-17995258

    “Enough power for 200,000 homes” they say. Note “power”, not “electricity”, so that includes heating (mainly gas). Ubsolute drivel. Even when the wind is at the “correct” speed.

    The promoters have to know actual generation figures and costs. The politicians have absolutely no excuse for not knowing the same.

    They should all be charged with criminal conspiracy to defraud taxpayers and energy users.

  9. OT but CT hasn’t moved for 10 days now check up time again as ice borders upon normal again

  10. An excellent dissection of the fraud that is wind-power. Unfortunately, here in the UK our coalition government is still in thrall to wind-power companies and continues to shower them with borrowed money which we cannot afford to repay.
    Siemens, a German company, is seeking to build a wind turbine factory which will garner them millions of pounds: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-humber-17993593
    Despite vociferous complaints, permission has been given by the “greenest government ever” for the destruction of a beautiful rural area in South Wales: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/9253375/Huge-windfarm-approved-despite-campaigner-complaints.html
    Our country is flat broke, we are in economic recession but our so-called government still proceeds with this wind-driven madness.
    At the time of writing, wind is generating a massive 1.4% of our electricity. Coal and nuclear combined are generating 72.2% (figures from http://www.bmreports.com/bsp/bsp_home.htm )

  11. democracy has been working. the dictatorship of the mob has been in full swing. the average iq is 100.
    we have not yet begun to experience the consequences of the last few years.
    we have at least a decade of downward mobility to go, yet.
    but perhaps i’m too optimistic- historically and realistically, there is no prognosis for socialism.
    i still don’t hear anybody arguing ‘rights’. apparently the ‘inalienable’ bit was just negotiating tactic?
    but gasoline won’t be going back to 2$ a gallon, ground round won’t be back at 2$ a pound.
    learn to love rabbit, i guess, when chicken and pork get tiresome.
    milk could see 10$ a gallon – gasoline 20$ a gallon.
    the bills haven’t come in, yet. they won’t be accepting credit cards, either.

  12. The figure of “40,000 to 50,000 acres (or more)” for 600-MW of wind installation seems inflated, based on my direct knowledge. Can anyone cite a source for that number? Or what the “or more” might mean?

  13. Good post Paul, more strength to you. End the subsidies in the UK too. Sign the 22704 petition. If they work they don’t need wealth redistribution. If they don’t work, we don’t need them.

  14. Sometimes the wildlife gets their revenge. I know of a wind farm here in Western Australia that was recently put out of commission for a month by mice chewing through cables.

  15. tallbloke says:
    May 9, 2012 at 12:04 am

    In the UK, a legal adviser to the european anti wind farm platform got a knock on the door form the police 9 days after I was raided – on Christmas eve!

    He is suing the UK govt for 2.5M.

    Shadowy forces are at work to protect the interests of wind power profiteers.

    YIKES … not good at all when the police get involved on the side of the bird slicers.

    So does that mean you could be able to get £2.5M for them raiding your machines? That would be a fine thing indeed.

    My best to you,

    w.

  16. jorgekafkazar says:
    May 9, 2012 at 12:26 am

    The figure of “40,000 to 50,000 acres (or more)” for 600-MW of wind installation seems inflated, based on my direct knowledge. Can anyone cite a source for that number? Or what the “or more” might mean?

    The numbers I find say variously “50”, or “60”, or “28-83″ acres per megawatt. The American Wind Energy Organization says 200 acres per MW. The number I see the most is 60 acres per MW, although obviously this is highly site-specific.

    If we take the most popular number, 60 acres per megawatt, that would be 36,000 acres for 600-MW. So their numbers seem like they are in the ballpark. I suspect the “or more” means the 200 acre per MW estimate, or 120,000 acres per 600 MW …

    w.

  17. Willis: If I do, I most surely will finance the convening of a climate and energy conference, to which you will be cordially invited.

  18. Something we need these days, truthful info to make informed choices. I’ve noticed several schemes for FREE recharging of electric vehicles, which appeals to Green Logic as the energy is FREE. But what happens when eco-minded people are forced to make a real decision?

    http://chuckleaduck.com/comic/pick-your-poison/

  19. “DMarshall says:
    May 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm
    Here’s an idea ( or two ) – remove ALL (the thousands of) small, obsolete and broken-down turbines from Techahapi, San Gorgonio and Altamont as fast as possible and replace them with just enough larger modern turbines to keep the average electricity production the same.

    Subsidize only well-sited turbines but cut the overall industry subsidies in half.
    Cancel all subsidies to Big Oil and redistribute to solar projects, preferably in sunny cities, of which there are no shortage in America, and focus on large rooftop and parking lots, while encouraging citizen ownership.”

    Um…. Why?

    Can we get back to the real world now? Build nuke plants, coal, gas, hydro – based on real world economic factors. Private enterprise. It works.

  20. Outstanding article, Paul! I’ll be linking to it elsewhere.

    By the way way, I really am the Larry Fields that everyone knows and loves. Because I’ve used jabali316 as a pseudonym elsewhere, it pops up here too. Sorry about that.

  21. Well wind power in the UK is generating at 4.1% of installed capacity as I write.

    DaveE.

  22. As usual, the idiot Republicans gave brief lip service to real science in the last election, and now they’ve returned to supporting Gaia.

    None of this will change until we get so absolutely broke that we’ve already stopped paying the soldiers, stopped paying Social Security, and even stopped paying Congressmen. At that point Congress may consider cutting EPA’s budget by 0.0000000000000000000000000001%, but will decide to double it anyway.

    Thus I’m not wasting energy by talking to idiots; I know they won’t listen to mere citizens or mere truth.

    Money talks, truth walks.

  23. Good, but I have seen the counter arguments on the Guardian website:

    1 All power is subsidised. Nuclear is even more costly and (as one plant generates more power than any one wind turbine) when a plant goes down the impact on supply is greater.
    2 Externalities are not factored in by the market. That usually means CO2 but also waste disposal and even wars over oil.
    3 Renewables are new and so need subsidy to get started. The prices will fall with scale. Fossil fuels and nuclear are old and should have no subsidy (tax relief for the poor on fuel bills is considered subsidy in the UK and most energy does not come from renewables).

    Think hard and there are logical flaws with all of these points but these are the arguments you must defeat in the court of public opinion.

  24. @Stephen Brown,
    I note down the wind power figures every morning. Half an hour ago the total UK wind power output was 187 MW, the average over the last half hour was 0.5%.
    That’s not a misprint, people. All of those thousands of monsters that disfigure our beautiful countryside were generating just 187 megawatts.
    This happens fairly regularly. On 20th March the figures were 0.4% and 166 MW.
    ‘Completely barking mad’ hardly begins to describe it….
    Chris

  25. David Evans says wind in the UK is generating at 4.1% today? It’s very erratic if so, GB’s metered wind fleet is operating at o.6% as I write this (254MW). 1.3% over the last 24 hours.

  26. Chris Wright says:
    May 9, 2012 at 3:34 am

    That’s nowt. I’ve seen production below 20Mw. That’s under 0.5% of installed capacity.

    DaveE.

  27. “”””” DMarshall says:

    May 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Here’s an idea ( or two ) – remove ALL (the thousands of) small, obsolete and broken-down turbines from Techahapi, San Gorgonio and Altamont as fast as possible and replace them with just enough larger modern turbines to keep the average electricity production the same.

    Subsidize only well-sited turbines but cut the overall industry subsidies in half.
    Cancel all subsidies to Big Oil and redistribute to solar projects, preferably in sunny cities, of which there are no shortage in America, and focus on large rooftop and parking lots, while encouraging citizen ownership. “””””

    I don’t have any problem with cancelling subsidies to big oil, since there are none. The USA Federal Government is the largest beneficiary of “Big oil”, as they make more money from big oil, than do the owners of big oil.

    So what was your reason for subsidizing big wind again; I didn’t catch that part of your message ?

    If you leave an old clunker car out in the street, in non working condition; in most California locations, for more than 72 hours, without moving it, they will come and tow it away, or at least fine you until you do remove it. Such eye sores are not tolerated. Big wind should be forced to remove their clunker eye sore non operative turbines, and then restre the environment to its original pristine condition, before they junked it up with their contraptions. At present it seems they simply abandon them, like leaving old tires on the roadways.

  28. “”””” M Courtney says:

    May 9, 2012 at 3:21 am

    Good, but I have seen the counter arguments on the Guardian website:

    1 All power is subsidised. Nuclear is even more costly and (as one plant generates more power than any one wind turbine) when a plant goes down the impact on supply is greater. “””””

    So where did the money come from to subsidize the move from free green clean renewable energy that we used to enjoy (figs in fig trees) ; to the modern era of stored chemical energy widely available from burning natural hydrocarbon molecules.

  29. I hear all the time that nuke power is ‘old’. Old compared to what? Nuke power is younger than I am by several years. Fossil fuels aren’t really that old either, as an industrial fuel for power, etc.. Seems to me that the promoters of wind, solar, etc. are more than a little myopic.

  30. “”””” jorgekafkazar says:

    May 9, 2012 at 12:26 am

    The figure of “40,000 to 50,000 acres (or more)” for 600-MW of wind installation seems inflated, based on my direct knowledge. Can anyone cite a source for that number? Or what the “or more” might mean? “””””

    Have you ever taken a good look at a far more practical gas turbine engine, Jorge; namely, one of those commonly found hanging under the wings of jet aircraft ?

    They have a sustantial air gathering input port, that is much larger than the turbine wheel itself, that extracts the energy from that air, and they require an even larger unobstructed open space behind the turbine wheel for the exhaust air to escape unimpeded.

    That input and output port space, occupy far more volume than the turbine rotor itself, and the same is true for so called wind turbines, that are powered by the sun, but require many thousands of unrestricted acres per turbine wheel, to get smooth air flow through them. The total space consumed by a “wind farm” is orders of magnitude larger than the acreage, that is actually owned by the wind farmers themselves who bult those monstrosities.

  31. M Courtney: 1. All power is subsidised.

    Well, possibly true, if you add in all non direct costs, but you don’t even need a calculator to see the absurd amount of subsidy being paid per kwh for ‘renewables’.

    “Nuclear is even more costly and (as one plant generates more power than any one wind turbine) when a plant goes down the impact on supply is greater. . .” Actually one nuclear power plant (Kashiwazaki, 8,200mw as the extreme example) can generate more electricity than the entire eyesore of installed wind farms in the UK (6580mw as at April 2012) even if they were to be running at more than the long term average of around 15% of capacity.

    Why is it that in order to be an environmentalist or Guardian reader you have to be innumerate too?

    And gnomish, would that be the tyranny of the uneducated masses who do know about punctuation and grammar?

  32. fenbeagleblog says:
    May 9, 2012 at 4:22 am

    I was referring to installed wind capacity, not percentage of overall generation.

    DaveE.

  33. George E. Smith:

    M Courtney wrote (at May 9, 2012 at 3:21 am) beginning;
    “Good, but I have seen the counter arguments on the Guardian website:”

    It then lists 3 “counter arguments” and ends by asserting;
    “Think hard and there are logical flaws with all of these points but these are the arguments you must defeat in the court of public opinion.”

    Your post at May 9, 2012 at 4:42 am claims to be answering him but seems to be ‘red herring’.

    His assertion may or may not be correct but your ‘response’ does not address that.

    Your ‘response’ quotes the first “counter argument” he cited then makes a point which has no clear relevance..

    Personally, I think his assertion has merit and would welcome suggested ways to rebut the three “counter arguments” which he cites.

    Richard

  34. ? how did every day people fall for this fraud in 10 to 20 years from now they will have the answer

  35. Let me clarify: I reported the views that are often expressed in the Guardian (both readers comments and in articles – look now at Porritt’s wittering on the website) not because I agree with them but because they need to be addressed.

    This article is good. But it ignores the counter arguemnts. Counter arguments which are often repeated and so shouldn’t be ignored.

    Which is a pity as they really aren’t very good counter arguments.

    If you want to make a case against wind farms then you need to fight on the opponents turf as well as your home ground. And it should be possible.

    My comment was meant to advance the debate against wind farms; not to denigrate it.

  36. Response to Richard S Courtney:
    Thanks Dad but I think the misunderstanding was my fault.

    If I hadn’t mentioned the Guardian then people would have responded more calmly and read more carefully.
    This is a lesson that I have learned (yet again): Be aware of the emotional content of the communication. It’s just so hard on the internet.

  37. As I write – UK wind is contributing a stupendous 0.7% to electricity demand (which at 1330 on a mild spring day is well down at 42000kW…)
    By the way – this whole article should go directly to our beloved Department of Energy and (ha..!) Climate Change….

  38. George E. Smith – ‘If you leave an old clunker car out in the street, in non working condition; in most California locations, for more than 72 hours, without moving it, they will come and tow it away, or at least fine you until you do remove it. Such eye sores are not tolerated. Big wind should be forced to remove their clunker eye sore non operative turbines, and then restre the environment to its original pristine condition, before they junked it up with their contraptions. At present it seems they simply abandon them, like leaving old tires on the roadways.’
    In Alberta it is provincial law that the oil companies must return any oil sands site to pristine condition once completed. Buffalo now roam on former sites that had been mined. If there was no use for oil sands the enviro whackos would demand the dirty stuff be removed and replaced with clean fill.

  39. I notice that the logo of the American Wind Energy Association does not characterise any electricity coming out of the base of the windmill…..!

  40. In Ontario Canada wind is currently generating <1% of our electricity (aka Hydro) — 147 MW or <10% of the rated capacity — but the wind farms are consuming 100% of their subsidies.

  41. M Courtney says:
    May 9, 2012 at 5:26 am

    I don’t think it was your fault. I read your comment and agree they aren’t very good arguments.

    As for subsidies, the claim is that a reduced rate of VAT on domestic fuel is a subsidy is an obvious crock. You may just as well say that food is subsidised because it is zero rated, (as was domestic fuel until the Major government levied VAT at 8%.)

    The rate of VAT is now 5% on domestic energy, it should be zero rated but, EU rules state that once VAT is charged on a product, it can never again be levied at less than 5%.

    DaveE.

  42. I find it hard to believe than Paul Driessen ever came close to a classroom teaching Econ 101 or any teaching environmental science or engineering based on the amount of time I invested in such activities as part of my 40 years in the power industry. Is there a contest about who can sound more ignorant liberals or conservatives?

    In the right location, wind farms make a great deal of sense and have little environmental impact. For example, putting wind farms in the PNW dry land wheat field. The variability of wind is balanced by hydroelectric. The reason the cost of electric in the region increased was the result of meeting increased demand with natural gas which was really cheap at the time.

    When the wind farms came along they mitigated the cost of natural gas for all Americans. The PTC was a good investment of tax dollars.

    “Skyrocketing electricity prices ”

    Idiots say this a lot. Power is a very cheap commodity. The capital cost of generating equipment is high. Whenever new power plants come on line everyone complains but the highest cost of power is when it is not available. A few years ago, we moved from the PNW to coal-based Virginia. Recently our power bills went up about $20 per month because of the capital costs of new pollution controls.

    My point is that there is a cause for each increase and blaming everything on wind is not only silly and wrong. In any case, it cost about a $1/day to run the heat pump in the summer. In hot humid climates the value of air-conditioning is worth every penny.

    On the other hand, while I am in favor of PNW wind farms the Southeastern US has poor wind resources. PTC to build nukes makes sense there to mitigate the cost makes sense.

    Again a federal PTC benefited everyone by lowering the demand for natural gas.

  43. I thought we had red-lines around taxation and parliament was sovereign in that field?
    Surely, if parliament levied VAT on domestic fuel at 0% then VAT on domestic fuel is 0%.
    We collect it at a national level and possession is 9/10ths of the law.

  44. It’s time to let the wind farmers and solar farmers exist on their own, without subsidies from government ie. taxpayers. It’s just common sense. Now is the time.

  45. ‘Stephen Brown says:
    May 8, 2012 at 11:50 pm ‘

    The neta website alone should be enough to blow the argument for renewables out of the water. Every time a politician spouts off about the benefits of renewables the backdrop should be a realtime graph of the neta site. I’m surprised the site hasn’t been taken down already for reasons of national security.

  46. Kind of off topic butstill related to “sustainable energy” and subsities for products that dont work.

    Did the calcs for the Cimarron solar plant.
    Total land area in US (acres) = 2,425,600,000
    Cimarron plant = 250 acres
    Plants fit in US = 9,702,400
    Plant MW’s = 34
    Total MW’s produced = 329,881,600
    Total US power production in a year = 4,369,000,000
    % supplied by solar plants = 7.5%
    Cost of each plant = $240,000,000
    Total cost = $2.33×10^15

    This is considering a 100% capacity factor (not even Nuke plants have), no degredation in performance, and peak sun light 100% of the time. Is this really sustainable?

  47. I like very much the compactness of this summary of issues. That part was well done.

    Where this and other political posts perform poorly is that it doesn’t name names in the political arena. For instance, there is a link under “contribute millions” to the opensecrets.org page for “American Wind Association”. Ok, truthful information, but hopelessly down in the details. I will go so far as to say that it is lying by misdirection. Try this page instead: the page for Energy and Natural Resources PACS. Where’s the Wind PAC. It’s under Misc. Energy. And only one of many. This is enlightenment?

    I care less from whom they get their campaign funds than how they voted. I care less about how they voted as whether they sponsored which bills that did what. I care less about sponsorship as how they shaped bills coming to the floor on key issues. I care less about the shaping of bills as I do about how they work to bring issues to the floor and how they keep issues from being recorded as votes.

    It is the backroom whipping, vote that isn’t recorded, that matters most.

    Name names. Who are the Heroes? Who are the Villains? See who the caucus sheep in the middle follow.

  48. David A. Evans says:
    May 9, 2012 at 2:53 am

    Well wind power in the UK is generating at 4.1% of installed capacity as I write.

    DaveE.

    Which as I write is 0.8% (340MW) of demand.

    SandyS

  49. M Courtney says:
    May 9, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Unfortunately, where VAT is concerned, once it has been charged on an item, the minimum it can be dropped to is 5%. VAT is an EU tax, levied locally. It was introduced in, (I think ’73,).

    It is that lack of sovereignty which caused the furore over the so called pasty tax. As hot takeaway food was levied at standard rate and EU rules state that the same class of goods cannot be levied at a different rate, Osborne had to start taxing hot pies etc. at the same rate. It came about because of a case in Germany where it was ruled that serving hot takeaway was not a service but a good. Osborne could have reduced the rate to 5% but chose instead to just levy at 20%.

    DaveE.

  50. In CA, there isn’t enough land with the required class 5 winds to make a dent in energy needs. And that’s if you could store the power. That means if you really wanted to produce a significant percentage of electricity demand it would have to be offshore, along the coast. Right, 30,000 turbines for hundreds of miles along the coast? FAIL.

    Smartgrid is needed to regulate flucuating power supply from unreliable sources like wind and solar. The way they plan to handle a sudden drop in supply is to force a sudden drop in demand. That’s called “autoresponse”. To make it work, they have to install a Home Area Network and make you purchase network capable appliances. These appliances, including TVs and even computers, will have built-in two-way communications devices that report any data available to the utility and government. There is no limit to data mining in the Energy Independence and Security Act 2007.

    Without wind and solar, there is no justification for this intrusion since other forms of energy are reliable. Government know these energy sources will never work, but they want smartgrid to monitor what we do, and to replace the internet. They’ll keep the game going long enough to get what they want. GE believes it has a wide open market for new appliance sales. They are going along with their ‘ecomagination’ and get to pay 0% corporate tax. They aren’t the only ones playing that game.

    It all stinks.

  51. The part of the article I found most interesting was the claim that windmills actually draw electricity from the grid, and that the usage is a) not metered, but free, and b) not publicized at all, even to the point where the manufacturers don’t give out such numbers to purchasers.

    I have difficulty believing this, but so far none of the comments appear to address it. Anyone have real-world insights about this? One thing I’m certain of is that people are generally unaware of the possibility that windmills are actually drawing net power from the grid at times. It would be really interesting to know the details as to how much they typically draw, and whether it’s metered power.

  52. David A. Evans says:
    May 9, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Well I confess I did not know that. Thank you for the insight.

    And thank you for being about the only one who bothered to consider the counter points I raised earlier. They do need ot be confronted unless this site does become the echo chamber it accused of being.

  53. Stephen Rasey says:
    May 9, 2012 at 7:08 am
    Try this page instead: the page for Energy and Natural Resources PACS. Where’s the Wind PAC. It’s under Misc. Energy. And only one of many. This is enlightenment?
    ——————-
    Interesting choice of words describing donations through that link.
    What are: Energy Conversion Devices?

  54. Kit P says:
    May 9, 2012 at 6:07 am

    “Skyrocketing electricity prices ”
    Idiots say this a lot.

    You then immediately quote an example in your own electricity bill of government (through policy) putting up your bill.

    I’m wondering who’s the idiot?

  55. Rod Everson says:
    “I have difficulty believing this, but so far none of the comments appear to address it. Anyone have real-world insights about this? One thing I’m certain of is that people are generally unaware of the possibility that windmills are actually drawing net power from the grid at times. It would be really interesting to know the details as to how much they typically draw, and whether it’s metered power.”

    When a wind turbine is offline and not generating power it still needs power to run its auxilliary systems (oil, exciter, blade feathering). this requires a backfeed from the grid. If the entire wind farm is shut down then the farm could be drawing in substantial amounts of power. (not sure how much).

    Not too familiar with wind farms but if they were ever to be completely disconnected from the grid (switchyard breakers) then they would need a black-start deisel generator or something equivalent. My guess is that they are permanently tied onto the grid and supply and take power as needed.

  56. DMarshall says:
    May 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm
    Here’s an idea ( or two ) – remove ALL (the thousands of) small, obsolete and broken-down turbines from Techahapi, San Gorgonio and Altamont as fast as possible and replace them with just enough larger modern turbines to keep the average electricity production the same.

    Subsidize only well-sited turbines but cut the overall industry subsidies in half.
    Cancel all subsidies to Big Oil and redistribute to solar projects, preferably in sunny cities, of which there are no shortage in America, and focus on large rooftop and parking lots, while encouraging citizen ownership.
    ———
    Here’s an idea……”stop”
    The government is no better than you at picking winners and losers. (Solarandra investment?)
    Why don’t you just take all of the money you can scrape together and invest it in solar and wind projects without my taxpayer money.
    Now that’s a good idea!

  57. When you walk into a dark room in your house and flip the lightswitch, is it acceptable for the lights to come on (a) in 10 seconds, (b) in 1 minute, (c) 15 minutes, (d) 1 or more hours? Ask the same question about power for air heating, air conditioning, cooking, internet blogging, etc. How about if instead of full illumination, the lights came on at only 50% brightness, or less?

    Now I expect that most individuals could find a way to live with energy delivery that is less than immediate or less than 100% of demand and in fact much of the world lives this way today. But I cannot conceive of anyone willing to pay the same or even more for unreliable energy as they would for reliable energy.

    Now look at it from the point of view of the utility. If I operate a grid and sell power to a combination of residential and business/industrial users, why would I pay the same wholesale price for variable and unreliable supply as I would for constant and reliable supply? If I have a choice between a contract that promises constant delivery with a 95+% availability guarantee and a competing offer for variable supply “when circumstances permit”, why would I or anyone in their right mind go with the second option? That would only be rational in a world where retail customers are willing to pay more for unreliable power.

    So if you are a windfarm operator and I am a power grid operator, I’m willing to buy from you only when my customer demand exceeds my constant base supply and I’m looking at firing up a peaking generator. And the price I’m willing to pay is at most my cost to get the same power from that peaking source. In the real world, I’m not willing to pay even that much because there is a chance you won’t deliver the power I need and I’ll have to fire up the peaking generator anyway. In the real world, you’ll compensate me for taking that risk by accepting a lower rate.

    If I’m interpreting the Department of Energy 2011 levelized cost comparison for power generation types correctly, it looks like you’d have to subsidize about 40% of the construction cost for a windfarm to offer power at the same rate as a CCGT source. This assumes a 34% capacity factor for wind, which many people argue is higher than actual experience.

    But of course you’d have to subsidize more than 40% of the construction cost because in a rational market any grid operator would demand a lower rate for unreliable power. This leads to the second half of the double-whammy of wind power: regulatory mandates on grid operators to purchase from windfarms at inflated (relative to a rational market) prices. The only way to make wind power viable for the wind operators is to force wholesale and hence retail customers to buy their product. Where have we seen that approach before? You only have to use force to get people to do things which harm them.

    What we have with the current set of subsidies and regulatory mandates is the promotion of less reliable and more expensive power over other available sources. We are supposed to accept this because it provides environmental benefits. However it makes you feel, you have to admit wind provides less available, less reliable and more expensive electrical power. Speaking for myself I’d have to feel really, really good about environmental benefits to accept those penalties. And as Paul has argued, there are significant environmental drawbacks to windfarms, so even that aspect is not a clear win.

    Prior to the mid 19th century, human civilization relied heavily on wind power for transportation in the form of sailing ships. The transition to wood/steam, coal/steam, oil/steam and now diesel/electric all happened because each succeeding technology was cheaper and more reliable. In 1854 the clipper ship Flying Cloud set the pure sail record from New York to San Francisco which stood for more that 100 years: 89 days, 8 hours. That’s one fourth of a year, or about half of a US baseball season — would anyone accept this today absent force? As another WUWT poster noted, all the technology advances since then haven’t made the wind blow stronger or more reliably. Windpower is not just one, but several large steps backwards.

    We’ve seen claims recently that in the near future children won’t know what snow is. A more likely scenario is one where children are read bedtime stories by hand-crank generator LEDs which start like this:

    Once upon a time there was a magic kingdom, and in that land when people flipped a switch the lights came on immediately and were so bright they lit up the entire room instead of just one small corner …

    and children in that future will believe it is a fairy tale.

  58. I believe wind farms are not generally utility owned, and therefore they have to be metered to get paid. One reason for rising energy prices from renewables, especially wind power, is operation and maintenance costs. All of the moving parts need constant attention. These problems are compounded in offshore operations. Also, there is an opportunity cost with resepect to the land and even the ocean where the turbines are sited. They take up space (about 80 acres each) and are incompatible with many other uses. Humans can’t live around the large turbines. For one thing, we know when they fail, they could kill people nearby.

  59. Hoser says:
    May 9, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Thanks for the clue in about Smartgrid.

    For those who want the primary source.
    TITLE XIII- SMART GRID SEC. 1301- 1308 STATEMENT OF POLICY ON MODERNIZATION OF ELECTRICITY GRID
    Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 – SEC. 1301 – 1308
    PDF of actual law: http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/oeprod/DocumentsandMedia/EISA_Title_XIII_Smart_Grid.pdf

    SEC. 1301. STATEMENT OF POLICY ON MODERNIZATION OF
    ELECTRICITY GRID.
    It is the policy of the United States to support the modernization of the Nation’s
    electricity transmission and distribution system to maintain a reliable and secure
    electricity infrastructure that can meet future demand growth and to achieve each of the
    following, which together characterize a Smart Grid:

    (1) Increased use of digital information and controls technology to improve
    reliability, security, and efficiency of the electric grid.
    (2) Dynamic optimization of grid operations and resources, with full cyber-
    security.
    (3) Deployment and integration of distributed resources and generation, including
    renewable resources.
    (4) Development and incorporation of demand response, demand-side resources,
    and energy-efficiency resources.
    (5) Deployment of `smart’ technologies (real-time, automated, interactive
    technologies that optimize the physical operation of appliances and consumer
    devices) for metering, communications concerning grid operations and status, and
    distribution automation.
    (6) Integration of `smart’ appliances and consumer devices.
    (7) Deployment and integration of advanced electricity storage and peak-shaving
    technologies, including plug-in electric and hybrid electric vehicles, and thermal-
    storage air conditioning.
    (8) Provision to consumers of timely information and control options.
    (9) Development of standards for communication and interoperability of
    appliances and equipment connected to the electric grid, including the
    infrastructure serving the grid.
    (10) Identification and lowering of unreasonable or unnecessary barriers to
    adoption of smart grid technologies, practices, and services.

    So yes it looks like we all get shoved into buying new appliances that can be shut down by the power companies during “Brown outs” Are they going to be responsible for all the food in my freezer that goes bad because the EPA shut down the coal plants that supply 42% of the power to the USA?

  60. All power plants regardless of untility or not are metered so that the regional grid operator knows how much power is coming and going where. the operators also need to know how much reserve they have and where they can get extra power for peak times. This reason is also another reason wind farms are not viable. They would not be able to come online whenever needed if the wind isnt there.

  61. Hoser says:
    May 9, 2012 at 8:50 am
    I believe wind farms are not generally utility owned, and therefore they have to be metered to get paid.

    I’m not sure if you were directing your comment to my earlier question or not, so I’ll repeat it for clarity. A link in the article went to a discussion about the grid electricity that windmills draw. In that discussion, it was posited that they might not even pay for the electricity they draw. I tend to doubt that, but surely someone must know what is typical practice.

    Obviously the power provided by the windmill is metered, as you point out. The question is, does the meter run in reverse when the wind is not blowing and the blades are turning only because electricity from the grid is being used.

    Again, I’ve never before seen a discussion of the amount of electricity a windmill farm draws from the grid, and yet it might be an important consideration when it comes to the economics of windmills. (The discussion at the link was quite interesting, and it’s the first I’ve seen of that nature.)

  62. Rod Everson says:
    May 9, 2012 at 8:14 am

    The part of the article I found most interesting was the claim that windmills actually draw electricity from the grid, and that the usage is a) not metered, but free, and b) not publicized at all, even to the point where the manufacturers don’t give out such numbers to purchasers.

    I have difficulty believing this, but so far none of the comments appear to address it. Anyone have real-world insights about this? …..
    ________________________________
    Someone here on WUWT addressed the issue. (you can go looking for it if you wish)

    In a nut shell.
    The turbine blades are so heavy and long they will warp if they do not rotate within a certain period of time therefore it is necessary to use energy from the grid to to move at least periodically. I think bearing lubrication was also part of the issue.

  63. Rod Everson says:
    May 9, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Yes, Wind turbines also consume power. I seem to recall seeing a website which showed individual turbine status but unfortunately, I made the mistake of not bookmarking the site. :-(

    When you consider that the Vestas V80 turbine nacelle weight, ≈ 225-315 tonne. Somehow that must be rotated into the wind which uses 4 motors. (The V90 is lighter, using a different gearbox type.) Oil in the gearbox needs to be heated sometimes, Blades also sometimes need heating to prevent icing. When there is no wind, power is used periodically to turn the rotor to prevent deformation.

    There are all sorts of things that wind turbines need power for but these I think are the main ones.

    DaveE.

  64. DMarshall says:
    May 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Here’s an idea ( or two ) – remove ALL (the thousands of) small, obsolete and broken-down turbines from Techahapi, San Gorgonio and Altamont as fast as possible and replace them with just enough larger modern turbines to keep the average electricity production the same.

    Subsidize only well-sited turbines but cut the overall industry subsidies in half.
    Cancel all subsidies to Big Oil and redistribute to solar projects, preferably in sunny cities, of which there are no shortage in America, and focus on large rooftop and parking lots, while encouraging citizen ownership.

    Wow, this is so overflowing with logical fallacies it’s hard to know where to begin.

    So instead of just incurring the unwanted and unwarranted cost of erecting these new “larger modern turbines”, let’s also take on the expense of removing all the old ones. Here’s an idea, how about just remove all the old ones.

    Subsidizing any of these “alternative energy” schemes is pure waste. Here’s an idea, cut the overall industry subsidies by 100%.

    “Cancel all subsidies to Big Oil”? Sure, that would require destruction of the depreciation allowance and tax write-offs for exploration, investment in corporate infrastructure (including training and professional advancement programs), R&D, employee medical insurance, etc. Oh, by the way, if you do that it would be basically unconstitutional to direct this at so called “Big Oil” without it being discriminatory. Thereby removing these tax breaks and incentives for ALL businesses – large and small. Here’s an idea, let’s keep the tax code the same for all businesses (though I think we can all agree that some revision – read that as “simplification” – is in order).

    Solar projects in sunny cities. Well, that SOUNDS like a splendid idea. Of course, I haven’t heard of any solar project whose ROI can make break-even – especially if you consider the subsidy as part of the expense.

    Here’s an idea, how about getting the EPA and the courts out of the way so that new low or non-polluting electrical generation can be built in much less time and much less expense?

  65. “Phil the Engineer”

    What kind of engineer? The stupid kind are the ones that label themselves as engineers then demonstrate that they do not know what they are talking about.

    All power plants have house loads that use power when they are not producing power. All heavy rotating machinery has jacking gears and lube oil systems. Generally they are tied to the grid but it is not a significant load.

    “I’ll have to fire up the peaking generator anyway ”

    In the real world, we admit more steam to the turbine when demand increases. Rolling reserve is something else entirely. SCGT or diesels are fired up when a large power plant or transmission line fails suddenly. My the next day, another steam plant is operating.

    In the real world you do not have to settle for unreliable power. Steam plants come on line in order of their generating costs. I just check my grid operator, PJM, and they are looking at day ahead of about $30/MWh. That tells me that there are plenty of steam plants available to make power. There are a few days a year when grid operators may ask steels mills to shutdown or pay a higher rate.

    When the utility turns off air conditioning in non vital office areas, that is the time to worry.

    Just for the record, no one is forced to buy power. Utilities are a regulated public service. The generation of power does not hurt our customers (100 % safe) with insignificant environmental impact. We do this with near 100% reliability at a very low cost.

    If you do make your own power, you have to follow the same rules which is why you can not do it cheaper.

    As a public service, we consider what the public wants. I know exactly what NRC will say at a public meeting for the EIS of a new nuke when watermelons suggest that we do not need nukes quoting the ‘potential’ for wind and solar. The will respond by saying that is a public policy left to individual states. The EIS for a nuke does not consider wind and solar as an alternative because it is not reliable for base load power. Conversely California does not consider nuke as a matter of public policy.

    The bottom line is that the federal government offers a PTC but does not specify where they will get built. That is up to state policy. Some states have good wind resources and have used them wisely. If fact, I think you have to cherry pick very hard to suggest that 3% wind is not a good part of the mix.

    “For one thing, we know when they fail, they could kill people nearby. ”

    Hoser I do give many this advice because most people are smart enough to know better. Do not stand around rotating power equipment. You should also not go swimming in spent fuel pools at nuke plant either.

    “This reason is also another reason wind farms are not viable. ”

    The evidence suggests that they viable. Maybe not on your planted or maybe Phil the Engineer does not know what viable is. BPA doe it everyday.

  66. David A. Evans says:
    May 9, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Rod Everson says:
    May 9, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Not forgeting keeping the blades turning when they come off load. The forces that turn the shaft assembly (conncting from the blades; via the gear box assembly to the generator shaft) get very hot as the assembly absorbs a (very small) percentage of the torque energy. If the shaft is allowed to stop before it has cooled it will deform slightly. After a few 100’s of cycles of this; the shaft will have deformed sufficiently to cause mechanical break down through vibration trashing the bearings and/or the gearbox. Incidentaly gearbox life in the UK is reported as being only 5 years instead of the ‘expected and planned for’ 20 years. Another little white lie from the industry about windturbine ‘efficiency’.

    To prevent shaft assembly deformation from happening; the shaft is kept turning (slowly) as it cools. A (beneficial) side effect of this requirement is it coincides with the need to also keep the turbine blades moving; if (and the larger the turbine the more critical both of these effects are) the blades are not kept moving they will warp (unless one is pointing straight down).

    Net result is that the turbine has to be rotated – which now looks like it is working. But is now consuming energy – over and above the energy needed to keep the ancillary services; mentioned up thread, running

    Not only do we need agregation sites like this http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ (where you can see how diabolical wind energy is) but we need to be able to see the net/gros consumption figures for the individual turbines/farms/country as well.

    (Firefox reports spell checker is ON; but no spell check operatiing — Mods : any ideas ? color and colour both accepted with no UK spell check against color…)

  67. Curiousgeorge says:

    I hear all the time that nuke power is ‘old’. Old compared to what? Nuke power is younger than I am by several years. Fossil fuels aren’t really that old either, as an industrial fuel for power, etc.. Seems to me that the promoters of wind, solar, etc. are more than a little myopic.

    Especially given that wind power is actually very old. Quite possibly the oldest form of mechanical power used by humans. Problems with using it were apparent in Roman times.
    Solar isn’t especially ‘new’ either.

  68. I’m not saying that a wind farm wouldnt be able to help out with load and be supplemental to the system but as a reliable base load provider they wouldnt be able to keep up. This is only considering the sheer fact that the wind doesnt blow 100% of the time and it cannot be relied upon for a constant power source.

    It is certainly a good technology and Im for putting in more wind farms but not at the expense of taxpayer dollars.

    Please take your condescending talk somewhere else please. I was only trying to answer someone else questions.

  69. @ Gail Combs says:
    May 9, 2012 at 8:58 am

    So yes it looks like we all get shoved into buying new appliances that can be shut down by the power companies during “Brown outs” Are they going to be responsible for all the food in my freezer that goes bad because the EPA shut down the coal plants that supply 42% of the power to the USA?
    ********************************************************************************************
    I abbreviated your post.

    Put in terms the EPA, and the rest of them, can understand: They are invited to kiss my Marine Corps ass. Repeatedly and passionately. ;)

  70. And it is now reported moving into the courts …

    The eagles, hawks, falcons, vultures, ducks and geese have collectively stated through a translator the need of worldwide general counsel and are moving to procure international injunctions against BigWind’s …

    The bats have instead taken the position, due to their strength in sheer numbers, that …

    Josh? ☺

  71. @ Mark says:
    May 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Curiousgeorge says:

    I hear all the time that nuke power is ‘old’. Old compared to what? Nuke power is younger than I am by several years. Fossil fuels aren’t really that old either, as an industrial fuel for power, etc.. Seems to me that the promoters of wind, solar, etc. are more than a little myopic.

    Especially given that wind power is actually very old. Quite possibly the oldest form of mechanical power used by humans. Problems with using it were apparent in Roman times.
    Solar isn’t especially ‘new’ either.
    ***********************************************************************

    True. Although I was only considering the use of wind, etc. in terms of electrical power. Wind, hydro, solar are ancient in terms of producing ‘work’. Grain mills, belt driven ancient ‘power’ tools, sails, irrigation, etc. have been around for thousands of years, and did a fine job. Same problems then as now. When the wind didn’t blow, break out the oars and put the galley slaves to work. ;) Maybe we could give all those “Occupy” people some productive work peddling generators for electricity.

  72. Kit P says:
    May 9, 2012 at 6:07 am

    “Again a federal PTC benefited everyone by lowering the demand for natural gas.”

    That’s nonsense. The spot price of NG has declined almost 85% in recent years because frakking operations have have generated a massive increase in supply. The notion that wind farms have actually had much affect on the overall demand for NG also seems to be fairly weakly supported.

  73. I wonder how many people are aware that the American Wind Energy Association used to sponsor “pop up” adverts on a number of “adult” websites…

  74. Curiousgeorge says:
    May 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm
    “Maybe we could give all those “Occupy” people some productive work peddling generators for electricity.”
    ————————–
    I watched them. I don’t think “working for something” was what they had in mind. Do you?

  75. To Alan Watt (May 9, 2012 at 8:28 am)

    “When you walk into a dark room in your house and flip the lightswitch,” etc. [too long to quote in full]

    *

    WOW. You sum it up brilliantly. There’s no arguing with what you’ve written, you’ve explained perfectly and very clearly why wind power is a poor choice no matter which way anyone can look at it. That was riveting reading. Thank you.

  76. Curiousgeorge says:
    May 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm
    ….. Grain mills, belt driven ancient ‘power’ tools, sails, irrigation, etc. have been around for thousands of years, and did a fine job. Same problems then as now. When the wind didn’t blow, break out the oars and put the galley slaves to work. ;) Maybe we could give all those “Occupy” people some productive work peddling generators for electricity.
    _______________________________
    I was thinking of all those overactive squirmy kids in schools. Use tread mills or pedals to generate electric to power the lights at least.

    I actually knew a guy with several kids who did just that. He used an exercise bike, a generator and a TV set. Whoever pedals gets to choice what they watch. Saved the headache of lots of squabbling and the kids were tired enough to go to bed without complaint. Best “Green” invention I ever heard of but I am sure the Department of Human Services would come calling about “Child abuse” these days.

  77. @ Chuck Nolan says:
    May 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Curiousgeorge says:
    May 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm
    “Maybe we could give all those “Occupy” people some productive work peddling generators for electricity.”
    ————————–
    I watched them. I don’t think “working for something” was what they had in mind. Do you?
    *******************************************************************
    No. But that could be remedied. I’ll leave the specifics to others imaginations. ;)

  78. Dave Wendt when you say something is ‘nonsense’ is that because you are blessed with 20/20 hindsight? In 2005, were you thinking that there would be a slight (not massive) increase in natural gas production followed by a huge economic downturn and mild weather?

    The problem is providing incentives to get infrastructure build that last many years in a variable and uncertain market.

    “The notion that wind farms have actually had much affect on the overall demand for NG also seems to be fairly weakly supported. ”

    It sound like many here are reacting to wind and solar industry propaganda rather than reason. If wind and solar press releases was proportional to power production, we could shut down all fossil and nukes. At this point wind and solar is just an experiment like nukes were 50 years ago. A small amount of is harmless but for wind and solar to survive equipment has to longer.

  79. Dear Mr. & Ms. Bald Eagle
    As an icon of america we no longer need your services
    E.P.A.

  80. Only one serious quibble with Driessen’s main post. The average performance of wind generation is nowhere close to 30% capacity factor. In one of the best wind regimes in the world, Hydro Quebec only achieved 18% at its Gaspe site during the first three years of operation. Ontario’s wind fleet is running averages of less than 20%, according to IPSO numbers. And according to Germany’s EOn, the world’s largest operator with 9000 MW on its system, not only is wind producing less than 15%, but its production average declines every year that new capacity is installed. It’s like hydro. The best locations get built first, all others show diminishing returns over time.

  81. Kit P says:
    May 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    What i called nonsense was your suggestion that wind generation had significant affect on the demand for NG. Check the demand graph in this from EIA

    http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=5910

    NG demand in the power sector has risen continually for at least the last seven years, nearly doubling over that period. If you click on the production graph you’ll find that the increase has been anything but “slight”.

    “The problem is providing incentives to get infrastructure build that last many years in a variable and uncertain market.”

    If longevity is a primary goal wind generation is a massive fail from the getgo. Even given their hopelessly optimistic projected lifetimes of 20-25 yrs they’re at a fraction of those for coal or nuclear plants and since the reality is shaping up to be more like 10-15 yrs or less they’ll probably have to be replaced 3-4 times as often versus those alternatives.

    ” At this point wind and solar is just an experiment like nukes were 50 years ago. A small amount of is harmless but for wind and solar to survive equipment has to longer.”

    Given the 10s of billions and probably hundreds of billions worldwide already invested in this “experiment” I suggest it is well past time to declare it a FAIL and move on.

  82. Dead on. Wind technology has matured to the point where it should not need more massive infusions of federal dollars. All this federal spending is nothing more than buying votes.

  83. Perhaps I should add that I support wind power wholeheartedly…just not with my tax dollars.

  84. And according to Germany’s EOn, the world’s largest operator with 9000 MW on its system, not only is wind producing less than 15%, but its production average declines every year that new capacity is installed.

    I confirm and second that.
    This is the main reason why wind (and solar) energy was not, is not and will never be an economically viable significant part of the energy production.
    The second being intermittency which works also in the same direction – the more windmills you build, the more back up traditional energy generators you need and the more you increase the costs.

    It is beyond me how any sane persone cannot see that given that :
    a) the ratio produced energy/installed power decreases when installed power increases
    and
    b) the ratio cost of produced energy/installed power increases when installed power increases
    then
    unreasonably increasing the installed wind power (beyond some 2-3% depending on location) leads necessarily to skyrocketting energy prices.

    As for numbers demanded by some eco fascists like 30 or 40% of the overall energy demand being covered by wind it is a pipe dream beyond any good and evil.

  85. “What i called nonsense was your suggestion that wind generation had significant affect on the demand for NG. ”

    I did not suggest that Dave Wendt. The ‘significant’ qualifier was yours but you did a nice job of making my point. Yes building lots of CCGT steam plants to replace coal plants will significantly increase demand. Maybe we should have a mitigation strategy or two.

    As far as the current generation of wind farms being a failure I am betting that folks like Duke Energy will do a very good job of keeping them running just like they do with everything else they run.

    I have stopped counting wind farm success stories a long time. If we stopped doing something every time there was a failure Dave Wendt would not have any power to make stupid statements on the internet. In fact I used to work at a nuke plant in California that failed yet the same design is working fine and producing low cost reliable power when run Duke Energy.

    I can cite numerous Bush policies that have promoted power production other than CCGT. Maybe we should give it more than five years before declaring them all failures. I can even cite renewable energy from the Carter era that still work fine even the Carter was a complete idiot when it came to energy just as Obama is.

  86. Dave Wendt says:
    May 9, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Given the 10s of billions and probably hundreds of billions worldwide already invested in this “experiment” I suggest it is well past time to declare it a FAIL and move on.

    The same is no less true of nuclear.

    We don’t need it. All it takes is an “act of God,” or the acts of fools – sometimes working in unison – to make a real mess, and now we’ve got one. I doubt we can afford another.

  87. Kit P says:
    May 10, 2012 at 6:14 am

    I have stopped counting wind farm success stories a long time.

    (sic)

    Is that because there is nothing to count?

    If not, here’s your big chance to cite two or three of those “wind farm success stories” that are successful without subsidies, and other infusions of cash. I know you’ve stopped counting, but since you are such a fierce advocate for wind, surely you must know a couple you could mention for us.

    I doubt you can do it because of these simple facts: Wind is unreliable, and it costs more.

    Would you pay more for a car that ran only on windy days? A car that had to be kept idling whether you were driving it or not?

    Would you want to have an operation at a hospital powered solely by wind?

  88. Kit P:

    At May 10, 2012 at 6:14 am you say;

    “I have stopped counting wind farm success stories a long time.”

    I can understand that, but I continue to count them. So far the total of “wind farm success stories” is zero unless you think ripping-off taxpayers is a “success” and, of course, they all do that.

    Richard

  89. Here is a list of wind farms built in the PNW before either a PTC or RPS mandate: The Vansycle Wind Project, Stateline Wind Farm, Nine Canyon Wind Farm, Wild Horse Wind Farm, Hopkins Ridge Wind Farm.

    Prior to the construction of these wind farms, all new capacity in the PNW was natural gas which turned out to be very expensive as fuel cost increased. I was called to get my opinion on investing in one of the wind projects. I said it would never be economical. I was wrong. So rather than being a ‘fierce advocate’ of wind, I am a practicing skeptic.

    I moved from Washington State before the advent of the California RPS and PTC. Those policies created a boom of wind construction in the PNW that added a few thousand more MWe of capacity. BPA is doing a good job of moving the power to California.

    “Would you want to have an operation at a hospital powered solely by wind?”

    Hospitals have emergency diesel generators with a fuel cost that is more than $200/MWh. My office building has two emergency generators. I still have a flash light and slide rule just in case I need to do an emergency calculation.

  90. Kit P:

    I read your post at May 10, 2012 at 10:54 am. Now, please provide an example of what you claim is a “wind farm success story” together with a definition of what you call “success”.

    Richard

  91. Engineering 101

    The Energy Returned On Energy Invested (EROEI) is the critieria by which the effciency of any system can be evaluated. If the EROEI for an energy system is greater than (>) 1, then it will produce more energy than went into it. In the early days of Alaska crude its EROEI was 11; meaning it took only 1 barrel of oil energy to discover 11.

    I analyzed the Livermore Pass Project which claimed an EROEI of 14.83. After researching the analysis and correcting for numerous errors, the EROEI came down to a more realisitc 0.29. Wind power will never generate more power than it took to design, fabricate, operate, maintain, and decommission it. Wind power, in short, is unsustainable. That is why it needs to be heavily subsidized.

    And don’t fall for this ‘table of evaluated costs’ nonsense to analyze alternatve energy projects. There is too much wiggle room for shananigans. Insist on an Embodied Energy Analysis when evaluating alternative energy projects.

  92. Ratepayers, you know, the customers of electricity, get nailed the first time as taxpayers due to tax subsidies for wind power equipment which are used by various groups to shield income. They get nailed again because the cost per kwh is several times that of coal, NG or nuke, and the wind generated electricity costs get stuck into their bills at inflated rates. In the most extreme cases, there are actually utilities who pay their wind energy suppliers (probably a wholly owned subsidiary of the utility) monthly minimums regardless of the energy used or generated. The final insult will be when ratepayer gets the tab to dismantle this experiment in insanity. Without gubment tax incentives, punitive meddling with rate structures and outright extortion by utility commissions bought and paid for by the wind industry, no sane entity would ever put up a wind generator except as a hobby.

  93. Gosh Charles I took Engineering 101 and EROEI was not a criteria that was discussed. Of course back then we used slide rules and actually had some common sense. What kind of PE are you, was EROEI on the test.

    EROEI is a made up criteria. Never heard used in the power industry often by college professors to show students without a questioning attitude how smart they are. In other words it is something people make up to tell a clever lie. If you are PE that is unethical.

    The first criteria for making power is how much power does it produce. The second is the cost affordable.

    I love people like Mike Wryley who gets ‘nailed’ in his electric bill. Poor Mikey life is so hard for him. Want to bet that Mike pays $4 for a cup of coffee while whining about the cost of a 25 cent Hollywood shower. I overheard a woman complaining about her eclectic bill. I listen more a found out she had a 5000 square foot house. That might explain why her power bill is twice mine but not why she is claiming poverty.

    “They get nailed again because the cost per kwh is several times that of coal, NG or nuke, and the wind generated electricity costs get stuck into their bills at inflated rates. ”

    Of course that is not true. The per kwh cost of the wind farms I cited earlier is less than the existing NG plants. It is about the same as what new coal or nuclear is estimated to be.

    I work mostly in the nuclear end of the power industry but for a few years I developed business plants for biomass renewable energy. Year before, I worked at a nuke plant with the same engineers who developed some of the wind projects. While the first 39 MWe of capacity in the PNW may have been an experiment, the next 4000 MWe of capacity is a sound businessmen decision to offset existing NG generation.

    Small incentives reduces the uncertainty of a businessmen decision. Building a CCGT is the least risky because of lower capital cost. If it turns out to be a bad long term choice, just pass the fuel cost on to the customers. As long a we are building large amounts of NG fuel generation, adding a small amount of wind is wise mitigation strategy.

    Everyplace that has higher than average power cost is because the rely on NG more than coal or nukes. Wind has nothing to do with it.

  94. Kit P,
    never bought a $4 coffee in my life, but I have seen the costs for electricity for running a data center, HVAC, lights and heating nearly double in the past five years. Rule number one, you can always identify a left wing stooge when he tells you that your costs for anything are not high enough.

    Some of us have to make businesses work and compete in the marketplace in order to pay the rent and put food on the table. When I see all of the money diverted into significantly less than optimum solutions by the pimps in the wind energy business, cloaked in the little green insignia,
    the word criminal comes to mind.

  95. Kit P:

    At May 11, 2012 at 5:54 am you say;
    “The per kwh cost of the wind farms I cited earlier is less than the existing NG plants. It is about the same as what new coal or nuclear is estimated to be.”

    No! You are using the word ‘cost’ instead of the word ‘price’.
    The ‘cost’ includes the price AND the subsidy.

    Having cleared that up for you, I again ask you to answer my (above) question about another of your strange assertions. I copy it below to save you the trouble of finding it.

    Richard

    ********************

    richardscourtney says:
    May 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Kit P:

    I read your post at May 10, 2012 at 10:54 am. Now, please provide an example of what you claim is a “wind farm success story” together with a definition of what you call “success”.

    Richard

  96. Mike Wryley says:
    May 11, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Kit P,
    …. I have seen the costs for electricity for running a data center, HVAC, lights and heating nearly double in the past five years. Rule number one, you can always identify a left wing stooge when he tells you that your costs for anything are not high enough.

    …… When I see all of the money diverted into significantly less than optimum solutions by the pimps in the wind energy business, cloaked in the little green insignia, the word criminal comes to mind.
    ____________________________
    Nailed it.

    Have you notice that WUWT has accumulated a number of well rehearsed and specialized “stooges” to counter each separate argument against CAGW and that often these “stooges” are cloaked as skeptics except in that one specialty field they are here to defend? It would seem that in this way they have managed to get all bases covered through a team effort.

    Too bad Anthony is not paid their combined salaries.

  97. Kit P says:
    May 11, 2012 at 5:54 am

    … The per kwh cost of the wind farms I cited earlier is less than the existing NG plants. It is about the same as what new coal or nuclear is estimated to be.

    Kit, does that include the necessary cost of building, running, and maintaining the backup power plants for when the wind is not blowing?

  98. Richard I see no reason to cut and paste my response to you since you had trouble understand simple terminology. Generating cost is generating cost. They include the cost of interest, labor, property taxes, generating taxes, and fuel cost. The price people pay include other cost such as transmission cost and management of the utility. The public utility passes the cost along to its local customers. Since does not make a profit, PTC on federal taxes is no a incentive they get.

    If you look at the PNW, it exports about twice as much power as it distributes to local utilities. Much of the wind farms that pay lots of taxes and salaries in the PNW, sell the power to California.

    So if Mike pay a high price in California, I am the wrong person for him to whine about it. I am an old guy and really tired of hearing people in business who do not think making power is a business too. Second I used to work at a nuke plant in California that could have a generating cost of 1.2 cents per kwh based on similar nuke plants.

    So Mike if you do not like what you pay for power, move your business to a state that does not import 50% and have a ton of hidden taxes that go along with not so hidden taxes.

  99. Generating cost is generating cost. They include the cost of interest, labor, property taxes, generating taxes, and fuel cost. The price people pay include other costs such as transmission cost and management of the utility. The public utility passes the cost along to its local customers. Since does not make a profit, PTC on federal taxes is not a incentive they get.

    If you look at the PNW, it exports about twice as much power as it distributes to local utilities. Much of the wind farms that pay lots of taxes and salaries in the PNW, sell the power to California.

    So if Mike pay a high price in California, it is because they import power. So Mike if you do not like what you pay for power, move your business to a state that does not import 50% and have a ton of hidden taxes that go along with not so hidden taxes.

    “Kit, does that include the necessary cost of building, running, and maintaining the backup power plants for when the wind is not blowing? ”

    Willis why would I make up a cost that does not exists? It is very easy to make up stuff. One of the things I have learned years is that it does not matter what you do, there is some lunk head who is against it. The friends that developed wind farms has a map of wind resources and places you could not built a wind farm. The people who demand wind farms do not want them in their back yard.

    So Willis the cost of producing power and ensuring a reliable supply is what it is but it is sure a lot cheaper than the alternative. Worrying about too many wind farms is a fantasy of the magic wand crowd. However, there are still lots of good reason to be building wind farms in the US.

  100. Kit P:

    In response to my having written:
    “I read your post at May 10, 2012 at 10:54 am. Now, please provide an example of what you claim is a “wind farm success story” together with a definition of what you call “success”.”

    At May 11, 2012 at 5:56 pm you have – at last – replied saying;

    “Richard I see no reason to cut and paste my response to you since you had trouble understand simple terminology.” etc.

    OK. I understand that reply:
    it says you don’t have an example of what you claim is a “wind farm success story”.

    And your blather about ‘costs’ when you mean ‘prices’ is obfuscation of the worst kind.

    I really do wish there were some way to cut-off the pay from the professional trolls who are currently infesting this blog.

    Richard

  101. richardscourtney says:
    May 12, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Kit P:
    In response to my having written:…..

    ….OK. I understand that reply:
    it says you don’t have an example of what you claim is a “wind farm success story”.

    And your blather about ‘costs’ when you mean ‘prices’ is obfuscation of the worst kind.

    I really do wish there were some way to cut-off the pay from the professional trolls who are currently infesting this blog.
    _____________________________________
    Yes you can tell we are coming up to a significant political “decision point” by the troll infestation.

    What is truly interesting is none of the new trolls are decent at it given many have Phds. They must have been reading the USDA play book that instructs agents to address farmers at the sixth grade level.

  102. Gail I keep stating the facts. I provided five examples of wind farms in the PNW that were built to produce electricity at a lower generating cost than existing NG power plants.

    Gail you may want to consult a dictionary. Stating the facts about something that has happened in the past is not ‘obfuscation’. Gail like many others have some crazy ideas about generating costs. Generating cost is the term the power industry uses when talking about generating costs. So Gail if you would like to specifically tell me what you are confused about, I will take the time to educate you.

    Criticism of the USDA is warranted. Judging form the web site Gail linked, the USDA should be dumbing down to the 2nd grade level.

    When I reviewed documents for DOE that were written by Phds, I insisted that that they be readable at a high school level when possible. After all it was average rate payers who paid for the studies which would become public documents.

    Unfortunately, government is very good at ‘obfuscation’. I can read a utility resource management plant and understand it. When I picked up a documentation of how California was going meet their aggressive RPS, I could not understand it. California is always making clam that I know are not true. I found the spread sheet listing the project. How did California meet its goal in that year? Of the 500 MWe of new renewable energy capacity, 430 MWe were projects in other states. When the truth would make California rate payers angry, ‘obfuscation’ is in order.

    The renewable energy projects are mostly good projects. When California produces enough renewable energy in the state that they can export it, maybe then and only then should they be telling others how to make electricity and cleanup the air.

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