Wind Energy Is Extraordinarily Expensive And Inefficient

 

Press Release
London, 6 August: The Global Warming Policy Foundations has warned policy makers that wind energy is an extraordinarily expensive and inefficient way of reducing CO2 emissions. In fact, there is a significant likelihood that annual CO2 emissions could be greater under the Government’s current wind strategy than under an alternative Gas scenario.

Professor Gordon Hughes (University of Edinburgh), on behalf of the GWPF, has also assessed the likely impact of wind power on household energy bills.

In his economic analysis, submitted by the GWPF to the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, Prof Hughes concludes that meeting the Government’s target for renewable generation would increase households electricity bills by 40-60% by 2020. 

The necessary investment for this Wind scenario would amount to about £124 billion. The same electricity demand could be met from 21.5 GW of combined cycle gas plants with a capital cost of £13 billion – the latter option is cheaper by an order of magnitude.
According to Professor Hughes, “the average household electricity bill would increase from £528 per year at 2010 prices to a range from £730 to £840 in 2020 under the Mixed Wind scenario. These figures amount to increases of 38% to 58% in the average household bill relative to the baseline under the Gas scenario. The equivalent ranges for the other scenarios are 29-46% for the More Onshore Wind scenario and 40-62% for the Future Offshore Wind scenario.”

“The key problems with current policies for wind power are simple. They require a huge commitment of investment to a technology that is not very green, in the sense of saving a lot of CO2, but which is certainly very expensive and inflexible. Unless the current Government scales back its commitment to wind power very substantially, its policy will be worse than a mistake, it will be a blunder,” Professor Hughes said.

The GWPF’s submission to the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change public evidence session on the Economics of Wind Power Committee is available here: Gordon Hughes: The Impact of Wind Power On Household Energy Bills.
Professor Gordon Hughes

Dr Gordon Hughes is a Professor of Economics at the University of Edinburgh where he teaches courses in the Economics of Natural Resources and Public Economics. He was a senior adviser on energy and environmental policy at the World Bank until 2001. He has advised governments on the design and implementation of environmental policies and was responsible for some of the World Bank’s most important environmental guidelines. Professor Hughes is the author of the GWPF reports The Myth of Green Jobs and Why is wind power so expensive?

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125 thoughts on “Wind Energy Is Extraordinarily Expensive And Inefficient

  1. Great, another report concluding what we have known for years. How many reports are needed to end this non-sense is the thing I want to know.

  2. I hate windmills, not only for the obvious economic and aesthetic reasons, but even more because anyone living near them is going to suffer all kinds of mental stress related illnesses, depressions etc, and have a great risk of going deaf.
    I hope they get out of the picture for good.

  3. Just what I said three years ago. Wind will be a huge mistake with lasting environmental consequences. Another “good” idea that does incredible damage until people wake up.

  4. As a Swede I must say, this article is pure bullshit! ;)

    Here in Sweden the costs for wind energy is very low, as most of the wind power plants are built besides, or very close to, where we already have water power plants. So, most of all around costs are already covered by that. It would be very stupid not to build wind energy plants here. Give me a good reason why Sweden should pay a lot of money to other countries for gas, when we can have cheap energy from our own resources? No, I thought so, you couldn’t. So, my bullshit comment was correct.

  5. Maybe this will help them stop the wind farm scheduled for Long Island sound. Teddy Kennedy would be happy. The people in Nantuckette don’t want it either. Not in their backyard policy @ work in the North East. How hypocritical of those N.E. liberals though.

  6. Just get Al Gore and switch steam engine–Gore has enough hot air to power the entire earth for centuries.

  7. And the “herding” of the Sheeple continues.

    Put that article in perspective.
    As one commenter stated Natural gas was discovered under the North Sea in the 1960’s and Fracking technology is also about that old.

    Shell Oil wants to push natural gas. Ged Davis, the Shell Oil VP who wrote the Sustainability Scenarios for the IPCC shows this in the “Sustainable Development (B1)” part of the February, 1998 Climategate e-mail which asks for comments on the attachment: “Draft Paper for the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios” by Ged Davis

    To quote from the Sustainable Development (B1) section:

    “…The impact of environmental concerns is a significant factor in the planning for new energy systems. Two alternative energy systems, leading to two sub-scenarios, are considered to provide this energy:

    1. Widespread expansion of natural gas, with a growing role for renewable energy (scenario B1N). Oil and coal are of lesser importance, especially post-2050. This transition is faster in the developed than in the developing countries…”

    http://forkbomb.org/cmail/mail/0889554019.txt

    No wonder Shell Oil (and BP) have been pushing global warming since day one when they provided the initial funding for the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia. It will be a real money maker. Tear out the old infrastructure and replace with Natural gas, Solar and Wind. Then get rid of Solar and Wind after raking in the government grants because they were never more than a blind to dupe the environuts out of their money. A new twist on ‘the broken window fallacy’ where the entire country has to shell out to pay for replacing the ‘window’ the energy sector is so busy breaking.

    If you dig you find Enron, BP, Shell, the other oil/energy companies, the World Bank and financiers threaded through out the whole mess. It has been nothing more than smoke and mirrors to bilk the tax payers and consumers out of more wealth.

  8. Drakvag:
    Nice try, but you inadvertently proved the point of the article. First, define “expensive”. Are you counting how much money it takes to build and maintain the turbines which is covered by the government? In Sweden, does “paid by taxes” mean “free” like it does in the US? Important thing to know. Second, you are already using a renewable energy–we call it hydro. We don’t call it renewable here in the states because we can’t get government subsidies for it like we can for wind and solar. So your necessary backup for wind power is already a renewable. I suppose you really don’t understand that you just paid for two types of renewable power instead of one since you never actually see what it costs. So the wind covers when the water runs out??? If not, you are indeed buying two sources of energy where one was fine. Lastly, your assumption that people who oppose wind are all for coal and gas power is completely wrong and shows how little understanding you have of this issue. Opponents of wind do not believe there are no alternatives to gas and oil, only that wind and solar are such such alternatives.

  9. Drakvag – you really should catch up on your reading and understanding of how the windmills of our time is financed. And yes, I’m also from Sweden.

  10. In response to Drakvag, I can see your point and Sweden’s geography may be very wind friendly. In most other places that is not the case, wind plants are built in remote areas well removed from other energy infrastructure so a lot of additional infrastructure must also be built in remote/rural areas.That is the case in Australia and the overall capital cost is ridiculous. Wind power requires a lot more capital per KW capacity than Gas/Coal/Nuclear/Hydro and that capital is sucked away from other uses.

  11. Drakvag says:
    August 6, 2012 at 6:23 am

    There are only 92 (I think) water power plants in Sweden and the majority of those are found in the north situated on the large rivers, so what you say isn’t true at all. Here you have a list of the energy producing municipalities (2011) in order of produced effect. Numbers are number of plants.
    Gotland, 181,4 MW, 177 st
    Strömsund, 121,4 MW, 62 st
    Malmö 114,4 MW, 50 st
    Åsele 89,4 MW, 46 st
    Dorotea, 68,0 MW, 34 st
    Laholm, 66,4 MW, 63 st
    Eslöv, 62,0 MW, 47 st
    Mjölby, 61,9 MW, 60 st
    Piteå, 60,3 MW, 28 st
    Falkenberg, 59,3 MW, 48 st
    Borgholm, 57,1 MW, 39 st
    Vara, 56,4 MW, 43 st
    Mellerud, 55,9 MW, 41 st
    Malå, 52,6 MW, 27 st
    Dals-Ed, 48,3 MW, 21 st
    Nordmaling, 46,7 MW, 21 st
    Tanum, 45,6 MW, 37 st
    Falköping, 43,5 MW, 41 st
    Krokom 42,7 MW, 21 st
    Mönsterås, 41,4 MW, 20 st

  12. A Dutch study criticizes the energy models that sold wind power to the Netherlands because the models neglected factors that increase fossil fuel consumption and C02 emissions.

    http://www.clepair.net/windSchiphol.html

    One factor is the process of ‘cycling’ or ramping up conventional plants connected to stand in when the wind isn’t blowing, and ramping down when it is. Both processes increase fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The study included an analysis of wind data at Schiphol Airport on an average windy day, 28/08/11, and found that back up ramping over 21.5 hours of low winds, increased gas imput by 47,150 m3, adding 117,9ton of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

  13. Addendum to my previous post. The energy comes from wind turbines only and the numbers are the amount of wind turbines.

  14. Drakvag says:

    August 6, 2012 at 6:23 am

    As a Swede I must say, this article is pure bullshit! ;)

    I believe the report is in regards to the UK energy market. In the UK the strongest, most reliable winds are in areas of natural beauty such as the mountains of Wales and the coastal regions. These are mostly a long way from where the power is needed, so expensive power grids need to be built across some of our greatest natural treasures. The Swedes can do what they like to power their own country, just don’t try forcing me to have expensive wind power blot the country I love.

  15. Drakvag, you should do your home work before calling other peoples’ work bullshit.

    You probably live in Sweden, where almost half of all electricity is produced with hydro and where less than 10% is generated using fossil fuels. There are few countries in the whole world, where the situation is that good. In Sweden you can basically build wind energy as much as you want and use hydro as backup.

    However, even in Sweden it’s not economically viable. According to a report written by PWC (SKGS Vad kostar kraften?” April 29th 2010), wind energy in Sweden costs 65% more than hydro and 50% more than nuclear power. There’s no point in building more expensive wind power and pollute the beautiful countryside of Sweden.

  16. And that’s not even considering the full costs. With wind and solar we’ll need backup plants for the case when the weather will tell us to sod off. That, too, will add a significant amount to the costs.

  17. 21. On this basis the average household electricity bill would increase
    from £528 per year at 2010 prices to a range from £730 to £840 in 2020
    under the Mixed Wind scenario. These figures amount to increases of 38%
    to 58% in the average household bill relative to the baseline under the
    Gas scenario. The equivalent ranges for the other scenarios are 29-46%
    for the More Onshore Wind scenario and 40-62% for the Future Offshore
    Wind scenario.

    Now read the report!

  18. Drakvag says:

    August 6, 2012 at 6:23 am

    As a Swede I must say, this article is pure bullshit! ;)

    Here in Sweden the costs for wind energy is very low, as most of the wind power plants are built besides, or very close to, where we already have water power plants. So, most of all around costs are already covered by that. It would be very stupid not to build wind energy plants here. Give me a good reason why Sweden should pay a lot of money to other countries for gas, when we can have cheap energy from our own resources? No, I thought so, you couldn’t. So, my bullshit comment was correct.

    Now read the report!

  19. This should be required reading for policymakers and ratepayers. It does a great job of disarming the industry advocates claims of affordability and financial sustainability. Another way of looking at the findings is that the wind lobby is a lot like the nuclear lobby in that they want to distract the public from the total cost picture and rational public choice with distractions of green arguments and selected cost components in isolation. Sounds familiar and so will the eventual cost push to ratepayers when its too late to stop it.

  20. Where is your sense of humour? Didn’t you see the blink I made behind bullshit comment. Of course I know that it’s different in other countries than in Sweden. One thing I don’t like is fundamentalists, and some of you really are that. You should look at your self in the mirror and try to laugh a little, it doesn’t hurt. That I love wind energy is because it’s so beautiful to see the wind mills. That some doesn’t see it my way, well they have their right to their opinion. But even I have my right…

    And SanityP, thanks for proving my point, see were all your examples are from. Except the ones on Gotland, they are all very close to were we already have big power lines. For example, Mönsterås is very close to Oskarshamn, the ones in Skåne is very close to Barsebäck and so on… So, once again, thanks, even if it wasn’t your goal.

    Unfortunately, Sweden can’t live on power from water energy. We could build more, and make us more self sufficient, but the environmentalists (and also the people living where the dams would be) is stopping that. So, we have to buy coal energy from Denmark and Germany. As I said above, I rather have wind energy produced in Sweden, then to pay extremely high prices for the coal energy.

  21. This reality of how Wind is more expensive, environmentally damaging, inefficient and actually a totally useless form of generation has been around for many many years with thousands of reports and studies to back it up. WHY then, are announcements just starting to be made by Government officials world wide that this is the case…………could it be that this massive SCAM is now in it’s final “development” stages and now all the “scammers” (politicians) are trying to get “ahead of the claims” that will be made that they are “guilty of a criminal conspiracy” bigger than anything ever pulled on modern society?

  22. Reality check says:
    August 6, 2012 at 6:39 am

    Drakvag:
    Nice try, but you inadvertently proved the point of the article.

    Circumstances alter cases. If you already have hydro, supplementing it with wind can be a better choice than building other kinds of generation.

    Hydro is about the only practical way to store wind power. Sometimes it even makes sense to pump water back up hill. On the other hand: Here’s a link to a great article where someone actually puts pencil to paper. link

    In most cases, it would be foolish to rely on wind/hydro as the answer to our energy problems.

  23. A local town just got the bill for replacing a defective gear box – $500,000. After only a few years of operation, they had “saved” less than a tenth that in electricity costs. And they’re not the only ones to discover this problem. Taking down the windmill will cost a huge amount as well.

  24. Doesn’t change the fact that fossil fuels will run out one day and/or that burning them is damaging our environment. When you know you’re in a hole it is wise to stop digging.

  25. Here in Sweden the costs for wind energy is very low, as most of the wind power plants are built besides, or very close to, where we already have water power plants.

    However, for the other 90+% of the world that has little or no hydropower, it’s a completely different analysis.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, this study was out of the UK.

  26. Martin Lack says
    ‘Doesn’t change the fact that fossil fuels will run out one day and/or that burning them is damaging our environment. When you know you’re in a hole it is wise to stop digging’

    True. We only have enough fossil fuels for a few generations. But a few generations ago the main energy problem was how to shovel out the horse manure from London left behind the coal carts.
    A solution will be found, but beware of a snake oil salesman telling you to step up quick to buy the last bottle.
    As far as CO2 is concerned, you may believe it is damaging the environment, but the evidence does not seem to support that view

  27. The European record shows that off-shore wind costs in excess of 20-cents (U.S.) per Kwh, at the fence and for the life of the plant. That same record shows central, photovoltaic solar at 40-cents. To both those figures, you can add 8-cents for transmission and distribution fixed costs.

    The current U.S. residential electric utility bill averages about 12-cents per Kwh. Of that total, 4-cents is the cost of wholesale electric power at the trading hubs. Do the numbers.

  28. “Drakvag says:
    August 6, 2012 at 6:23 am
    As a Swede I must say, this article is pure bullshit! ;)

    Here in Sweden the costs for wind energy is very low, as most of the wind power plants are built besides, or very close to, where we already have water power plants. So, most of all around costs are already covered by that. It would be very stupid not to build wind energy plants here. Give me a good reason why Sweden should pay a lot of money to other countries for gas, when we can have cheap energy from our own resources? No, I thought so, you couldn’t. So, my bullshit comment was correct.”

    You are the BSer mate.

    One reason you might not want to use wind power is that it visually and audibl pollutes the environment and is 50% more expensive even in Sweden.

    Alan

  29. I will provide a very simple reason why an uncontrollable power generating source is more expensive than its supporters might claim. This applies to ANY uncontrollable power source, not
    just wind. As the magnitude of those uncontrollable inputs to the grid grow beyond trivial amounts,
    there must exist 100% backup for their power, which comes only from controllable sources. As these uncontrollable sources feed power, it means a conventional plant whose power is being displaced by that uncontrollable power, must produce less power. While proponents of the uncontrollable power technology will point out that fuel is saved, it is also true that power produced by the conventional plants now becomes more expensive, since it has suffered a loss in capacity. This is due to the fact that fuel costs are but part of the costs of operating those displaced plants. In the case of a nuclear plant, barely 10% of its operating costs are from the uranium fuel that it uses. In effect, your operating expenses have almost doubled, but are producing, and selling, the same amount of power. Regardless of the amount of power supplied by uncontrollable sources, it is unlikely that you could ever close down one single controllable power source (conventional plant), since that uncontrollable power can completely disappear. For solar,even if you could guarantee sun every day (perhaps in a desert), that sun only shines and produces appreciable power for 9 or 10 hours or so out of every 24. In non-desert locales, entire days or even weeks can go by without appreciable solar radiation.

  30. Blame Edison and Westinghouse. Both of these made money pushing electricity! No electricity -> no problem. The simplest solution to the use of fossil fuels, and to correct the [supposed] CO2 problem is to use horses and oxen for transportation. All computers should be human powered. Ohhhhhh, that’s right, human’s give off CO2…..

    /sarc/

  31. I encountered a pumped storage facility on a bike ride up Guanella Pass out of Georgetown, Colorado. (39°39’19″N 105°42’30″W) It is called the Cabin Creek Generation Station, built in 1964-1967.

    Power Production Capabilities: Cabin Creek has two units, each with a nameplate capacity of 162 megawatts (MW).

    Cabin Creek has the ability to respond to increases in customer demand quicker than any other plant on our [Xcel] system.

    Fuel Source: Water supplied from two reservoirs totaling 1,977acre feet, enough for full-load operation of both units for four hours.

    Google Earth shows the upper reservoir at 11,235 ft, with the lower reservoir at 9974 ft.

    The link to “Do the Math” supplied by commieBob @ 7:36 am is a good one to show the scale of the issue.

    For example, to get the amount of energy stored in a single AA battery, we would have to lift 100 kg (220 lb) 10 m (33 ft) to match it. To match the energy contained in a gallon of gasoline, we would have to lift 13 tons of water (3500 gallons) one kilometer high (3,280 feet).

  32. Martin Lack says:

    “Doesn’t change the fact that fossil fuels will run out one day and/or that burning them is damaging our environment. When you know you’re in a hole it is wise to stop digging.”

    Doesn’t it take fossil fuel energy to manufacture and install wind turbines to begin with Martin? In addition, the raw materials extracted from the earth that are needed to make wind turbine components are finite as well, aren’t they?. The rare earth element neodymium immediately comes to mind—and it is quite polluting and destructive to mine them from the Earth. And finally, wind turbines (along with solar panels) leave us with toxic waste that requires disposal at the end of their useful lives. The last I heard, there was no system in place to dispose of that waste—although I could be wrong about that now. Guess we need to stop digging out the raw materials for wind turbines as well, huh?

    There never seems to be any end to the number of wind power supporters who are unaware of all
    of all of the environmental and other shortcomings that wind turbines suffer from. I just shake my head in dispair whenever I hear from another one.

  33. Dear Dratvag, Congratulation on having a profitable wind industry. I assume of course that this is operating in a free market and that there are no subsidies/mandates for this wind power. So what companies do I buy stock in to get part of these lovely profits? How are the dividends and how have the stock prices done? How much has the cost of electricity dropped as this new “cheap” source entered the market?

    On a different note, I once looked at a few numbers from the UK and if one had a few billion pounds laying around and wanted to reduce CO2 emissions, one would get more CO2 reduction by replacing old coal plants with modern coal plants with greater efficiency then spending the money on windmills. But, of course, its not about actually reducing plant food emissions, its about appearances and giving money to the rent seekers. If they were serious, not one more windmill would be built until the coal plants are upgraded to high efficiency coal fired plants.

  34. Drakvag,
    How reliable are wind turbines compared to hydro turbines?
    Here in Scotland there are some hydro tubines that I understand have been running since they were built in the mid 1920s without any major faults. What percentage of wind turbines have that sort of reliability, or indeed design life?

  35. Reblogged this on The Next Grand Minimum and commented:
    CARB has invested in wind power and has made it part of the renewable mandate, thus rate payers will have to accept the increased cost of wind energy, we are a capture audience. The only solution is to get rid of CARB and revoke AB-32. To do they we need an administration change and that if not likely anytime soon, in the mean time CA business become less competitive and will be seeking lower cost business locations.

  36. Here in the US the fact that these windmills are chopping up birds, including raptors, may be our best defense against the expansion of these economic boondogles given the extreme “environmental” indoctrination that has been laid upon the population by the leftist media and educational system.

  37. Drakvag says:
    August 6, 2012 at 6:23 am

    As a Swede I must say, this article is pure bullshit! ;)

    Here in Sweden the costs for wind energy is very low, as most of the wind power plants are built besides, or very close to, where we already have water power plants. So, most of all around costs are already covered by that. It would be very stupid not to build wind energy plants here.

    ==========

    You have a point. With adequate energy storage buffers, the economics of Wind Power become a lot more attractive. The problem is that the only energy storage technology we currently have that is remotely capable of dealing with the eccentricities of wind generated electricity on a large scale is pumped storage. And in its current form, pumped storage probably is not all that great an answer. Energy is lost transmitting electricity to the storage facility even if it is only a short distance. More energy is lost in pumping. After all that work, Water is lost to leakage and evaporation. Yet more energy is lost in generation when the power is eventually needed. And you need a LOT of water — which may not be a problem in Sweden, but is in a lot of places. And not all that much of the world has damable high altitude valleys suitable for pumped storage.

    I suspect, but don’t know for sure that the opportunities for pumped storage in Great Britain — which is the region under discussion — are quite limited.

    I’d encourage you to spend some time researching actual costs, capacities, problems and benefits of wind power in Sweden. Then write it up. I expect Anthony will post it, and probably the folks at the Oil Drum http://www.theoildrum.com (they aren’t wild about wind power either) would be interested as well.

  38. Among the current darlings of the “clean renewable” crowd we have wind and solar. Both are unreliable in the sense they cannot be made to produce power on demand. Solar is at least reliably unreliable — that is for any given location and date you can calculate the maximum possible output, and know that you will get something less than that. And every day has at least some sunlight. Wind on the other hand is unreliably unreliable, as we can’t even predict a baseline. Wind can go to zero and stay there for days, or get so strong the turbines must be feathered to protect them from damage.

    In addition to its “power when the Gods smile” property, wind has the additional problem that the energy density simply isn’t there. If it were, we would still be moving passengers and cargo by sailing ships. We gave that up roughly 150 years ago when fossil fuel efficiency was much lower that we can achieve today. In the same 150 years the wind hasn’t gotten any stronger or steadier.

    The best use of solar energy is to grow plants and then eat them. Or feed them to animals and eat the animals. Or grow trees and harvest them for attractive wood so the Gibson company can make nice pretty guitars, which folk-singers can use to protest how capitalism is destroying the world.

  39. The Danish Wind Industry has the longest experience record on wind turbines.

    Their data shows that CO2 emissions actually increased as a result of leading the charge on using wind power to generate electricity.

    But why let facts alter your belief in wind power as an alternative energy. Trust the religion, not the engineering.

  40. Drakvag says: August 6, 2012 at 6:23 am

    As a Swede I must say, this article is pure bullshit! ;)

    Here in Sweden the costs for wind energy is very low, as most of the wind power plants are built besides, or very close to, where we already have water power plants. So, most or f all around costs are already covered by that. It would be very stupid not to build wind energy plants here.

    Do they even account for/ or measure the energy consumption going into the plant, from the grid, to operate the windfarm? Most do not.

  41. yeppers, Wind Energy is so expensive that TXU Energy is giving it away for free from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM.

    Jes don’ know how we can afford it.

  42. NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — During the early morning hours of April 15, with a steady breeze blowing down Colorado’s Front Range, the state’s biggest utility set a U.S. record — nearly 57% of the electricity being generated was coming from wind power.

    As dawn came and the 1.4 million customers in Xcel Energy’s service district began turning on the lights, toasters and other appliances, the utility’s coal and natural gas-fired power plants ramped up production and brought wind’s contribution back closer to its 2012 average of 17%

    http://money.cnn.com/2012/08/06/news/economy/wind-power-Colorado/index.htm?iid=HP_LN

  43. From the above link:

    The idea behind the subsidies and mandates is to foster a market for wind and other renewable power sources so the technology can be perfected and economies of scale reached to the point where they can compete on their own.

    The strategy appears to be working — AWEA said the costs for turbines has decreased 33% over the last three years.

  44. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7 says:

    August 6, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Among the current darlings of the “clean renewable” crowd we have wind and solar. Both are unreliable in the sense they cannot be made to produce power on demand. Solar is at least reliably unreliable — that is for any given location and date you can calculate the maximum possible output, and know that you will get something less than that. And every day has at least some sunlight. Wind on the other hand is unreliably unreliable, as we can’t even predict a baseline. Wind can go to zero and stay there for days, or get so strong the turbines must be feathered to protect them from damage.

    In addition to its “power when the Gods smile” property, wind has the additional problem that the energy density simply isn’t there. If it were, we would still be moving passengers and cargo by sailing ships. We gave that up roughly 150 years ago when fossil fuel efficiency was much lower that we can achieve today. In the same 150 years the wind hasn’t gotten any stronger or steadier.

    The best use of solar energy is to grow plants and then eat them. Or feed them to animals and eat the animals. Or grow trees and harvest them for attractive wood so the Gibson company can make nice pretty guitars, which folk-singers can use to protest how capitalism is destroying the world.

    *

    Alan? You have a way with words. You are soooo right. And I got a good chuckle out of your last paragraph. Perfection! :)

  45. It would be okay to build a loooot of wind-turbines in Norway. Last year there was 39 new beaurocrats every day…..and noone cares…..

  46. Not to mention the unbelievably high level of infrasonic pollution emanating from industrial wind farms. Energy is highest below 0.1 Hz, in the microbarom range. Those waves, due to extremely low attenuation, can propagate thousands of kilometers in the atmosphere, so pollution, if the technology is promoted further, is not even local. It is most definitely a global threat.

    For this frequency range, although it has detrimental health effects, there is no regulation in place anywhere. One can’t even measure them using microphones (even the best ones have a sharp cutoff below 1 Hz). For this purpose special devices, microbarometers are needed (used to check compliance to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty).

  47. Also, from the link:

    According to a wind resources map published by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas all have stronger winds.

    Xcel credited its record wind rate with advances in technology.

    The company recently updated its weather forecasting ability with tools that allow it to more accurately predict the strength and duration of the wind.

    Xcel has also upgraded the software it uses to control its wind farms and fossil fuel plants.

    f the wind begins to blow too hard, which can threaten the turbines, the software will automatically feather the blades, slowing them down, and direct the coal or natural gas plants to increase their output. When the wind dies down, the software can more seamlessly ramp up power from fossil plants.

    Both of these measures allow Xcel to feel more comfortable powering down its fossil fuel generators for longer periods of time and giving its wind turbines center stage.

    “The wind is a free fuel resource,” said Drake Bartlett, a trading analyst at Xcel. “We want to try to take that as much as possible.”

  48. The UK’s “John Muir Trust” an environmental outfit, used Stuart Young consulting to do an analysis on wind power in the UK.
    The Report; ” Analysis of UK Wind Power Generation; Nov 2008 to Dec 2010″ was released in Mar 2011.

    http://www.jmt.org/assets/pdf/Report_Analysis%20UK%20Wind_SYoung.pdf

    The summary of the report is devastating to wind power but seems to have been totally ignored by everybody, no doubt deliberately so ,as the wind power industry scammers grabbed for every tax payer dollar they could scam out of the bleeding public with the straight out connivance of a corrupt political system.
    The report’s findings were completely contrary to the UK’s political and media “progressive’ meme of only a year or so ago.

    How times change and we are only seeing the tip of the changes as yet that are about to overturn the old order of the last two thirds of a century and usher in a new order, the likes of which we cannot yet envisage.

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
    PRINCIPAL FINDINGS
    in respect of analysis of electricity generation from all the U.K. windfarms which are metered by National Grid,
    November 2008 to December 2010

    The following five statements are common assertions made by both the wind industry and Government representatives and agencies. This Report examines those assertions.

    1. “Wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year.”
    2. “The wind is always blowing somewhere.”
    3. “Periods of widespread low wind are infrequent.”
    4. “The probability of very low wind output coinciding with peak electricity demand is slight.”
    5. “Pumped storage hydro can fill the generation gap during prolonged low wind periods.”

    This analysis uses publicly available data for a 26 month period between November 2008 and December 2010 and the facts in respect of the above assertions are:

    1. Average output from wind was 27.18% of metered capacity in 2009, 21.14% in 2010, and 24.08% between November 2008 and December 2010 inclusive.

    2. There were 124 separate occasions from November 2008 till December 2010 when total generation from the windfarms metered by National Grid was less than 20MW. (Average capacity over the period was in excess of 1600MW).

    3. The average frequency and duration of a low wind event of 20MW or less between November 2008 and December 2010 was once every 6.38 days for a period of 4.93 hours.

    4. At each of the four highest peak demands of 2010 wind output was low being respectively 4.72%, 5.51%, 2.59% and 2.51% of capacity at peak demand.

    5. The entire pumped storage hydro capacity in the UK can provide up to 2788MW for only 5 hours then it drops to 1060MW, and finally runs out of water after 22 hours.

    OTHER FINDINGS
    have emerged in the course of this analysis in addition to the Principal Findings which related to the testing of five common assertions. These Other Findings are listed below.

    1. During the study period, wind generation was:
    • below 20% of capacity more than half the time.
    • below 10% of capacity over one third of the time.
    • below 2.5% capacity for the equivalent of one day in twelve.
    • below 1.25% capacity for the equivalent of just under one day a month.

    The discovery that for one third of the time wind output was less than 10% of capacity, and
    often significantly less than 10%, was an unexpected result of the analysis.

    2. Among the 124 days on which generation fell below 20MW were 51 days when generation was 10MW or less. In some ways this is an unimportant statistic because with 20MW or less output the contribution from wind is effectively zero, and a few MW less is neither here nor there. But the very existence of these events and their frequency – on average almost once every 15 days for a period of 4.35 hours – indicates that a major reassessment of the capacity credit of wind power is required.

    3. Very low wind events are not confined to periods of high pressure in winter. They can occur at any time of the year.

    4. The incidence of high wind and low demand can occur at any time of year. As connected wind capacity increases there will come a point when no more thermal plant can be constrained off to accommodate wind power. In the illustrated 30GW connected wind capacity model with
    “must-run” thermal generation assumed to be 10GW, this scenario occurs 78 times, or 3 times a month on average. This indicates the requirement for a major reassessment of how much wind capacity can be tolerated by the Grid.

    5. The frequency of changes in output of 100MW or more over a five minute period was
    surprising. There is more work to be done to determine a pattern, but during March 2011,
    immediately prior to publication of this report, there were six instances of a five minute rise in
    output in excess of 100MW, the highest being 166MW, and five instances of a five minute drop
    in output in excess of 100MW, the highest being 148MW. This indicates the requirement for a
    re-assessment of the potential for increased wind capacity to simulate the instantaneous loss (or gain) of a large thermal plant.

    6. The volatility of wind was underlined in the closing days of March 2011 as this Report was
    being finalised.
    • At 3.00am on Monday 28th March, the entire output from 3226MW capacity was 9MW.
    • At 11.40am on Thursday 31st March, wind output was 2618MW, the highest recorded to
    date.
    • The average output from wind in March 2011 was 22.04%.
    • Output from wind in March 2011 was 10% of capacity or less for 30.78% of the time.

    The nature of wind output has been obscured by reliance on “average output” figures. Analysis
    of hard data from National Grid shows that wind behaves in a quite different manner from that
    suggested by study of average output derived from the Renewable Obligation Certificates
    (ROCs) record, or from wind speed records which in themselves are averaged.

    It is clear from this analysis that wind cannot be relied upon to provide any significant level of
    generation at any defined time in the future. There is an urgent need to re-evaluate the
    implications of reliance on wind for any significant proportion of our energy requirement.

  49. “Wind Energy Is Extraordinarily Expensive And Inefficient”

    The Scottish had to learn the hard way.

    26 December 2010
    ‘Green’ Scotland relying on French nuclear power
    SCOTLAND’S wind farms are unable to cope with the freezing weather conditions – grinding to a halt at a time when electricity demand is at a peak, forcing the country to rely on power generated by French nuclear plants.
    ……………………….
    Output from major wind farms fell to as low as 2.5 per cent of their potential generation capacity during the cold snap as power demand rose to close to the highest level yet recorded, new figures have revealed.

    Meteorologists say extremely cold temperatures can occur only when there is little or no wind and icy pockets of air are trapped close to the ground, prompting accusations from anti- wind-farm campaigners that wind power cannot be relied on to meet Scotland’s electricity needs in the depths of winter.

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/green-scotland-relying-on-french-nuclear-power-1-1523147

    If only we had listened to the Greens and shut down ALL filthy nuclear power plants. Then maybe the AGW sceptics would have had a quick victory.

  50. The levelized cost of wind is right down there with coal, now. Give it a couple of years of increasesin the price of coal, and tell me what you think.

  51. Drakvag says:
    August 6, 2012 at 6:23 am

    As a Swede I must say, this article is pure bullshit! ;)

    Here in Sweden the costs for wind energy is very low, as most of the wind power plants are built besides, or very close to, where we already have water power plants…..
    ____________________________________
    The best use of Wind Power is to pump water. Moving water from a low reservoir to a high reservoir acts as a battery and allows the power to be generated as needed. That was my plan for energy self-sufficiency.

    Once you get away from that combination Wind Power become a problem because it is erratic and upsets the load balance. The area of occupied Sweden is slightly larger than the state of California. In the USA the areas picked for wind mills are well away from energy transmission lines in many cases. We settled the valleys and plains the wind is on the mountain tops.

    You really have no idea of how large this country is. It takes days to drive from one side to the other despite our highway system. Heck I have to drive 2-3 hrs just to get out of my state!

  52. Kum Dollison says:

    “The levelized cost of wind is right down there with coal, now.”

    On your planet, maybe.

    • Don’t forget Smokey, the “levelized cost” means making up all sorts of additional costs to the “commons”, based on wild extrapolation and multiplying statistically insignificant hypothesized health effects by large population numbers as well as all the weather disaster costs blamed on the coal production.

  53. What’s a “levelized cost”? That’s not an accounting or finance term I’m familiar with. Where did it come from? Is that some new Orwellian term?

  54. Martin Lack says:
    August 6, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Doesn’t change the fact that fossil fuels will run out one day and/or that burning them is damaging our environment. When you know you’re in a hole it is wise to stop digging.
    _______________________
    So Martin, You are FOR Nuclear, RIGHT?

  55. Oh and wildly exaggerated environmental cost numbers from mining and transportation as well. All conveniently ignoring the similar extra costs from wind, large footprint destroying landscapes and ecosystems, massive extra decentralized transmission costs, load balancing costs of intermittent power sources, and the requirement for constant 100% backup from more stable sources of energy, like *cough*, coal, natural gas, and nuclear.

  56. Thanks, jeez. I figured it was BS.

    Slightly off topic, but I just discovered my “levelized” basketball skills are actually greater than LeBron James — lawsuit against the NBA is pending.

  57. kwik says:
    August 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    It would be okay to build a loooot of wind-turbines in Norway. Last year there was 39 new beaurocrats every day…..and noone cares…..
    _____________________________
    Now there is the REAL renewable resource.

    Use windmills to pump water from wells into containment areas. Use the water to irrigate crops that store the sun’s energy via photosynthesis. Feed the plants (Brussels sprouts and turnips maybe?) to the bureaucrats. Place the bureaucrats on treadmills used to turn generators. After 6 months of 16 hour days (you can eat while walking) have the bureaucrats write reports on the glories of renewable energy.

  58. Kum Dollison says:
    August 6, 2012 at 7:01 pm
    That’s not how you figure levelized cost. Go here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levelised_energy_cost

    ===

    From your link:

    “This calculation does not include wider system costs associated with each type of plant, such as long distance transmission connections to grids, balancing and reserve costs . . .”

    So, they ignore the cost of the back-up coal and natural gas plants and the infrastructure? Where’s the justification for that? How can you ignore such costs? What happens when you include them.

    Complete rubbish. More, made up, fantasy terms masquerading as science.

  59. @Drakvag: Your rude and ignorant comment fails to understand that Sweden has some of the highest electricity costs in the world. If you look at just developed Nations, then Sweden pays pretty much the highest cost for electricity in the world. You pay on avergae 28cents per KW. The only countries with higher cost also use wind and solar for a large part of their energy costs.

  60. Tell me the location of any “backup gas, or coal plant” that’s ever been built in the U.S.

  61. Kum Dollison says:
    August 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm
    Tell me the location of any “backup gas, or coal plant” that’s ever been built in the U.S.

    ====

    There are none. Because coal, gas and nuclear are constant energy sources. We don’t need them (backup sources). There is no need for backup\reserve\balancing power, unlike wind and solar which are highly variable and highly unreliable.

    Kum, tell me what happens when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun isn’t shining how do we get our power from these “levelized” sources.

  62. Ha, I read that Wiki page on levelised cost. Apart from being a political tool instead of an engineering tool, I found this little gem:

    “It has little relation to actual price of power”

    Further on, we get to the nub of the problem:

    “Wind power has poor capacity contribution, so during windless periods, some form of back up must be provided.”

    If I invented a car that got 500 mpg, but you could only use it on Tuesday mornings, it would still be a mostly pointless invention, unless you happened to have a Tuesday-only paper delivery run. That’s because everyone would have to buy 2 cars – and the cost of that far outweighs the savings of a couple of runs at 500 mpg.

    Wind cannot produce sufficient load, so the cost of any wind production is always X 2 – because you need to build something else as well. The only applications for wind power are remote areas with suitable winds, or for batch-processing time-independent jobs like irrigation or perhaps waste disposal or something like that.

  63. Usually, if the wind isn’t blowing, the sun is shining (and, vice versa.) Also, look at California; they get solar from Arizona, and wind from Washinton. Also, Hydro from Washington/Oregon, and Nevada. They will soon be getting Wind from Wyoming, and Solar from Nevada.

    Then, there’s the 900 MW of Geothermal. They’re building Wave/Tidal in N. California. You stitch it all together using advanced computer software programs. Need I go on?

  64. Oh, and Coal and Nuclear are NOT constant energy sources. San Onofre is having all sorts of problems, and it was Wind that bailed Texas out last Winter when the Coal, and Nat Gas plants froze up.

  65. I am not so sure I would bother listening to kum dollison. He has been ‘promoting’ Wind and Bio-fuel for years here and on other blogs.

    Here is an example from DomesticFuel.com

    October 12, 2008 — 5:01 pm
    kum dollison

    The trick is to learn how to get your people on the boards of outfits like the Nature Conservancy (2 seats occupied by Major Oil Companies) and “commission” Studies that will be favorable to ethanol/biodiesel, and get them published in “for hire” rags like Science magazine.

    Absolutely, no one, other than the choir, will pay the least bit of attention to a talk given by a “Farm” economist.

    Sort of spotlights the “Dirty Tricks BAG” does it not?

    A search for “Kum Dollison wind ” gives back 5,260 results so Kum has been busy.

  66. I’m an old, retired insurance man with not a lot to do, so I gab on the internet. And I’m interested in Wind, Ethanol, Solar, and other Renewable Technologies.

    However, while we’re doing ‘credentials:’ GWPF (Global Warming Policy Foundation) was founded by Nigel Lawson Who Does Have Financial Ties To The COAL INDUSTRY.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Nigel_Lawson

  67. Kum Dollison says:
    August 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm
    yeppers, Wind Energy is so expensive that TXU Energy is giving it away for free from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM. Jes don’ know how we can afford it.

    Kum,

    You just can’t be that gullible…… There is NO free energy.

    Wait – I’ve just read your responses on this comment thread. I take it back. You are that gullible and you want to convince equally gullible folks to your uneconomic views. You are part of the cadre bankrupting our country and your fellow citizens. You and your ‘free energy’ are the cause of high energy costs, low manufacturing output, a worsening unemployment rate, and impoverished families.
    MtK

  68. Before you get any deeper into invective, and ad hominem, perhaps you should go back and look at that link explaining “levelized costs of energy,” again.

  69. It’s pretty simple. Wind power and PV solar have contributed to the increases in energy costs. It is intellectually dishonest to say that they are lower cost than coal, gas or nuclear. Now, some people may believe it… but then those people just don’t really know how to do research. Instead they look for answers they want to find… and become useful idiots. Let’s face it, if they were really competitive, they would not need Feed in Tarrifs, government subsidies (really tax payer money) and special tax status. In CA, we have a requirement for 30% renewables by 2020 (I think those are the correct figures.) Anyway, since the utilities are forced to buy renewables, PVsolar farms will be selling their electricity to the grid at 30 to 36cents per kWh. Coal and gas can sell to the grid for less than 5cents per kWh. So even with the subsidies, the rate payers get screwed… because we are stupid asses for voting on this stuff.

  70. No they won’t; the last solar was bid in at $0.09/kwhr. Also, the utility with the lowest rates in L.A. is the one with the highest percentage of renewables in their power mix.

    You call “just making stuff up,” research?

  71. Re: Kum Dollison says:
    August 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    “No they won’t; the last solar was bid in at $0.09/kwhr.”

    Nine cent solar power is net of obscene federal and state subsidies to the tune of 31-cents per Kwh. One way or another, taxpayers and consumers pay 40-cents. In the U.S., we disguise those subsidies in the form of obscene tax credits and accelerated depreciation to builders and investors, which have the effect of subsidizing through abandonment of otherwise collectable tax revenues. The consuming and tax-paying public public will pay that freight for that power, come hell or high water. At least Europe has had the decency to subsidize at the plant fence revenue stream for all to see.

  72. I think if you’re looking for ‘just making stuff up’, this line fits the bill rather well:

    “Usually, if the wind isn’t blowing, the sun is shining (and, vice versa.)”

    Yeah, no.

    The reason wind energy is given away for nothing or almost nothing is the same reason that hotels sell rooms at or below cost – when you have excessive supply and insufficient demand the price drops. It’s quite bizarre that someone would see this as an example of how good an industry is.

    If I had a Halloween widgets company that produced it’s entire inventory in the first week of November, and sold each widget at 1c, it wouldn’t be an indictment of the success of my company. It would be a warning that my business model is hopelessly broken if I dump all my supply onto the market at the precise point of lowest demand.

    Wind shill is obvious wind shill.

    This argument is easily negated by the shill producing one single wind energy company that operates at a profit without any type of subsidy either at the producer or consumer side. As there is none, we can assume it’s a losing proposition as an industry, and only propped up with taxpayer money for vanity purposes.

  73. Two days ago the total UK wind output was 55 Mw, which is essentially zero. These zero output days occur quite a few times each year.
    Days with outputs less than 200 Mw occur quite regularly.
    This is complete nonsense. And yet the UK government is squandering a billion pounds every year on this nonsense. Do these morons never look at the data?
    Chris

  74. As a Swede I must say, that “Drakvag” writes pure bullshit. Swedish windpowerlessnessplants are extremely unreliable, expensive and totally rely on subsidies coming from idiot taxes on the reliable powerplants (Nuclear and hydro).

  75. @Mario Lento: If you look at just developed Nations, then Sweden pays pretty much the highest cost for electricity in the world. You pay on avergae 28cents per KW. The only countries with higher cost also use wind and solar for a large part of their energy costs.

    Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark are one common market with good connectivity between them. Especially Sweden, Norway and Finland have one of the lowest electricity costs in the world. For example, our household (living in Finland) pays around 9 cents per KW. We have direct electric heating.

    Low electricity cost is due to nuclear plants in Sweden and Finland and hydro power plants in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Denmark has the highest electricity cost of these four countries due to high dependency of wind power. When the wind blows well, they sell excess electricity to other Norduc countries and Germany. When it doesnt, they buy thatever they can from nordic grid.

  76. Heh, he makes it up in volume. Meanwhile, old folks freeze and children starve.
    =====================

  77. Gail Combs says:
    August 6, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    … It takes days to drive from one side to the other despite our highway system. Heck I have to drive 2-3 hrs just to get out of my state!

    Yeah, I used to have a car like that … :-) (sorry — I couldn’t resist).

    You’re absolutely right that by far the best use of wind is to lift water into a pumped hydro resevoir. So if you have hydro locations with good wind conditions, go for it. Might as well kill both birds and fish at one location.

  78. Kum Dollison says:
    August 6, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Usually, if the wind isn’t blowing, the sun is shining (and, vice versa.) Also, look at California; they get solar from Arizona, and wind from Washinton. Also, Hydro from Washington/Oregon, and Nevada. They will soon be getting Wind from Wyoming, and Solar from Nevada.

    Then, there’s the 900 MW of Geothermal. They’re building Wave/Tidal in N. California. You stitch it all together using advanced computer software programs. Need I go on?

    So I guess the theory is if we gang enough unreliable power sources together then on average we’ll have enough power?

    You’ve listed geothermal, wind, tidal and solar. We’ve already discussed wind and solar — intermittent and unreliable, and also very much tied to favorable locations. Tidal is also location specific — won’t help Montana for example. Most places have approximately two tides per day so there are four slack periods when a tidal facility will produce no power at all. Tides are governed by the lunar cycle which does not line up with the solar day by which most human activities are scheduled. There will be times when the maximum tidal production will conincide with the maximum demand and times when it will coincide with the minimum demand. I’m not familair with geothermal to comment intelligently, except that like the others high output is very much location dependent.

    We’ve built an electrical system that is governed by the demand side, and utilities alter the supply accordingly using a mixture of constant baseload sources and quickly variable peaking load sources. What we will end up with if we follow the demand for “renewable” energy with these technologies is a grid controlled by the supply side: you run your business, home, etc based on the power we happen to have available at the moment. This is where we are heading with the much vaunted “smart grid” — the ability to control demand to meet the supply.

    We will become energy nomads — migrating from activity to activity based on power available. No power; time to sleep (everything is shut off automatically). Lots of power; rush off to your shift at the factory or office and work as long as conditions permit. Run a Google search on “US energy grid before renewable mandates” and you might get back “not enough power to run search at this time; please try again later”. Instead of a clock regulating our day we will have a power display telling us how much energy is available and our activities will be determined accordingly. Flip a switch and you might get room lights, or your energy optimizer might decide that powering the TV to show the latest speech by the head of the UN Energy Agency is more important.

  79. Kum Dollison says:
    August 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    yeppers, Wind Energy is so expensive that TXU Energy is giving it away for free from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM.

    Jes don’ know how we can afford it.
    ___________________________
    Typical socialist. If We STEAL the money to pay for it from someone else then it is “Free”
    So how is the “FREE” wind energy actually paid for? (We know a Corporation ain’t giving anything away for free.)

    In 2006 for wind
    Federal Taxpayer Subsidies: $457,924,289 (11.6% of total spending)
    Total Energy U.S. Consumer Spending: $3,502,105,629

    Lets look at the other forms of Energy and the % paid by federal tax payers.
    Oil and Gas – – – – – – – – – – 0.5%
    Coal – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 6.9%
    Nuclear – – – – – – – – – – – – 20.9%
    Hydroelectric power – – – – 0.5%

    Ethanol – – – – – – – – – – – – – 26.5%
    Biodiesel – – – – – – – – – – – – – -9.9%
    Biomass – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 0.4%
    Subtotal – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 36.8% (Plants > fuel)

    Wind – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 11.6%
    Solar – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 12.3%
    Geothermal – – – – – – – – – – – – – 0.5%

    How about the state of Texas?
    Oil and Gas – – – – $1,417,434,337 – – – 1.5%
    Biodiesel – – – – – – – – $2,107,420 – – – 3.1%
    Wind – – – – – – – – – – – $1,508,800 – – – 0.2%
    Solar – – – – – – – – – – – $2,574,101 – – – 9.2%
    Coal NONE
    Nuclear NONE
    Ethanol NONE
    SOURCE

  80. I’m pretty overwhelmed by all the negative feelings against wind energy but I have to admit my eyes are opened a little bit. I don’t think that I realized the costs were so much more compared to normal gas plants to produce the same amount from wind turbine production. There are a lot of really good debates here! I actually found this article search for more information on the Colorado 57% peak of wind energy production breaking a record. Instead what I’ve found is a sub-community that is very anti-wind, thanks for opening my eyes. Where have you all been hiding!? :P

    • Joel:
      Did you also read the part of the article that said the 57% was only in the early morning when few people were using electricity and that it dropped to 17% when people started actually using electricity? Statistics can make really great headlines but the reality behind them is not so great. If we could train people and business to operate only at high wind times, there might be value. But I don’t think people are going to shop the mall at 4 AM because the wind is blowing. The reason wind is a problem is it is available only on its schedule, among all the other shortcomings noted here.

  81. A retired insurance man, now there is someone to listen to on technical issues, or anything else as far as that is concerned. I guess it is still better than a lawyer or realtor. But then we are dealing with cilmate issues, so what the heck. Even a banker might be preferred to some of the climate scientists.

    [REPLY: Jim, is there any other group that you have left off your list? You would be surprised at how many WUWT readers and commenters are bankers and lawyers and who do indeed have something to contribute. Your comment is a really good example of an ad hominem attack. De-construct the argument please. This is WUWT, the best science blog on the net, and we are not like many of those other sites, or the refugee commenters from those places who occasionally turn up, demanding to see resumes before they'll condescend to discuss the science. Please don't do that. -REP]

  82. I am currently involved in a battle to prevent the destruction of the last remaining unspoilt moorland in Cornwall by the installation of 15, 3mwe turbines, each standing over 400 feet high to the flail tip. This is not much of an area but it is our quiet place where we can walk and talk and watch the kestrels, view the murmurations of starlings. It is a designated “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”, one designation below a National Park. The USA has vast areas of unspoilt land (I have driven I 40 from Barstow eastward) but we have these tiny pockets of tranquility in England which are being progressively destroyed by the Carpetbaggers supported by the useful idiots in the greeny brigade. We have Companies prepared to throw millions at the Council to buy their planning permission because of the massive subsidies that these windflails will reap for them. We have a few home printers and an ability to write letters. This kind of posting and the comments are excellent for us as it brings together many of the references that we can use. Even the comments of Kum Dollison are useful as it shows the kind of strange twisted logic that the windys employ.

    Ivor Ward
    Stop Davidstow Windfarm

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/161071526559/?bookmark_t=group

  83. Disko Troop,

    You make clear the stark distinction between ‘environmentalists’, who are simply big government NGO/QUANGO types with a far-Left agenda, and true conservationists, who work for conservation of nature [such as the conservation group Ducks Unlimited]. As Ronald Reagan said, conservatives are true conservationists. It is in our blood.

  84. Smokey says:
    August 7, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Disko Troop,

    You make clear the stark distinction between ‘environmentalists…
    ______________________
    Actually it is not nearly that cut and dried. There are a lot of my friends on the left who are ‘conservationists’ (much better term) and are not swallowing the koolaid in huge gulps. There are also a lot of conservatives as you said. However both groups have large numbers of the wilfully blind.

    I prefer the groupings:
    The Regulating Class The funders of Astroturf aka NGOs.

    The ‘Innocents’ Clubs The blind rank and file followers who join the Astroturf organizations thinking they are something entirely different than what they really are.

    Those who realize: You are a slave

    That is why we here at WUWT should not play into the hands of the ‘Puppet Masters’ and divide ourselves and fight ourselves at their direction. The main purpose of the MSM aside from reporting propaganda is to keep the “Left” and the “Right” rank and file fighting. Actually they elite will use what ever comes to had for controlling people. Right now it is their brand of ‘Socialism’ before that was ‘conservatives’ and the MSM rally cry rah rah the USA, lets fight a war.

  85. Mario Lento says:
    August 6, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    It’s pretty simple. Wind power and PV solar have contributed to the increases in energy costs. It is intellectually dishonest to say that they are lower cost than coal, gas or nuclear.

    Actually, it’s quite honest to say X source of energy is ‘cheaper’ in X set of circumstances.
    The intellectual dishonesty appears with the ‘X’ circumstance gets dropped.

    I.E. Wind can be a ‘hydro resource stretcher’ in those areas with substantial hydro. If you add too much wind then you end up either dumping your hydro or dumping your wind…either way you are throwing money away.

    Even when gas cost more then twice as much as coal in the US…burning gas for ‘peak load’ was cheaper then building a coal fired plant that would only be used for ‘seasonal peaking’.

    There are no ‘always better’ or ‘always worse’ energy technologies. There are only technologies that can be implemented ‘cost effectively’ in a ‘specific set of circumstances’. That holds true for coal, oil, natural gas, wind, solar and nuclear.

    • @MAK; You cannot look at the price you pay always. The Dutch subsidize the wind energy at about 18cents per kWh… so people may pay less, but taxpayers can not afford the subsidies on the other side. The truth is that wind power is much more costly. Wind power would make sense where there is no grid and you need localized power, albeit at a high cost.

  86. To:REP

    I was, at one time, a banker and a real estate/aquisition/developer, so should have put the”humor” tag so often used on this site though I WAS taking a shot at the retired real estate gentleman with all the eroneous info on wind economics. Sorry, but since I have no problem laughing at myself I always forget that others many times fail to see the humor in their own situation. Was only really taking a shot at the realtor, of which I once was one, but thought I’d spice it up a bit. And yes, there are plenty of other groups but I shall refrain. I would also note that there are some posters on this site who regularly call others intelligence into question when they simply disagree with them, and do it in a much more derogatory and demeaning manner than my litle quip. So, please use your same criteria when dealing with some of those, even if they are in that group of highly thought of scientists on this site.

    [REPLY: Thank you for the clarification. It is often better to use the /SARC tag since it seems to be getting harder and harder to tell satire from sincere invective. At the same time, your comment did give me an opportunity to ask commenters to engage substantively. Perhaps I could make such requests more often, but sometimes it feels like SSATT and the only result is carpal tunnel. On the other hand, I am often impressed with our commenters and appreciate their contributions. -REP]

  87. What is a “hydro resource stretcher”? Seems to me that this is using two renewable resources at a much higher cost than one resource. I do agree that technologies should be used where they are actually cost effective, including long term costs. Wind and solar are very expensive due to maintenance and the need for backup power, while nuclear is very expensive due to regulations and building costs. We need to carefully consider what works, especially what works 24 hours a day at a moment’s notice. Climate change rhetoric adds to all the costs.

    • @Reality check: Good points! Truth is truth… PV solar and wind will have their place when we run out of fossil fuels in a few hundred years… and well before then, innovation will make them work. We cannot successfully base energy policy on lies and deception. I wonder why the left always wants there to be crisis when there is not one! AGW is for useful idiots… and they have gone far believing in the altruistic cause… even though AGW is pure nonsense.

  88. Joel Mackey says:
    August 7, 2012 at 7:20 am

    I’m pretty overwhelmed by all the negative feelings against wind energy but I have to admit my eyes are opened a little bit. I don’t think that I realized the costs were so much more compared to normal gas plants to produce the same amount from wind turbine production. There are a lot of really good debates here! I actually found this article search for more information on the Colorado 57% peak of wind energy production breaking a record. Instead what I’ve found is a sub-community that is very anti-wind, thanks for opening my eyes. Where have you all been hiding!? :P

    I’m not “anti-wind”; I just don’t see it as a viable large-scale energy source. The fundamental problem is it is unreliable and low density; all the technology in the world can’t make the wind blow stronger or more often. It takes a lot of land to support a 2 MW (nameplate) wind turbine, many times more than gas, coal or nuclear. We need to develop higher density energy sources to support increasing populations with reliable power without consuming the entire landsacpe. Wind is moving in the wrong direction. Accepting as given that we simply have to make do with less is abandoning the possibility of further progress.

    Call it faith if you will, but to me the undeniable lesson from the industrial age is each new generation can somehow find solutions to problems the previous generation could not imagine. I believe the well of human creativity is not dry and the limitations we currently perceive on our ability to expand power production to support a better life for more people on this planet can all be overcome.

  89. Reality check says:
    August 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    …. We need to carefully consider what works, especially what works 24 hours a day at a moment’s notice. Climate change rhetoric adds to all the costs….
    ________________________
    You forgot to add the Astroturf “protestors” such as those paid $10/hr to protest th Seabrook Nuclear plant costing rate payers massive cost over runs.

    U.S.PIRG: Jobs & Opportunities

    This is a funny utube I ran across on the subject of paid astroturf protestors by CAL:PIRG [CAUTION: Very Politically Uncorrect]

  90. The necessary investment for this Wind scenario would amount to about £124 billion. The same electricity demand could be met from 21.5 GW of combined cycle gas plants with a capital cost of £13 billion – the latter option is cheaper by an order of magnitude.

    Yes the cost of proposed off shore wind in the UK deserves scrutiny and criticism. But c’mon, that does not at the same time grant natural gas proposals leave to happy talk. That cost of that 21 GW fleet of gas power plants does end after the capital is spent! Gas in the UK is not cheap, as they pay nearly three times what the US pays, almost $8/mmbtu wholesale. Running 21 GWe of gas power CC 24/7 would likely burn 1.2 billion mmbtu per year, or another £6-7 billion in gas costs every year, IF the price of gas holds in Europe.

  91. richardscourtney says:
    August 7, 2012 at 11:54 am
    Thank you for the link Richard. Much appreciated.

    Gail Combs says:
    August 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm
    I too hate labels. If I were to be labelled, it would be as both environmentalist and conservationist having helped form a local preservation society in the 70’s and “done my bit” with the tiny car, the wood burning stove from coppiced wood, the compost bins, recycling and all the other little measures to stop pollution. What infuriates me is that until this CAGW scam came along the human race was making good progress towards a better environment for all with some good use of legislation to reign in the bad boys and some good education to show people what they could do to help if they wanted; now all the money is being thrown into subsidies for these wind follies and there is nothing left to pay for genuine improvements to our way of life. Instead of getting together with black bin bags and picking up rubbish they are camping outside St Pauls occupying something. The stupidity of it all burns into my soul.

    Ivor Ward

  92. Cold Fusion or LENR has been discovered by Fleishmann and Pons at the university of Utah back in 1989.
    Plasma physicists have sabotaged the discovery.
    In Italy they continued to do the research and Rossi found that instead of Paladium and Deuterium one could use Nickel and Hydrogen Now the US Navy is already using his e-cats. See http://www.e-catworld.com/
    US media continue to ignore the revolution.
    Corporate US has this week a conference in Austin, the world conference on cold fusion is in two weeks in Korea and in the beginning of September, e-cats are the subject of a convention in Zurich.
    Windmills were never efficient and now with LENR are going to become completely obsolete.

  93. E-cat returns. I’m surprised it took so long to make this blog. Humans are just hardwired to believe in fairy tales, I guess. However, as noted in my own writings, the US government bought into the fantasy about “free wind and solar” so I suppose a lot of internet readers buying into cold fusion and conspiracy theories is not surprising. No mention of the Tesla machine I have gotten hundreds of emails about. Is there anyone out there that does not believe the holy grail has been found by “group X” and then stolen by “group Y” under nefarious circumstances. I am not being sarcastic here–I sincerely want to know if everyone believes there’s a huge conspiracy to hide water cars and cold fusion, etc. It seems every blog I read eventually has comments along that line.

  94. Two things to say….

    It’s pointless to compare the cost of wind energy to gas, coal, nuclear etc because it’s a comparison of apples to oranges. If I want to take a guaranteed delivery of 500 MW for say 24 straight hours say next Tuesday morning at 7 am, then no one who generates power via solar or wind could bid on that contract. If a wind generator did want to bid on that contract, they would have to team up with a full capacity gas generator…hence a more realistic apples to apples comparison of sources who can actually deliver the goods. Since natural gas would appear to be the ‘supplement of choice’ for those geographical locations considering wind, the proper comparison would be to take wind as supplemented by open loop gas (say 40% peak efficiency) against combined cycle gas (say 60% peak efficiency). Why the lower efficiency gas teamed with wind? It’s because wind fluctuates so quickly that the much higher efficiency combined cycle gas can’t be used. And what one quickly finds out is that if the full comparison was made of the tandem of wind and open loop gas against combined cycle gas, just about the same amount of gas is used for an equivalent amount of delivered electrical power and energy . This makes the wind component absolutely useless as a power source. The document from Professor Hughes or the information on MasterResource by Kent Hawkins is very interesting to read in this regard.

    The second thing is that all the constant fluctuations associated with wind are hard on power plant operations and a system that has to accommodate them will have far more maintenance and reliability issues to deal with. Think about what causes fatigue.

    All in all, wind is an absolute loser.

  95. Well I never. Today The (Glasgow) Herald covered this.
    I wonder if now they will cover the rebuttal of Dr. Hansens paper. I’ve sent them a copy to see what happens.

  96. Very interesting post. I do agree with you that wind energy is extraordinarily expensive and inefficient. Thanks Anthony

  97. The primary problem I have with a report like this, even though exposing the inadequacy of wind-power, the GWPF statement seems to perpetuate the myth that the reduction of CO2 emissions is an urgent necessity even though the average global temperature increase since 1880 has been about 0.8 degrees C and it is not at all clear that the 41% increase of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, presumably caused by man, is responsible for all that increase.

    Of course, I suspect that many are afraid that we have had a global warming effect on the order of 8 degrees F in order to be responsible for the recent ‘unprecedented’ heatwave and the melting of ‘all’ the ice in Greenland.

  98. Reality check says:
    August 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm
    “E-cat returns. I’m surprised it took so long to make this blog. Humans are just hardwired to believe in fairy tales, I guess. However, as noted in my own writings, the US government bought into the fantasy about “free wind and solar” so I suppose a lot of internet readers buying into cold fusion and conspiracy theories is not surprising.”

    It has nothing to do with conspiracy. Your false analogy sounds like the warmists equating climate skepticism with believing that the Earth is flat.

    Watch this and explain to me how these guys got everything they did wrong, I dare ya.

    The SPAWAR guys:
    Frank E Gordon
    Twenty-Year History of Lattice-Enabled Nuclear Reactions (LENR) – Hiding in Plain Sight

  99. Wuwt: I don’t know if this is acceptable practice but I am trying to solicit Richards help in combating another wind farm. Please delete if it is not and accept my apologies. Ivor Ward.

    richardscourtney says:
    August 7, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Disko Troop:

    I, too, live in Cornwall.

    I think you may be interested in an Annual Prestigious Lecture I provided in 2006. It can be read at e.g.

    http://www.mininginstitute.org.uk/papers/courtney.html

    Please let me know if I can help.

    Richard

    ————————-

    Richard, would you mind contacting us at

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/161071526559/10150967369146560/?comment_id=10150967412146560&notif_t=group_comment

    Ivor Ward

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