Stick this in your wind power pipe and smoke it.

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Wind power is a complete disaster
by Michael J. Trebilcock -- April 09, 2009
There is no evidence that industrial wind power is likely to have a significant impact on carbon emissions. The European experience is instructive. Denmark, the world's most wind-intensive nation, with more than 6,000 turbines generating 19% of its electricity, has yet to close a single fossil-fuel plant. It requires 50% more coal- generated electricity to cover wind power's unpredictability, and pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen (by 36% in 2006 alone).
Flemming Nissen, the head of development at West Danish generating company ELSAM (one of Denmark's largest energy utilities) tells us that "wind turbines do not reduce carbon dioxide emissions." The German experience is no different. Der Spiegel reports that "Germany's CO2 emissions haven't been reduced by even a single gram," and additional coal-and gas-fired plants have been constructed to ensure reliable delivery.
Indeed, recent academic research shows that wind power may actually increase greenhouse gas emissions in some cases, depending on the carbon- intensity of back-up generation required because of its intermittent character. On the negative side of the environmental ledger are adverse impacts of industrial wind turbines on birdlife and other forms of wildlife, farm animals, wetlands and viewsheds.
Industrial wind power is not a viable economic alternative to other energy conservation options. Again, the Danish experience is instructive. Its electricity generation costs are the highest in Europe (15’/kwh compared to Ontario's current rate of about 6’). Niels Gram of the Danish Federation of Industries says, "windmills are a mistake and economically make no sense." Aase Madsen , the Chair of Energy Policy in the Danish Parliament, calls it "a terribly expensive disaster."
The U.S. Energy Info. Admin. reported in 2008, on a dollar per MWh basis, the U.S. government subsidizes wind at $23.34 -- compared to reliable energy sources: natural gas at 25’; coal at 44’; hydro at 67’; and nuclear at $1.59, leading to what some U.S. commentators call "a huge corporate welfare feeding frenzy." The Wall Street Journal advises that "wind generation is the prime example of what can go wrong when the government decides to pick winners."
The Economist magazine notes in a recent editorial, "Wasting Money on Climate Change," that each tonne of emissions avoided due to subsidies to renewable energy such as wind power would cost somewhere between $69 & $137, whereas under a cap-and-trade scheme the price would be less than $15.
Either a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system creates incentives for consumers and producers on a myriad of margins to reduce energy use and emissions that, as these numbers show, completely overwhelm subsidies to renewables in terms of cost effectiveness.
The Ontario Power Authority advises that wind producers will be paid 13.5’/ kwh (more than twice what consumers are currently paying), even without accounting for the additional costs of interconnection, transmission & backup generation. As the European experience confirms, this will inevitably lead to a dramatic increase in electricity costs with consequent detrimental effects on business and employment. From this perspective, the government's promise of 55,000 new jobs is a cruel delusion.
A recent detailed analysis (focusing mainly on Spain) finds that for every job created by state- funded support of renewables, particularly wind energy, 2.2 jobs are lost. Each wind industry job created cost almost $2-million in subsidies. Why will the Ontario experience be different?
In debates over climate change, and in particular subsidies to renewable energy, there are two kinds of green. First there are some environmental greens who view the problem as so urgent that all measures that may have some impact on greenhouse gas emissions, whatever their cost or their impact on the economy and employment, should be undertaken immediately.
Then there are the fiscal greens, who, being cool to carbon taxes and cap-and-trade systems that make polluters pay, favour massive public subsidies to themselves for renewable energy projects, whatever their relative impact on greenhouse gas emissions. These two groups are motivated by different kinds of green. The only point of convergence between them is their support for massive subsidies to renewable energy (such as wind turbines).
This unholy alliance of these two kinds of greens (doomsdayers & rent seekers) makes for very effective, if opportunistic, politics (as reflected in the Ontario government's Green Energy Act), just as it makes for lousy public policy: Politicians attempt to pick winners at our expense in a fast-moving technological landscape, instead of creating a socially efficient set of incentives to which we can all respond.
-Michael J. Trebilcock is Professor of Law and Economics, University of Toronto. These comments were excerpted from a submission last night to the Ontario government's legislative committee On Bill 150. . . --
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Sounds like a plot for an Al Gore movie
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While I'm skeptical as to how viable wind is for our energy solution, I'm also skeptical about the facts stated in this piece. How exactly could pollution and CO2 emissions have risen in Denmark by 36% in 2006? That rate would be staggering. And what exactly is the baseline that gives the 50% more coal generated electricity being needed due to wind power's unpredictability? Obviously you need capacity there to back up wind energy, because it's not always there. But it's only used and emitting CO2 part of the time, when the wind is not blowing and if you had no wind energy at all, you'd need the coal capacity anyway and it would be running more often.
Unfortunately, this piece is long on opinion, but very sparse on actual data.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote: ...

...
I've not looked for Denmark so can't say specifically.
I'll comment only on the backup generation portion -- coal-fired plants are not at all suited for other than baseload generation. You can't simply turn one off and on in a short period of time--it takes on the order of a day or two to re-fire a cold boiler and bring it back online owing to the materials limitations on temperature transients and other practicalities. At best one could run them at a somewhat lower thermal output but most will be far less efficient at any power level very far away from the design output so the effective gain would be much smaller than the ratio of generated power.
Observation of large-scale wind farm in a very favorable area here in the US high plains region from the generation data reported to the EIA shows an average annual capacity factor of roughly 40% over eight year period. That corresponds roughly to the 50% extra capacity as compared to the installed wind generation above on average which would be how I would interpret what was intended.
It is, however, a poorly written piece, granted.
I'll again agree there's a place for wind/solar/etc., but it isn't the replacement panacea for the full grid the most fervid proponents would seem to think it can be simply by building more wind turbines.
--
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I agree that other choices are better suited and already used to manage load like this, eg NG. Which makes it all the more curious that the piece references coal being used.
But now that you've got me thinking, in the case of coal, can't anticipated winds be forecasted with enough accuracy enough of the time so that you do have a day or two notice and coal could be used as part of the solution? Around here the wind forecasts are usually one of the more accurate parts of the weather forecast. Also, one would think with some thought it might be possible to build new coal plants that could be refired faster.
At best one could run them at a somewhat lower thermal

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote: ...

While true, the widespread use of NG for firing central-station generation is one of the more stupid results of present energy and environmental policies. NG is _FAR_ more valuable as a resource for chemical feedstocks, home heating, etc., etc., and to waste it in such massive volumes for the present purposes is incredibly inane.

... Macro, maybe, micro, not so much. One can forecast high winds or general windy patterns w/ pretty good overall accuracy as far as weather forecasting, true. On the level of of dispatching load generation dynamically we don't have that level of forecasting nor the extent of measurements required where forecasts stop.
The problem comes in the minute timing and most critically in the periods when winds are relatively mild and perhaps variable. Even in the high plains notorious for wind, the wind doesn't blow all the time or from the same direction, hence the 40% numbers. There are months where over the eight years I've been following the data that the monthly average is only about 20% capacity factor averaged over the eight years. Those months are the midwinter and late summer periods when winds are the lightest.
As a single example, summer before last the TX panhandle had a near system-wide blackout during a 100+ F day while getting roughly 15% of grid from two large windfarms. An unforecasted weak wind shift line moved across from off the NM plateau and across the wind farms and dropped output to almost nothing in a little over 30-90 seconds. The utility barely managed to shed sufficient load and disconnect portions of their grid to be able to keep from losing the whole thing before reserves could be gotten up and load returned.
It's just not feasible to have the detail measurement and forecasting at such a level of detail required that will imo prevent much over 15% ever being wind until there's a practical large scale storage technology. (And, personally, I think there's as much likelihood of having fusion in the same time frame as that although that's only opinion, nothing more.)
Again, it can help, it can't really replace truly large fractions w/o adding significant other hidden costs.
--
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dpb wrote:

Well, in areas of plenty of water, and with natural places to set things up, you can always pump water uphill when the wind is blowing, and let it drive a turbine as it runs downhill when the wind isn't blowing. On a micro level, I have read about this being done with water towers and tanks, but it was only cost-effective in places so far from the grid that stringing a wire is out of the question. It'd probably cost a fortune to scale up.
-- aem sends....
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aemeijers wrote: ...

Yes, pumped storage has some application but those places not already tapped are few and far between and where there are possible dam sites which haven't been utilized it's unlikely you'll be allowed to build the dam anyway at this point.
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I have been interested in wind generation for quite a while and I always try to go get a look at the ones we are near on vacation. One constant is you always see them being feathered down and started back up if you watch them for a while. The only thing that makes sense is that they use the wind turbines to balance the grid while the fossil systems are running at maximum efficiency.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

That's one operational scenario, certainly. Generally here they use what they can get and use the d--d gas turbines for peaking control.
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The backup systems such as coal fired boilers cannot be shut down and then brought on line at a moments notice. They have to be running all the time at least to a minimum degree.
Wind power and other such schemes to produce power via wind and solar are strictly secondary means of generating reliable power by their very nature.
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On Sun, 12 Apr 2009 08:30:41 -0400, Van Chocstraw

     I might have missed it, but I did not read anything that would prove that the premise is true.
    For example it is likely there will remain a need for nearly as many non-wind power sources to remain since wind is not reliable enough to expect it to provide power 24 hours a day 365 days a year. But lets say it can provide 8 hours a day 175 days a year, that would end up being something like a 17% reduction in emissions.
    It is just too early in the game to foretell the winner. Most of the new technologies are not mature and will improve. Some will prove impractical and likely others will prove to the serious improvements. Only time will tell.
    The only thing that is sure is that there will be change.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote: ...

... Only if the remainder source is at least as efficient as that being replaced. As noted, most large-scale plants aren't nearly as efficient at, say, 80% output as they are at 100% so rating emissions on the basis of generator output alone is likely to far overestimate reductions. That is, the fractional output from 80 to 100% is at a much better thermal efficiency than from 80% below.
--
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Van Chocstraw wrote:

Basic anti wind propaganda.
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Indeed. That article shows up on The National Post web site - far from an objective source. Here's a snippet from one letter to the editor that they saw fit to promote: "Nothing would please me more to know that everything Al Gore told us was wrong. To know the earth isn't threatened by gas emissions and global warming is, indeed, wonderful... –Darie"
Yep. Global warming and melting ice caps are just _wonderful_! "Gee, honey! Look - we now have waterfront property!" "Ummm, dear...? What happened to the road?"
Sheesh.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

Al Gore is a blabbering Buffoon. As soon as he opens his mouth any educated person could see that. Global Warming my ass. Now California wants to pass a law that outlaws the making of BLACK CARS! In the name of Global Warming, IDIOTS!!!!
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-snip-

Yes indeed. . . IDIOTS!!!! http://www.newser.com/story/54637/no-rush-california-isnt-banning-black-cars.html
And you even mis-interpreted Rush's rant.
Jim
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

http://www.newser.com/story/54637/no-rush-california-isnt-banning-black-cars.html
believe me this was under serious consideration until the public outrage had had enough. I live in California and getting ready to leave this Liberal Pinko Industry hating State. Sounds like Rush helped. What a crock about the technology of paint and it's reflective properties doesnt exist yet. Sounds like more Government Spin to me.
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This reminds me of another situation. Many years ago the New York City government in order to reduce traffic went on a road and highway building binge. When they finally finished they realized that they had even more traffic. What happened was that when people saw all the roads they went out and bought more cars.
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Tony Hwang wrote: ...

...
_ALL_ electric power will _not_ come from wind power. There's nowhere on earth the wind blows steadily 24/7. There may be enough _installed_ capacity to theoretically provide that much power but there definitely will be other spinning reserve to make up the total grid.
Unfortunately, this mind set of "we're green" and ignoring the overall system outside some preset box is the norm not the exception.
If you can point to a complete electric grid that is solely wind and/or solar w/o conventional generation tie in, you'll have something to tout. 'Til then, it's just a sham.
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