Wind power from hot air?

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    Wind power from hot air?

    AP reporter Jay Lindsay, who often writes from New Hampshire about energy topics in New England, recently tells that the Interior Department is preparing for offshore wind leases south of Martha's Vineyard. [ Interior Department seeks offshore wind developers near Massachusetts, Boston Globe, February 4, 2012, at www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/02/03/feds_seek_offshore_wind_developers_in_mass_area_1328315295/ ]

    A different part of the federal government--focused on energy industries--finds that offshore wind power is likely to cost about four times as much as power from combined-cycle natural gas-fired plants. Several of those have been built in Massachusetts over the past 15 years. They now supply over half our electricity. [ U.S. Energy Information Administration, Levelized cost of new generation resources, Annual Energy Outlook 2011, at http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/pdf/2016levelized_costs_aeo2011.pdf ]

     
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    Wind power, fed to mushrooms

    A new wind farm area offshore Massachusetts begins about 13 miles south of Martha's Vineyard and is about 1,300 square miles of ocean--enormously larger than the 24 square-mile Cape Wind lease on Nantucket Sound. Unreported by the Boston Globe so far is another Interior Department project for a huge wind farm area off New Jersey and the Delmarva peninsula: about 800 square miles, with environmental review already completed. [ Alan Kovski, Favorable environmental assessment boosts plans for offshore wind farms in Atlantic, Bloomberg News, February 3, 2012, at http://www.bna.com/favorable-environmental-assessment-n12884907619/ ]

    As has happened often in recent years, federal information is either grimly bureaucratic or insultingly stupid--something called a "Smart from the Start" program, actually sounding like just the opposite. Nowhere in torrents of tepid air will be found any serious review of economics: the largest obstacle to offshore wind power. [ Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, U.S. Department of the Interior, 2012, at http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy-Program/Smart-from-the-Start/Index.aspx ]

    Expectations for wind power to decrease fossil-fuel use, along with pollution and carbon dioxide, are based on ignorance. Power grids buffer intermittent sources with rapidly-variable, load-following generators. Those generators operate at low efficiencies, usually consuming large amounts of fuel and emitting large amounts of pollution and carbon dioxide for the energy they produce. [ Cornelis le Pair, Wind turbines increase fossil fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emission, Netherlands Technology Foundation, 2011, at http://www.clepair.net/windSchiphol.html ]

    In the U.S., environmental effects of wind power vary by region but always fall far short of promotional claims. [ Porter Bennett and Brannin McBee, How less became more, Bentek Energy, 2010, available at http://docs.wind-watch.org/BENTEK-How-Less-Became-More.pdf ] [ Robert Bryce, New study takes the wind out of wind energy, Forbes, July 19, 2011, at http://www.forbes.com/2011/07/19/wind-energy-carbon.html ]

    While we typically find dim bulbs in government offices, probably most of those empty suits don't know that with offshore wind power, if they were to succeed, they would fail. When added to modern power grids, wind power can increase overall fossil-fuel consumption, pollution, carbon dioxide emission and cost.

     
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    Re: Wind power from hot air?

    The problem with hot air in washington is that it so often falls flat. You can't spin turbines with that kinda hot air.
    All projects that lead to sources not derived from consumable energy are inherently worthwile given a 15 to 30 year lifespan with low maintienence cost. Or did you miss several serious price spikes recently in gas and oil and uranium. The netherlands tech report actually does not say the farms are not carbon efficient in the long term. Just for the purpose of their study. The study was focused on the need to have full power plants availible, not that they were actually producing power. They treated them as if they were due to an artificial constraint that there was no predictability as to the wind feild output. This is a false model as any sailor knows. While steady winds will not last forever they will last for significant periods and produce predictable enery yeilds for 6-12 hour windows of time. Modern gas plants and even many coal plants can use these slack times if the grid is properly modernised. The fraud in the study is the assumption that all providers will always be at the peak of restart capacity. As a rule in the US several plants actually coordinate stand down for maintinance already as they do in europe. Alternate sources simply allow more flexible standdown. This needs a critical capacity for true efficiency but it in practice works better than the false assumptions in the model given.
     
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    Practical barriers to "renewable energy"

    Electricity from renewable and low-pollution energy sources, averaged across the U.S., including connections to bulk transmission, was recently estimated by the U.S. government at levelized wholesale prices (for 2016) of $0.31 per kWh for solar thermal, $0.24 for offshore wind, $0.21 for photovoltaics, $0.14 for gasified coal with carbon dioxide sequestration (CDS), $0.11 for third-generation nuclear, $0.10 for onshore wind and geothermal, $0.09 for combined-cycle natural gas with CDS and $0.06 for conventional, combined-cycle natural gas. CCNG power-plants opened in the last 15 years now supply over half of Massachusetts electricity at low pollution and pricing. [ U.S. Energy Information Administration, Levelized cost of new generation resources, Annual Energy Outlook 2011, at http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/pdf/2016levelized_costs_aeo2011.pdf ]

    Although Denmark has wind power capacity to supply about 20 percent of its needs, on average it is able to transmit inside the country only enough to supply about 12 percent. The rest is shipped to other countries and sold at bulk rates, while Denmark pays subsidies based on full costs. Denmark has assistance from big hydropower sources nearby in Norway and Sweden, willing to throttle turbines to help Denmark cope. Lacking such an advantage, Spain has been able to supply only about 8 percent of its electricity from wind and solar power. [ Nicolas Boccard, Capacity factor of wind power: realized values vs. estimates, Energy Policy 37:2679-2688, 2009, found at http://www.rocks.org.hk/activity2009/Capacity_factor%5B1%5D.pdf ]

    Denmark and Spain provide practical evidence that wind and solar power can supply only small fractions of electricity demand through modern power grids. Wind and solar power cannot be dispatched to meet demands without enormously expensive energy storage. For systems with business and residential customers but no bulk electricity users, the potential of "smart grid" controls is also quite small. They could be effective only at punishing costs. Both government and private promoters of offshore wind power would like people to think they can work magic, but so far the promoters could be called, most charitably, windbags.

     

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