March 25, 2009

Vermont wind companies inflate emissions displacement by hundreds

First Wind/UPC:
"The Sheffield wind farm [40 MW] is projected to produce 115,000,000 kilowatt hours of electric energy annually [33% c.f.]. ... Based on data recently published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (U.S. EPA) Emissions and Generation Resource Integrated Database (E-GRID), traditional Upstate New York generation sources producing an equivalent annual amount of electric energy would emit Greenhouse Gases (GHG) consisting of nearly 52,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and 50 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx)."

Kingdom Community Wind Farm (Ira):
"A wind farm the size being evaluated [42 MW] holds the potential to meet the annual electrical needs of approximately 15,000 average Vermont households ... On average, the American Wind Energy Association has estimated that each megawatt of wind capacity displaces 1,800 tons of CO2 per year given the current mix of generation fuels, indicating that on average a 42 megawatt KCW facility would displace over 75,000 tons of CO2 per year."

It is notable that neither of these companies uses emissions figures from Vermont in describing the effect on emissions of their proposed Vermont wind energy facilities. Leaving aside for now the optimistic projection of production (the existing Searsburg facility has an output of only 21% of its capacity, not 33%), how much emissions are released by the generation of 115,000 MWh of electricity in Vermont?

According to the Energy Information Administration, U.S. Dept. of Energy, in its State Electricity Profiles 2006, Vermont releases 3 pounds of CO2 per MWh generated, 0.2 pound NOx, and no SO2.

So 115,000 MWh of electricity generated in Vermont releases 172.5 tons of CO2, 11.5 tons of NOx, and no SO2.

That's a lot less potential displacement than 52,000 or 75,000 tons of CO2. These companies are exaggerating the theoretic effect by 300 to 400 times!

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, Vermont