June 22, 2006

Wind power found wanting

ABS Energy Research of London has recently published its 3rd "Wind Power Report." It costs £830, but the description gives one an idea of the main issue, namely, that the claimed benefits from wind power are not actually seen.

... Significant industry issues are emerging as operational data becomes available from the major wind power operators such as E.ON Netz, Eltra and ESB.

In 2003 the Irish government declared a moratorium on further wind power development. This opens many questions about the assumptions and claims made for wind power.

Key Findings

The wind power industry is reaching a highly controversial phase in its development as solid operational data becomes available about its performance, limitations and effects on the grid.

The ABS report concludes that governments, developers and operators should seriously consider their options regarding wind power.

Wind power reports have now been published by energy agencies and the network operators in USA, Germany, Spain, Denmark and Ireland, delineating critical problems. Deutsche EnergieAgentur (dena) has published a comprehensive report on German wind power on behalf of the Federal Government, together with the utility and wind and industries.

The dena report assessed the capacity credit of wind power in Germany in 2003 as 890-1,230 MW, i.e. 6% of installed wind capacity of 14,603 MW, rising to 1,820-2,300 MW for 36,000 MW installed in 2015, with a reserve capacity requirement of 7,000 MW.

The claimed savings in GHG emissions has been questioned.

Denmark exported over 80% of wind generated electricity to Norway in 2004, which has 98.5% carbon-free hydro generation, because wind delivered a surplus of 84%, according to the CEO of Eltra, almost nullifying any emissions savings.

Wind's intermittency places a large strain on system balance.

A new understanding is emerging about the relative efficiencies and emissions of base load operation of fossil fuel plant versus plant used in back up of a variable source.

Wind power has been promoted for politico/environmental reasons and wind developers have benefited from substantial subsidies, leading to exaggerated claims. A reality check is needed.

Reasons to Buy

With the first real evidence of performance from some of the most authoritative sources in the power industry, the claims for wind power are being called into question.

Anyone involved in this industry should have this information and be aware of these results.

Be wary when the wind industry describes a criticism of wind power as a "myth."

Industry figures like the CEOs of E.ON Netz and Eltra do not deal in myths and solutions, they have real experience and more data than anyone else. They record what has actually happened.
You can save yourself a lot of money and read "The Low Benefit of Industrial Wind," which appears to contain much of the same information, for free.

wind power, wind energy