November 1, 2006

Stretching and ignoring the facts about wind power

Glenn Schleede has written a new paper about industrial wind energy, mostly looking at the economics: "Stretching or Ignoring Facts and Making Unwarranted Assumptions When Attempting to Justify Wind Energy." It can be downloaded from the National Wind Watch Resource Library. Here is the outline of section D, which concisely lists the issues to be weighed.

D. Facts about wind energy that are often ignored by federal, state and local officials when considering wind energy policies or facilities
 1. Electricity produced by wind turbines is lower in quality and value than electricity produced from reliable generating units.
 2. Building wind turbines will not replace the need for building reliable, dispatchable generating capacity.
 3. Published information on the cost of electricity from wind per kWh generally is not valid or reliable.
 4. True costs of electricity from wind are much higher than often admitted because important elements of cost are ignored.
  a. Federal and state tax breaks for wind energy are part of the true cost of electricity from wind.
   1) Two very generous tax breaks are available from the federal government.
    • The wind production tax credit (PTC) of $0.019 per kWh for electricity produced during the first ten years of a wind facility's operation.
    • The ability to deduct the entire capital cost of a "wind farm" from taxable using 5-year double declining balance accelerated depreciation.
   2) "Wind farms" enjoy other tax breaks from the state.
   3) Other subsidies are also a part of the true cost but are hidden in either tax or monthly electric bills.
  b. The intermittent, volatile and unreliability of electricity from wind turbines also adds to the true cost of that electricity.
  c. Adding transmission capacity to serve "wind farms" adds to customer costs.
 5. Local economic benefits of "wind farms" are generally exaggerated.
 6. Environmental benefits of wind energy are typically overstated.
 7. Wind energy advocates try to ignore adverse environmental, ecological, scenic and property value impacts of "wind farms."

wind power, wind energy