March 31, 2009

More confessions: Wind is not an energy source

In a report prepared for NC WARN and released today, economist John Blackburn and attorney John Runkle state ("North Carolina’s Energy Future", footnotes to Tables 1-6):
Renewables are treated as a demand reduction rather than as capacity addition.
The authors' intention is to show that with modest efficiency improvements and expansion of renewables (primarily wind), Duke Energy and Progress Energy do not need to build any new coal or nuclear plants and can even retire existing ones.

Their calculations appear to ignore, however, that average wind generation values hide its highly variable and intermittent character. Utilities have to plan for the worst-case scenario, and with wind, that's about one-third of the time, when generation from wind is virtually nil.

It would actually be better for these authors' goals to leave the wind out. Because if wind is added, the utility has to add capacity to provide for the times when the wind is not producing (i.e., not reducing demand).

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism