March 30, 2009

Pickens: "I don't want to replace natural gas with wind"

From "Confessions of energy legends: wind power technically, economically inefficient -- can't really replace natural gas in electricity sector" by Tom Stacy, reporting on a "town meeting" in Ohio:
When asked what electricity generation fuel they envisioned for load balancing once the NG has been diverted to the transportation sector (a pillar of the Pickens Plan), Boone responded: "I don't want to replace natural gas with wind ... I would say that you use natural gas for power generation and a transportation fuel ... natural gas will last for 20 to 65 years. Then you're going to have to get on the battery." Not a positive word for wind.

The follow-up comment from AEP's [American Electric Power] Michael Morris was even more damning for the fading fame of the towering turbine: "Today wind is electrically inefficient and economically inefficient but it won't always be. We'll crack that equation -- Thank you."
Important confessions by two of the biggest promoters of wind energy: The Pickens Plan will not free up any natural gas for transportation; and wind is not ready to play a part in our energy supply.

Wind is a stalking horse -- for what? For Pickens, it's obvious: expanded consumption of natural gas. For AEP, it's probably to expand and upgrade transmission. (And with all that new very expensive transmission in place, most of the time being embarrassingly underutilized by wind, they'll just have to build a new nuclear or coal plant on it to make it pay.)

A final note -- even with efficient and economically and environmentally feasible storage, wind remains a diffuse resource. The fact remains that it requires huge machines over huge areas to collect a significant amount of it. Even if it were to work some day far in the future, it would remain an economic and environmental fiasco.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism