Friday, January 11, 2013

Wind Turbines Overrated: More Danger than Help

Big wind turbines do not produce nearly the power that is claimed, do not last nearly as long as projected, and generate far higher lifetime costs than is acknowledged by their big money promoters and politically-connected investors.
The implementation of at least 20% wind energy will have major impacts on the US electric power system and will require trillions of dollars.

However, it appears the capacity factors of wind energy projects are much less than estimated by project developers. As a result, the capital costs and environmental impacts of implementation would be much greater, because a greater capacity of wind turbines and transmission systems would be required to generate the same quantity of energy.

Recent studies of IWT useful service lives in Denmark and the UK indicate these lives are about 15 - 20 years, say 17 years, instead of the 25 years typically used by IWT project developers to obtain bank financing, federal and state subsidies and "Certificate of Public Good" approvals. Instead of 2 replacements in 2 x 25 = 50 years, there will be 3 replacements in 3 x 17 = 51 years, i.e. a 50% greater replacement rate.

As the above US IWT build-out proceeds, almost all of the existing 52,000 MW of IWTs will need to be replaced during 2012 - 2029, plus the new IWTs built during 2012 - 2029 will need to be replaced during 2029 - 2046, etc.

The increased capital cost of IWT build-outs and replacements and the impact of the lesser CFs will greatly add to the US levelized cost of energy.

Unless other developed nations handicap themselves in the same manner (which appears increasingly less likely, based on COP-18 in Dohu, Qatar, in 2012), the US will be at an even greater economic disadvantage than at present. _Willem Post
Germany plans to increase its dependence on the intermittent unreliables to 40% by 2020 -- a mind-bending leap into the great energy and economic unknown. But greens in California are poised to make exactly the same bad bet on the unreliables as Germany. Go figure.

10% dependency on big wind and/or big solar is pushing it. Anything more than 10% is a recipe for disaster.

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