Wind Energy Distortions

People deserve to know the truth when it comes to the cost of wind energy.

Would you believe that the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, made up of 23 governors, would distort the facts?

Would you believe that the Energy Information Administration (EIA) would distort the facts?

Here is a chart used by the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition showing the cost of wind energy compared with the cost of electricity generated from coal, etc. This was used to educate Congress on the value of wind energy. The headline is misleading, at best.

 

Cost Chart with Distorted Wind Cost

It’s necessary to go to the fine print to see that they selected the lowest possible levelized cost of electricity, LCOE. This cost is from isolated cases, areas where there are unusually strong winds, hundreds of miles from where the electricity can be used.

I have seen no other comparison that goes to such an extreme to try to prove that wind energy is economical. Congress should be insulted to be given such a distorted picture of the cost of electricity from wind.

Even the EIA doesn’t go to such an extreme to distort the LCOE of wind.

However, the EIA chooses to distort the comparison between the LCOE from wind and coal, in an attempt to show that wind is competitive with the cost of electricity from coal.

Here is the table from the EIA, showing LCOEs from various sources.

Levalized cost from EIA

LCOE from EIA

The LCOEs from the EIA’s table are 97 $/MW-hour for wind, and 94.8 $/MW-hour for conventional coal.

The EIA arrives at this distortion by adding a charge for CO2 emissions to the capitalized cost of constructing coal-fired power plants. It’s equivalent to $15 per ton of CO21. It also uses a capacity factor of 34% for wind, when actual land-based capacity factor is 30% at best; and this helps lower the cost of electricity from wind.

Why is it necessary for the Governor’ Energy Coalition and the EIA to distort the cost of electricity from wind?

The answer is simply to fool people, including Congress, into thinking that electricity from wind is cheap – when it isn’t.

NOTE:

  1. From the EIA web site: “While the 3-percentage point adjustment is somewhat arbitrary, in levelized cost terms, its impact is similar to that of a $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions fee when investing in a new coal plant without CCS.”

 

Read more of Donn’s columns at his blog, Power For USA.

Comments

  1. Russell Bennett says:

    Some day we will have a nonfosil fuel but it won't be wind or solar. It will have to be able to work 24 hrs A day and on calm days with little or no wind. The whole reason behind carbon is a scam. May be if we made some of these kooks go to court tell us about it under oath and produce some proof that will stand up to peer review.

    • Richard Wm. Faith says:

      More people need to know that the PURPOSE of the carbon scam is to empower the UN to take away American sovereignty. Accordingly, anyone who is an AMERICAN IN SPIRIT ought to be pushing for EXPULSION of the UN.

      • The UN is a usurping, bloated, OCTOPUS with millions of tentacles spread all over the world! It is fed MOSTLY by America, through the mindless in our Government! AND care absolutely NOTHING for our beloved Country! They sit in their elaborate offices, papered with framed documents_of worthless paper (except 0'Bama who HAS none), getting millions of dollars in free perks WE pay for, being in power so long they're dusted just like the furniture. They make decisions that affect ALL our lives, knowing it won't affect theirs! The UN should be DENIED another dime of OUR money! And EVERY radical, rebel, and terrorist Nation as well! We are asinine to send our money to them, arm them, buy their ammunition, so they can blow our brains out! We need to start all over again in Washington! Don't they WORK for US? I think they have CONVENIENTLY forgotten that!

        • Edward Shick says:

          There are 193 nations in the UN,,, We give Foreign aid to 152 Nations ,, they are not many that you could call a friend,,, Let's get out of UN and stop Foreign Aid,, then maybe we could fire our Traitor , Get a decent country for our Children!!! Freedom is not Free!!

        • Richard Wm. Faith says:

          You left out one more thing that the UN should be denied: OXYGEN.

      • I agree with you 100% on that statement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • They would still lie. It is in their genes.

    • Oliver de Graaf says:

      In the Netherlands, a flat country, they built tall windtowers along the North Sea Coast. Now they are tearing them down as they were not cost effective and maintenance is wayto high. They one of the first countries to start a windpower program but the last I heard are slowly abandonning it. Oliver de Graaf

      • That is really too bad. I had much hope in wind turbines as a source of power for farmers and others far from power sources. I believe that still to be the case.
        The hope was turning into belief with the technological advancements that have been made. I think turbines will eventually come into their own. I have never thought that wind turbines could power a large city as the amount of space for the number of turbines would be a huge number and all the other difficulties associated with that is daunting and probably insurmountable at least for the foreseeable future.

    • Brian Brown says:

      Electricity from wind can be a a beautiful and wonderful thing with a few stipulations. First, you must live in an area where the wind blows significantly and constantly. Second, you must have an area on your property that would be suitable for a wind powered generator. Thirdly, the only people that are able to benefit from the electricity provided by the generator will be those living on your property.

  2. Richard Wm. Faith says:

    In the production of commercial electricity, any energy source that does not deliver continuously, rain-or-shine, wind-or-no-wind, etc., necessarily entails a need for storage of massive amounts of energy in order to be practical. Without exception, ALL means of mass energy storage entail facility real estate, costs of upkeep, and energy losses because they are less than 100% efficient. Any accounting of costs vs. benefits of such energy sources as wind and solar that fails to take into consideration the latter facts is a SKEWED ACCOUNTING. Since the knowledge that is needed in order to recognize the latter as a scam is lacking by and large in the legislature, WITNESS THE RED FLAG: NON-TECHNICAL PEOPLE HAVE NO BUSINESS MEDDLING IN TECHNICAL AFFAIRS. The electrical utilities can provide their services at maximum efficiency WITHOUT GOVERNMENT MEDDLING. Furthermore, CONSUMERS who recognize this truth are better equipped to look after their own financial well-being.

  3. Again we need to use obama words and methods it’s time to tare down and dismantle the un.

  4. Wind power generation, at whatever remote location, is done by mechanical power being converted to DC electric power at the generator terminals. It then must be converted to AC power for transmission through existing transmission lines. The cost of these DC to AC converters must be factored into the delivered cost of power to the end user. Also, you need to factor in the cost of transmission power loss due to the resistance in the conductors over however many miles of transmission lines to the end user. There are many other operating and maintenance cost factors associated with the evaluation of wind power. Suffice to say, without Federal cost subsidies, it would not be cost effective when compared to many other forms of low cost energy, including some forms of coal fired generation.
    Signed: A retired Power Plant Technology Engineer, Registered Professional Engineer (Inactive)

    • Richard Wm. Faith says:

      Dan,
      Some time back, I had read somewhere that (some?) windmills for electric power generation employed "squirrel-cage" induction motors, which were energized by utility AC, and which when driven by the wind at speeds somewhat greater than their natural or synchronous speed, would actually pump power back into the line feeding them. At the time, I wondered if that could even work, let alone work efficiently. Your article is the first I've read that says the windmills employ DC generators (necessitating inverters), and that actually makes a lot more sense. Do you know whether or not ANY of them use the squirrel-cage motors (as opposed to DC generators)? Would you happen to know if the DC generators employ brushes, or are electronically commutated?

  5. Your statements may be correct if you only consider the existing wind turbines. Your statements are false if you consider what can be done. Wind power can compete cost wise. It can't compete when the wind isn't blowing. It is very competitive if the wind velocity is above 18 mph. But you can't make it competitive with current wind turbines. It must be done another way. I have figured out how to make wind power with wind velocities from 7 mph to 100 mph with an average cost at 17 mph of one third the cost of current wind turbines. The greater the wind velocity, the greater the profit margin.

    • Here in Fl. we don't have much wind, I built several turbines to use the light winds we do have, but even that is seasonal, when available it is more wattage than solar. but hard to make the mllls so that they generate in light winds and still stay together in the summer gales we have during the rainy season. tell us how you solved it?

  6. Governors are also politicians so why wouldn't they lie; especially if it would give them some federal dollars to spend.

  7. The Norwegians have had enough of their wind turbines which disfigure the mountains where
    they have their cabins and do their skiing. An article by angry citizens claims that the money to
    be made from wind turbines is only in the manufacturing and transportation. (So they manufacture
    them and transport them to us, the naive Americans.)

  8. All this goverment is doing is takeing are money lying to us everyday and passing laws to take over we must get the UN out of are country and take away any money we give them they are corupt and are trying to push agenda 21 to inslave us all that is why they want are guns and to take over are powerand food wake up people before it is to late Ovmit is trying to devide us and wants us to fight aginst each other we need to stand together and fight to keep are country and freedom

  9. If wind power is so great, why are there so many 'whirly gigs' abandoned in the USA? The Assoc. Press says there are 14000 of them abandoned in the U.S. When the tax payers money runs out they are abandoned.

  10. Agenda 21 is a scary proposition meant to destroy the United States and our way of life. The ecologist tree hugger earth worshipers don't care about you and me, just earth,animals,fish and insects. The UN is their vehicle to implement the takeover

    • Richard Wm. Faith says:

      Those who support Agenda 21 generally fall into two groups:
      1) (probably the majority): those who innocently believe that they're doing a good thing (and are too lazy to research it and check for inconsistencies); and
      2) those who are in bed with the cause (and probably on the TAKE)

  11. Florida Jim says:

    like so much from our government and the Obama administration 'green " energy is an enormous scam enriching Obama's campaign contributors and robbing the taxpayers as we guarantee the investments rather than private sources.Even Europe has given up on the scam while China, Russia, Africa, Mid-east, South America will not invest one dime because they have oil and use it.
    When you realize who is profiting from this and wonder why other countries are laughing at America thank Obama.

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