What do Blackouts and BigWind have in common?

Screen Shot 2019-10-13 at 8.02.12 PM

More than you think! As BigWind increases its presence, on our electrical grid, so do the blackouts. Why? Read below to learn how this nightmare is becoming more of a reality…

It is too often assumed that making maximum use of renewables is the answer to addressing environmental goals.  So easy is it to buy into this assumption that intermittent wind power is pulling ahead of coal in Texas.

Energy analysts forecast that wind turbines in Texas will generate about 87,000 megawatt-hours of electricity next year, eclipsing the anticipated output from coal.  Coal power is falling in Texas and nationally, while wind power is on a rapid upward climb.  Wind power already supplies 20% of the Lone Star state’s power and it’s expected to reach 24% in 2020, second only to natural gas, while coal plants continue to close.

If you think those trends don’t come with a downside, think again.  The economy in Texas and nationally demands full-time electricity.  Wind only generates part-time electricity.  In West Texas this summer, on some hot and humid days it was so still there wasn’t enough of a breeze to stir a leaf.  Hundreds of wind turbines stopped spinning.  When the Texas grid needed wind power the most, it was nowhere to be found. The Texas electric power grid came perilously close to collapsing.  

Electricity prices spiked from their normal range of $20 to $30 per megawatt-hour to $9,000 not once but twice. The state teetered on the edge of rolling blackouts and no air conditioning for millions of families during triple digit temperatures. Operators of the Texas grid issued alert after alert asking consumers to turn off devices and conserve power.

Texas is unlikely to be the only state that comes perilously close to electricity shortages.  Federal and state subsidies have made wind and solar power so cheap that they are displacing essential baseload sources of power that are capable of running when needed…

All of this is ominous not only for Texas but also other parts of the country.  The rapid shift toward wind power is an opportunity for a reality check in the debate over the deployment of renewables, which benefit from federal tax credits and generous state mandates.

According to the Joint Congressional Committee on Taxation, wind and solar power will have received $36.5 billion in federal tax credits between 2016 and 2020.  It’s an imposing number but it doesn’t even touch the subsidies provided for solar and wind at the state level.State renewable portfolio standards that mandate ever-increasing amounts of wind and solar power have been just as disruptive to electricity markets and perhaps even more costly.

It brings into sharp focus the most urgent challenge: How will the United States scale back the use of fossil fuels, yet maintain an adequate energy supply?  …

Instead of indifference, we need to regain our balance and encourage investment in advanced energy technology of all kinds – coal, natural gas, nuclear power, and renewables, along with improvements in energy efficiency – if we hope to avoid future havoc in electricity markets and ensure the availability of reliable and affordable power.

Reliability Gone with the Wind

Hooray! Seneca county rescinds AEZ and HB6 passes

Screen Shot 2019-08-01 at 3.01.44 PM

A big hooray for Sandusky County where the County Commissioners have rescinded their designation as an Alternative Energy Zone (AEZ).  The vote cancelled the action taken 7 years ago.  Readers will recall that the Seneca County Commissioners rescinded their AEZ earlier this summer and it took effect June 30th.

 

The OPSB Public Hearing for Seneca Wind, a project of  sPower, was held on Tuesday in Tiffin.  It was refreshing to hear that both PUCO Chairman Sam Randazzo and Ohio House Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman, Nino Vitale, attended in person.  That is a first as far as we know.   They were treated to many thoughtful arguments and concerns expressed by local citizens.  We have attached the testimony of Walt Poffenbaugh (last link) who spoke to the issue of cumulative impacts of projects planned for the area.  Walt demonstrated that the combined projects proposed for the area cover a territory nearly as large as metropolitan Columbus.   We encourage all to read Walt’s substantive remarks.  Given that the OPSB does not have rules that address cumulative impact, it will be interesting to see how this concern is dealt with in subsequent proposals.

 

Moments after the bill was passed, Gov. DeWine signed it into law and took off for the Ohio State Fair where he told reporters,  “I think it accomplishes what we wanted to accomplish,” Gov. DeWine said. “It saves the jobs of the folks who devoted – many of them – many, many years to providing power for us.”  “No. 2, it should bring about a small reduction in the cost to residential consumers as well as to commercial consumers,” he added.  Gov. DeWine said he also was “happy to sign” the measure because he believes it will lead to long-term environmental benefits. He put his pen to the measure less than three hours after legislative leaders sent him the bill. “If we had lost our two nuclear plants, we would have lost 90% of our carbon-free production in the state of Ohio,” he said. “It just makes sense from a public policy point of view. It makes sense from a jobs point of view. It makes sense from the environment point of view.”  “We would anticipate that our solar as well as our wind (industries) will continue to increase in the state of Ohio,” he said. “We have to recognize it is not the most optimal state for wind nor solar, but there is an industry in the state, and we want to encourage that to grow.”

Still reeling from the passage of HB 6, pro-wind and gas folks were quick to react to the new state of affairs.  Statehouse news reports included:

 

Andrew Gohn, American Wind Energy Association

“Ohio consumers and manufacturers want greater commitment to renewable energy, not less. Yet, while many states are expanding access to cleaner sources of energy, Ohio’s legislature has chosen to take a costly step backward by weakening the state’s renewable portfolio standard,” said Andrew Gohn, Director, Eastern State Policy, AWEA. “House Bill 6 won’t make Ohio’s air cleaner, but it will hike consumer electric bills and send both jobs and clean energy investment to Ohio’s neighbors.”

 

Marnie Urso, Audubon Great Lakes    (AUDUBON?  REALLY?)

“Energy efficiency and renewable energy are vital components in protecting Ohio’s birds and wildlife from the threat of climate change and ensuring all Ohioans have access to safe and affordable energy. HB6 is a missed opportunity to enact comprehensive energy policy that would keep pace with the rest of the region and country which is embracing the future of abundant, affordable, renewable energy. This clean energy killing policy is not the investment in healthy air and economic growth that our state deserves.”

 

House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron)

“This was not an easy vote for some of our Democratic members, including myself. Democrats will always stand with hard-working Ohioans over corporations. HB6 was never a Democratic bill; it was never even a bipartisan, compromise bill. It was yet another example of the Majority Party playing games, forcing impossible choices between protecting the environment and keeping food on the table for 1,400 workers and their families. I hope that the companies who receive the taxpayer dollars from HB6 will honor their promise to protect the jobs at both nuclear plants and support these workers’ continued employment.”

 

Daniel Sawmiller, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

“While the rest of the nation is adding jobs left and right from one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, Ohio is sending a clear signal to the clean energy sector that they are not welcome in the state. HB6 is irresponsible economic policy. And if this mess of a bill passes, the rest of the nation will be looking closely at Ohio’s statehouse trying to understand the motivations for a bill that is so far out of line with what is happening everywhere else.”

 

Neil Waggoner, Sierra Club

“HB6 is bad government and politics in its most pure form. When the process starts with legislators’ demeaning low-income Ohioans and apologizing to utility lobbyists it’s no surprise the final legislative product increases customer bills every month for years to come.  “With HB6, Ohioans get dirtier air, higher electric bills, and the understanding that the majority of their elected officials at the Statehouse are more concerned with making a bankrupt company happy, and helping out other utility companies for their foolish investments in failing coal plants, than taking care of their own constituents.  “FirstEnergy and Ohio’s other electric utilities must be very satisfied with the legislators they financed today. Can those legislators’ constituents say the same?”

 

Ohio Conservative Energy Forum

“The Ohio Conservative Energy Forum (OHCEF) remains opposed to the passage of HB6. The bill takes our state backward and threatens tens of thousands of jobs throughout Ohio in the growing clean energy industry. “As supporters of an all-of-the-above energy policy, the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum has never been averse to nuclear energy, but we remain profoundly disappointed that the General Assembly did not use the opportunity presented in HB6 to further grow Ohio’s emerging clean energy economy. As OHCEF has maintained throughout the legislative process, the State of Ohio cannot afford to be left behind as a growing number of conservative states embrace renewable energy.  “OHCEF will continue to support a free-market approach to a diversified energy portfolio that embraces all forms of energy generation – including nuclear, coal, natural gas and renewable energy. OHCEF will fight to reduce government regulation by fixing the current wind setback mandate and will seek distributed generation reforms that will give Ohioans the freedom to produce their own energy.”

 

Not to be outdone, the opponents of HB 6, fueled by natural gas hedge funds, filed a petition with the Ohio Secretary of State to overturn the law through a public referendum.   (Guess somebody is going to get a referendum – what irony!)   Calling themselves “Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts” the group is headed up by a veteran campaign strategist whose claim to fame was the 2009 casino gambling law.  They will hit the streets soon to gather about a quarter of a million signatures to put the issue on the ballot.  We hope Ohioans won’t vote “YES” to increase their electric bills!

Our friend and Time Magazine’s Hero of the Environment, Michael Shellenberger lauded the passage of HB 6 in a Forbes article.  “Ohio nuclear plants provide eight times more electricity than all of the state’s solar and wind combined.  Lawmakers around the world are increasingly taking note of the severe impact that industrial wind turbines have on wildlife. Industrial wind turbines today threaten several bird and bat species with extinction.

Conservationists and birders in Ohio have hotly opposed a proposal to build dozens of turbines on Lake Erie, which is home to dozens of threatened, endangered, and high-conservation value bird species

Then there is the economics. It would have cost $25 billion to replace Ohio’s nuclear plants with solar and $22 to replace them with wind — and taken 300 to 2,600 times more land.”   With your continued support, we can make Ohio a leader in clean energy through support of nuclear while safeguarding wildlife and being efficient in our land use practices!

 

On the flip side, so-called environmentalist like Sierra and the renewable lobby, are having fits saying  “the biggest effect of H.B. 6 may be the muting of Ohio’s renewable and efficiency standards. By weakening Ohio’s 12.5% renewable energy standard to 8.5% and further shrinking the standard by subtracting green energy purchases by large energy users, the bill blocks wind and solar development in a state that’s already a clean energy laggard, said Leah Stokes, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who’s writing a book on state renewable standards.  Some of the nation’s largest wind energy developers have said Ohio’s existing restrictions on turbine placement, enacted in 2014 when the Legislature temporarily froze the renewable standards, have already steered investments to neighboring states. H.B. 6, they warned, would only continue to lessen their interest in the Buckeye State.” 

 

In other news:

 

An assortment of articles reacting to the passage of HB 6 are included.  In one, US Rep. Marcy Kaptur says “Ohio is now saddled with an energy policy that amounts to a “death wish” for growth. “The problem is that as you look at a region to invest in, we look less innovative. We look less inclusive. We look less creative,” Kaptur said. “And companies are looking to invest in places that have their act together and are looking at energy and the full portfolio of choices therein as we build a new energy future for our country.”  We continue to point out that these so-called green companies like Amazon and Google are choosing to locate in metropolitan Columbus not Tiffin or Van Wert.

Republicans at the national level are addressing how to deal with emissions reduction by promoting greater investment in technology whether it be carbon capture or advanced nuclear energy.   “Climate change is real, and we need to address it. The question is, how do we do that?” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said. “I think we should support all ways of decreasing emissions, from traditional renewables to cleaned-up fossil fuels to nuclear to innovative new tech like carbon capture. The other side often would make us think that there’s only one way to address it — solar, wind, the Green New Deal.”

In New York, the Chautauqua County Legislature approved two motions unanimously that go against policies being passed by state officials. “On Wednesday, one of the motions was in opposition to construct wind turbine farms on Lake Erie. During last month’s legislature meeting, Robert Bankoski, D-Dunkirk, and Kevin Muldowney, R-Dunkirk, spoke about their opposition to the possibility of wind turbine farms on Lake Erie. Following the meeting, Bankoski said several other legislators who represent communities along Lake Erie followed up their comments by creating a motion to oppose wind turbines on Lake Erie.”    We wish Ohio Counties would do the same and pass Resolutions in opposition to turbines in Lake Erie.

  

A group of U.S. wind tower manufacturers are pushing for tariffs on imported wind components, a move that some researchers say could raise costs for new projects by as much as 10% at a time the industry is already under pressure.  The Wind Tower Trade Coalition asked the Commerce Department and U.S. International Trade Commission to impose tariffs against wind tower imports from Canada, Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam in a petition this month. The manufacturers argued that components from the four countries are sold below the prices set in the 1930 Tariff Act.

 

Even though HB 6 will reduce electricity bills in the short term, there are continuing pressures on costs.  The transition to a 100% renewable US power grid will need investment of up to US$4.5 trillion over the next 10 to 20 years, new analysis from Wood Mackenzie found.  Wood Mackenzie estimates that about 1,600 gigawatts (GW) of new wind and solar capacity would be needed to produce enough energy to replace all fossil fuel generation in the US. Dan Shreve, Head of Global Wind Energy Research, said: “The mass deployment of wind and solar generation will require substantial investments in utility-scale storage to ensure grid resilience is maintained.”

About 900 GW of new storage will also be needed to ensure wind- and solar-generated power is available exactly when consumers need it. The scale of the challenge is unprecedented, requiring a complete redesign of the power sector.

 

New on our radar screen is the issue of transmission expansion and potential costs to ratepayers.  “Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chair Sam Randazzo began Monday’s daylong discussion of transmission investments with an appeal to stakeholders: “We need your help.”  His request came as regulators sought in a daylong conference to grapple with rising spending on transmission projects, which in turn translates into higher consumer bills.  “We need the help of stakeholders to proactively move forward,” Mr. Randazzo said. “We are seeing this large investment at a time where there is not much increase in total sales or demand.”  The cost of that “massive amount of investment” spread over a customer base that’s not growing at an equal rate leaves just one outcome, the chairman continued. “There’s not much else that can happen when you do that other than very significant increases in prices – all of which may be necessary,” Mr. Randazzo said.”

Nuclear link

Ohio rolls back RPS

Antinuclear on the move in Ohio

Blah,blah,blah, even Washington hates the Oh bill

Free (foreign) Bigwind may get expensive tariffs

Will green plan be expensive? HA! Ya think?

Seneca Wind Public Hearing Testimony 07232019

Will Ohio legislators guzzle BigWind koolaid?

The Ohio Senate and House have currently removed the option for local landowners to vote a BigWind project up or down. We are afraid their butts are in the air, and their heads are guzzling the BigWind koolaid. What will it take to get their attention? Phone calls and votes, period. Have you done your part, yet???

Ohio’s best wind resources are Iowa’s worst. So why build thousands of massive 600- to 650-foot wind turbines in northwest Ohio? It’s all about the subsidies.

Wind turbines aren’t green by any stretch of the imagination, although corporations have spent millions in Ohio to convince the public otherwise. Wind turbines produce energy that is intermittent and unpredictable. They must be backed up by fossil fuels in new “peaker plants” which produce at least 25 percent more pollutants than the baseload facilities and cost at least 25 percent more to operate than baseload plants.

Why would Ohio build inefficiency and extra air pollution into our grid? Follow the money in renewable energy subsidies. Turbines require hundreds of gallons of oil laden with PCB’s. Do these turbines leak oil or crash to the ground? Absolutely! Do these turbines ever catch on fire? Yes, and the PCB laden oil burns with the neodymium magnets to release a highly cancerous toxic cloud.

Estimates put the tear-down cost of a single modern wind turbine at over $200,000. The blades are a fiberglass composite, those are not recyclable and they can’t be sold. Consequently, 47 million tons of unsustainable blade waste could be added to the world’s landfills within the next few decades. Some landfills refuse to take the biohazardous components of wind turbines….

The turbines proposed for the Firelands region of Ohio have blade tip speeds of 180 mph and a blade span which would can engulf a Boeing 747. There are a total of 8 known wind projects in various planning stages in the four-county area of the Firelands. An area known to be riddled with sinkholes, caves and Karst formations with a water table that is very close to the surface at times throughout the year. This water in northern Ohio flows through underground rivers to feed the cold trout streams in Erie County and eventually to the lake. Just one oil spill into these precious aquifers could have devastating environmental impacts.

Ohio’s two nuclear facilities provide 90 percent of the emission free energy in that state. Even if we buried an area of Ohio about the size of Rhode Island in industrial wind generators, they still would not produce the consistent, robust energy that our two nuclear facilities provide. In 2013, Ohio had an extended polar vortex in which natural gas pipelines could not keep up. What saved the day in 2013 and kept us all from freezing in northern Ohio? It was our two nuclear plants.

Call Senators Burke 614-466-8049 and Gavarone 614-466-8060. Tell them to do the right thing for Northern Ohio and pass HB 6…

http://www.norwalkreflector.com/Letter-to-the-Editor/2019/06/27/Not-so-clean-wind-energy-and-House-Bill-6

Ohio letter shows what is wrong w BigWind

confused-880735_640

Have you educated yourselves about these truths? Please do and share with others. As you read in our last post, BigWind, the pollster allies and lobbying groups are quick to persuade our legislators a ‘different story’.  Have you shared these truths with anyone today?? How about your legislators??…..

…When Baldosser states that wind turbines’ “efficiency is that they are quickly able to go on and off line” and if we need extra power it is easy to “put more turbines online,” it leaves the impression that wind turbines are turned on and off with a switch and that the wind is always there to use at a moment’s notice. This is just not the case.

In real life, the variable wind only blows enough for the turbines to generate one third of the electricity they could if they ran full power all the time. And, as every reader knows, the wind blows when it wants to, not when you want it to….

The intermittent output of turbines is one of their big downfalls. Some people like to say that it’s not a problem because they are connected to the grid and some other generating source will fill in the gaps. Currently, the only reliable source of power that is always ready to ramp up at a moment’s notice is certain kinds of natural gas generators. In the end, they will generate the two-thirds of the electricity that the turbines were suppose to provide but can’t because of variable winds.… And, because of the physics involved in using gas as a backup, the inefficiencies cause as much or more gas to be used in backing up wind turbines as would be used in more efficient full-time gas generators making all the electricity and not building any turbines in the first place. That is why wind turbines do not save on CO2 emissions. And remember, whenever you read that “wind energy is now the cheapest form of electricity” the cost of backing it up when the wind slows is not included in that price. Intermittent electricity has little value to you as the end user.

But what about batteries, you say? Baldosser’s 55-gallon drums sound like batteries! … While there are a few installed in California and Australia, they are only capable of storing a few seconds’ or minutes’ worth of power, and they do so at a very high cost. While there are many storage ideas being researched, there is nothing even close to being developed or deployed that can store the massive amount of electricity needed at an affordable price….If we were to ramp up current battery technology to the required scale, besides being extremely expensive, it would involve many environmental impacts and require moving mountains of earth on a scale even greater than mining coal to acquire the necessary natural elements like lithium, etc.

In the end, there is no perfect way to generate electricity without causing some issue. If we think CO2 is the immediate biggest problem, then we should be installing more nuclear plants, as they are the only thing that can generate massive amounts of stable electricity with no CO2. ...Eventually, they will realize that large number of voters being forced to live near wind turbines will not be happy with their current politicians. At that point, the wind fad will be over, but we will be left to live among the huge flailing armed machines for decades into the future, while things like solar panels would have had very few effects on surrounding residents….

Some will make lots of money on wind power and they will be happy. They are the ones so busy promoting it now. Every fad in history was pushed to its maximum by those making money on it.

Jim Feasel,

Tiffin

Letter to the Editor

BigWind getting 7 x THE SUBSIDIES of coal/gas… 7 x !!!

Aren’t you sick of the public being ‘hoodwinked’ about the subsidy game? All the electricity providers get subsidies- that is what we hear.  But, how much electricity do each of the players actually PRODUCE? The difference between coal/gas/nuclear and BigWind is like comparing the value of a shortstop to that of a 2nd stringer on the bench! Let us pray that Rick Perry sees the truth and that he isn’t influenced by lobbyists to hide it. States like, Ohio, where BigWind is planning explosive growth, NEED the help of the federal government to keep these companies at bay…

When Energy Secretary Rick Perry requested a study of electric grid reliability, wind and solar energy lobbyists were predictably alarmed. Perry wanted to know how federal policies were shaping wholesale electricity markets and whether public policies were responsible for forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants.

The government has long had a role in the electric power industry, so asking for a survey of its effects should not be controversial.

The reason for the alarm? The request mentioned government mandates and subsidies, which have driven wind and solar energy’s growth, as possible drivers of reliability concerns. The industry lobbyists are right to be sensitive. Despite constantly touting the rapidly falling cost of wind and solar, industry growth over the next decade depends on mandates and subsidies….

This “everybody does it” claim about subsidies needs to be put into perspective. DOE data from 2013 show that federal subsidies for coal and natural gas amount to about 0.05 cents per kWh of electricity, while wind gets 3.5 and solar receives 22 cents per kWh. This money is not an investment in the future, but rather a subsidy to developers and financiers for the installation of existing technology….

 

Source: DOE grid study has wind and solar lobbyists spooked — rightly so | TheHill

WOW, AWEA can’t do basic math

In Ohio, BigWind is/has building/proposing projects that consume, on average 16,000 acres each. Now, if we look at Blue Creek, alone, there are 152 turbines. 16,000 divided by 152 is 105 acres/turbine.  Obviously, each turbine does not take up 105 acres, but when you include setbacks, homes, roadways, communities, etc. AWEA is blatantly WRONG.  You canNOT extrapolate acreage based on the actual, physical consumption of land by the industrial wind turbine.  According to Ohio’s average land consumption of 16,000 acres, our math shows that the AWEA assumption needs to be revised to be multiplied by 141!! In this case, the mass of Rhode Island x 141 = 169,200 square miles…LARGER THAN THE SIZE OF CALIFORNIA.  And, does this actually power America? NO, because we need MORE coal and MORE gas to ‘backup’ the intermittency of the turbines….

…The Supreme Court put a hold on enforcement of the plan in February to allow legal challenges to it to be resolved in court. If the Court of Appeals rules that the government can legally enforcement the plan, the country will have to start using a lot more renewable energy (like wind and solar) — and much less coal — by the year 2030.

Part of the plan calls for the creation of incentives to encourage states to build wind farms. Though the US invested $14.5 billion in wind-power project installations last year, wind farms still provide less than 5% of the nation’s energy, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

But what would a US powered only by wind actually look like?

To answer that question, AWEA’s manager of industry data analysis, John Hensley, did the following math: 4.082 billion megawatt-hours (the average annual US electricity consumption) divided by 7,008 megawatt-hours of annual wind energy production per wind turbine equals approximately 583,000 onshore turbines.

In terms of land use, those 583,000 turbines would take up about the total land mass of Rhode Island, Hensley says, because wind projects typically require 0.74 acres of land per megawatt produced….

Source: Here’s how much of the US would need to be covered in wind turbines to power the nation

BigWind is NOT Cheaper than Coal: Obama ignores facts

Share this everywhere and educate others!!!….

Wind advocates frequently argue that wind power has competitive prices. Recently, PolitiFact even granted a rating of “True”—its highest rating—to President Obama’s claim that “in Texas, wind power is already cheaper than dirty fossil fuels.” Let’s ignore for a moment that the word “dirty” could be ascribed to nearly any industrial process, including the process used to mine materials for and manufacture wind turbines. On the question of wind power being cheaper than coal, Obama’s statement could easily have received a rating of “mostly false” under Politifact’s rating system because, as Politifact defines that rating, “[t]he statement contains some element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.”

Obama’s statement and Politifact’s ruling both ignore three critical facts that would give a different impression:

1.) the cost of unreliable (intermittent) sources of electricity like wind cannot be compared directly against the cost of reliable sources like coal (also called “dispatchable” sources by industry insiders),

2.) intermittent wind power actually imposes costs on dispatchable sources by robbing them of production without replacing their generating capacity (which is critically important to grid reliability), and

3.) the evidence shows that the all-in cost of wind power, including the costs imposed on reliable power plants—as opposed to subsidized prices wind producers receive—is significantly higher than the cost of electricity from existing nuclear, hydroelectric, coal, and natural gas plants.

In short, the idea that wind power is cheaper than coal power falls somewhere between a meaningless statement and a myth.

Intermittent Resources Like Wind Are a Separate, Lower Class of Electricity Generation

Wind turbines only generate electricity when the wind is blowing, and it is a fact of life that the wind is an inherently unreliable source of energy. Wind power’s intermittency is a well-known limitation and a significant drawback, especially because the large-scale battery storage required to make wind a reliable resource isn’t commercially viable.

Nevertheless, wind advocates breeze through the fundamental problems of intermittent, unreliable energy and attempt to sell the idea of a wind-fueled future on the fiction that wind power can compete head-to-head with reliable sources of power like coal, nuclear power, or natural gas. In fact, the Politifact piece specifically mentions the argument that “wind-generated electricity can’t (or shouldn’t) be price-compared to electricity generated by fossil fuels or nuclear sources.” However, it appears that critical point did not sway Politifact, given the “true” rating it assigned Obama’s comment. We should note that the argument was put forth by the co-author of a groundbreaking IER study on the cost of electricity, Tom Stacy, who was involved in a lengthy email conversation with the Politifact author attempting to convince him such a comparison (of wind to coal) is bogus.

IER is not alone on this point. The Energy Information Administration (EIA)—a fair referee in this arena—has issued the same warning for years. EIA actually separates dispatchable and non-dispatchable resources in its LCOE calculations and warns that “caution should be used when comparing them to one another.” In essence, dispatchable plants “whose output can be varied to follow demand” (e.g., coal, natural gas, nuclear, etc.) are more valuable than wind turbines “whose operation is tied to the availability of an intermittent resource.”[1]

Because wind cannot dispatch power in response to demand, the electricity it produces is less valuable, and its cost should not be compared directly against dispatchable resources like coal, nuclear power, or natural gas without serious caveats or significant adjustments to factor in the cost of battery storage.

Wind Power Imposes Costs on Reliable Power Plants

Last year, IER released a report on the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) from existing generation resources, a first-ever look at the LCOE of the existing sources on the grid as opposed to new resources. Crucially, the report also introduced the concept of the “imposed costs” created by intermittent resources. The report went one step further and estimated those costs under modeled scenarios to find that one megawatt-hour of wind production imposes a cost of $29 on dispatchable generation from natural gas plants.

The concept of imposed costs is not intuitive, so here’s an example. Suppose a power grid consists of only combined cycle natural gas plants that are allowed to operate freely and satisfy the second-by-second electricity demand on the system. Then, even though the system has enough dispatchable capacity from the natural gas fleet to meet demand, we decide to introduce new, intermittent power from wind turbines.

The natural gas fleet is still needed for those frequent times when wind output is low or zero,[2] but it has to back down to accommodate the intermittent wind generation. In other words, its production is crowded out by the intermittent wind generation. Lower production from the same capital-intense facility is the source of “imposed costs”—wind generation significantly raises the LCOE of the dispatchable resources on the system. By decreasing a reliable power plant’s run time without also reducing its fixed costs, wind power makes it more expensive to generate electricity from existing and new dispatchable resources. [3]

The phenomenon is shown graphically below. New wind production causes the natural gas fleet’s capacity factor to drop from 87 percent to below 60 percent. The imposed cost of wind power in this scenario is nearly $30/MWh, a cost that should be attributed to wind.

LCOE Chart 2
Source: http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/ier_lcoe_2015.pdf

Analysis of the Full Levelized Cost of Electricity Shows Wind is Not Cheap

The summary table of our LCOE report shows that, when the imposed costs of intermittent resources are taken into account, the LCOE of wind is not competitive with other new sources—especially combined cycle natural gas—and is nowhere near competitive with existing coal, nuclear, hydro, and natural gas resources.

LCOE-Chart
Source: http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/analysis/wind-lobbyists-critique-of-ier-study-fails-on-all-fronts/

By accounting for imposed costs and adding them to the LCOE for wind power, IER’s report allows for more accurate comparisons between dispatchable and non-dispatchable sources.[4] Under a true apples-to-apples comparison, new wind resources are nearly three times more expensive than existing coal resources.

The article also overemphasizes the importance of wholesale prices for wind power. Wholesale prices don’t take into account the lifetime costs of building and operating a generation resource, nor do they factor in the multiple subsidies that wind producers receive (e.g., federal wind PTC, accelerated depreciation rules, federal loan guarantees, Renewable Energy Certificates, state and local utility property tax rebates).

Conclusion

PolitiFact’s assessment of wind power’s affordability ignores critical facts that would give readers a different impression. By its own standards, we rate Politifact’s conclusion regarding Obama’s statement “mostly false.”…

Source: News Flash: Wind Power is Not Cheaper than Coal – IER