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

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How Big will the turbines be, planted next to you, in Ohio? Bigger than you think…

 

No sooner had we written about the prospects for the Clean Power Plan, Justice Scalia died and now there is much speculation about his successor and whether the U.S. Senate will hold hearings on any nomination that might be made by President Obama. We cannot speculate on what will happen but thought you should know the constitutionality of the Clean Power Plan hangs in the balance. In some states, including Michigan and Wisconsin, the Governor has ordered that no further work on the CPP be undertaken while in Kansas and Missouri, the legislatures are working to halt activity. Ohio waits to hear what happens next.

In advance of a major Wind Operations and Maintenance conference coming up in Texas, a report has been issued reviewing issues that are arising as the fleet of wind turbines deployed across America age. The numbers are sobering and should give any community thinking about approving a wind facility second thought. Principal findings include:

• Bearing failure/ repair & maintenance focus set to double by 2017

• Original Equipment Manufacturers could lose 15% share of the O&M market by 2020

• Condition Monitoring Systems & Analytics investment to increase 1/3 by 2017

• Optimization of power generation, not cost cutting the real driver of investment (63/37%)

This means among other things, the noise from turbines is going to get a lot louder as the turbines age and are in need of gearbox repair. Also, repowering existing turbines with longer blades will increase. Moreover, those turbines that cannot be viably repowered will be decommissioned (or left to rust in the fields). Finding Q13 “What is the single biggest focus for you over the next 12 months?” was decommissioning.

What does “optimization of power generation” mean? It means taller turbines and longer blades and it should mean longer setbacks. We think the giants are coming to Ohio. The FAA reviews all potential structures that exceed 200 feet in height for possible air traffic obstruction. Recently, they have reviewed a wind development planned for Bellevue for turbines listed at 660 feet! Bellevue straddles Erie, Huron and Sandusky Counties. We include an article about this sort of monster below with a link to the monster movie showing its construction.

Going back to the Operations and Maintenance issues, our colleague, Tom Stacy, advises us to think about them in the context of annually increasing renewable energy mandates. Tom says, “Consider the implications of annually ratcheting energy market share mandates with a total schedule term longer than the lifespans of wind turbines. The deployment rate must increase markedly in later years of the program when new turbines are required to meet both replacement of old machines as well to meet annual benchmarks. And all this to produce randomly timed energy without firm capacity – dictating redundant infrastructure that includes necessarily underutilized conventional power plant assets. “

With respect to the setbacks defined in law, the notion of having the minimum be defined as a formula like 3xtower height plus blade length would be more desirable than a fixed number like 1,250 feet from a property line. In the case of the 660’ turbines, the minimum would then be 1,980’. That is a significant difference.

If you haven’t read the blog from, yesterday, please see that Kevon Martis, Director of Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition, has teamed up with Senator Seitz to challenge those who would seek to override the property line setback law through HB 190. They coined the phrase “trespass zoning” and have written a terrific opinion piece for the Ohio media. They conclude by saying: “Good neighbors don’t trespass. If Big Wind wants to be a good neighbor in rural Ohio, it needs to abandon its demand for trespass zoning.” The Lima News has printed the article and we hope the papers in Van Wert, Bellefontaine, Urbana and Springfield follow suit. We believe it was distributed to all of them.

Notwithstanding all of the above, on February 18th, Trishe Wind filed an Amendment to the next phase of the Blue Creek project in Paulding County proposing larger turbines and seeking to be considered under old rules that measure setbacks from homes even though Amendments to previously approved projects are supposed to be subject to the revised setbacks.  Looks like that ole “optimization of power generation”! Attention! Trespass Zoning coming to Paulding County…again!

  Enercon E126 – The Most Powerful Wind Turbine in the World

 

 

Ohio group educates against BigWind

Yesterday, Champaign County and the Townships  filed an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court protesting the OPSB’s failure to hold a hearing on amendments to the Buckeye Wind project.  This filing comes at the same time that Everpower is seeking an extension to their certificate of approval for Phase I. 

Below is a press report about the community education meeting in Bellefontaine.   Speakers included Tom Stacy and Philip Morse, a mechanical engineer who asserted, “Wind turbines do not generate energy when wind speeds are less than 8 miles per hour and when wind speeds are too high they are constantly using energy to operate the braking systems or can shut down entirely”, the engineer said. “The name of the game is not about engineering or  power production. It is about something else that other people are better prepared to answer than I am,” Mr. Morse said. “On an industrial scale like this, these things are going to be energy suckers — feed me your money; feed me your power. “Wind turbines are not alternative energy sources,” he said. “They are lackluster supplemental energy at best.”…

Wind energy is neither financial nor technically efficient and is unfair to neighboring property owners, a group opposed to wind turbine development told a group of about 75 residents that turned out for a Monday evening meeting at the Logan County Friendly Senior Center…

“The argument is that it is my property and I should be able to do whatever I want with it,” Mr. Sheperd said after asking one attendee if he would like to have a strip club or trash dump built next to his home.

“I agree you should be able to do what you want with your property so long as it doesn’t affect my ability to peacefully enjoy my property.”

During the meeting, Tom Stacy, an organizer of the Fight the Wind opposition group and self-proclaimed “affordable energy advocate” discussed the financial ramifications of wind development, while mechanical engineer Phillip Morse evaluated the theoretical efficiency of wind turbines.

While coal, natural gas or nuclear plants can ask to raise rates to cover their overhead, wind and other alternative energy suppliers cannot do so, Mr. Stacy said. To make up for this, the government subsidizes wind projects by a margin of nearly $2 to every $1 generated in energy, he claimed. …

“If we think schools are underfunded and this is a way to address that, there is a better way to do that than to give a company from outside the country 95% of the tax money and let them return the other 5% to the schools and local government,” he said….

via: http://www.examiner.org/images/WebEdition/071514_BEweb.pdf

Logan-Hardin Neighbors United turn up the heat on BigWind

Ohio meeting puts the heat on BigWind. Note the highlighted points by Tom Stacy, below…

For the approximately 75 people that braved the stormy weather, Monday night at the Friendly Senior Center was an opportunity to hear the Logan-Hardin Neighbor’s United’s strong case against using wind turbines as a supplemental energy source.

The organization was started in September of 2013 by residents in the Belle Center and Indian Lake area….

Shepherd thinks wind turbines will increase energy rates and infringe on property owners’ ability to enjoy where they live. He thinks that many will be built too close to where people live. He doesn’t like how many will be built around Indian Lake. Finally, tax dollars will be misused.

Shepherd is especially concerned with how close to homes the wind turbines can be built. They cause “shadow flicker”, are noisy, and aren’t failsafe.

Tom Stacy, an advocate for affordable energy, explained that wind turbine usage will actually increase energy bills for taxpayers. If wind turbines create energy, other energy creators must cut back their production. In order to cover their costs, they must submit a rate case to PUCO. By law, taxpayers must assist energy companies if they can not meet expenses.

Wind turbine companies, according to Stacy, can’t make any money without government assistance. Typically, turbines barely make enough to cover their production costs.

The supposed income that schools receive from turbines is misleading. If a district, for example, receives $200,000, the state will decrease that amount in foundation money to the district.  Hence, there isn’t any advantage to district’s that have the turbines….

 

via Logan-Hardin Neighbors United presents strong case opposing wind turbines Audio included | Peak of Ohio.

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of OHIO!!

Ohio is in the belly of the beast, if the beast is our current renewable energy lobbying group. They are extremely well-funded and deep-pocketed thanks to decades of taxpayer subsidies.  Although many states have attempted to repeal their renewable mandates, Ohio is the closest to the finishing line, so the groups are putting tremendous pressure on our Governor to veto these bills. Who crosses the finish line first is anyone’s guess, but it will be a tremendous test for our Governor. Who will he side with? The citizens or special interest groups????

Also of interest, is a claim in this article by Everpower that the extended setback included in the Ohio Mid-biennium Budget Review applies to the Scioto Ridge Wind Farm.  We do not understand why he thinks this way.  Our interpretation of an analysis by the Legislative Service Commission, is that  applications approved by the Ohio Power Siting Board prior to this amendment are grandfathered in.  This is merely a plea for help by Everpower….

Two legislative efforts nearing the governor’s desk would result in significant challenges for the company developing wind farms in Hardin and Logan counties.

The first was a bill poised for Ohio House passage Wednesday that would pause Ohio’s targets for solar, wind and other renewable sources for two years to let a 12-member legislative commission study the matter. The mandates continue in 2017 unless lawmakers act.

The bill, Senate Bill 310 passed by the Senate in April, would freeze a direction the state had been headed in since 2008, that by 2025, 25 percent of the electricity in Ohio must come from renewable and advanced sources. Wind farm companies had been moving in quickly in the state.

The second is an amendment placed by the Senate Finance Committee into the state’s Mid-Biennium Budget Review, House Bill 483, which would increase the amount of setback required for wind farm turbines. Currently, a setback is measured from a neighboring home; the new legislation would require the measurement begin at a neighboring property line….

Tom Stacy, a spokesman with Save Western Ohio, one of the groups opposed to the wind farms, said not addressing the mandate will mean electricity rates in Ohio will continue to escalate unnecessarily.

 

The subsidy, market, technical and indirect cost implications of wind electricity are enormous, and driving rates up unnecessarily will cost the state billions, in addition to the possibility of losing tens of thousands of jobs in energy-intensive industries,” Stacy said.

via Legislation would pose challenges for Hardin, Logan wind farm –.