Location: Pantego, Texas, United States

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I have done some simple analysis that shows that the use of wind power does not provide the huge savings in CO2 emissions that environmentalists claim, despite the high capital expenditures required. The reason is that wind does not provide much power during times of maximum demand. In Texas the peak demand is on summer afternoons, a time when wind speed is low. In England maximum demand is in winter at night, also a time when wind speed is low. The shortfall in electricity generation is made up with power from natural gas fired turbines that can be started and brought up to capacity rapidly. The so-called smart grid is the environmentalist's partial answer to this problem. In theory power can be transmitted to Texas on August afternoons from faraway places where the wind does blow at that time. This prevents some, but not all of the duplication of generation capacity represented by the gas turbines, but still requires extra wind turbines. Here is an analysis of the CO2 reductions, or lack thereof, provided by wind and solar power.


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