American Elephants


Don’t Cast Caution to the Winds! by The Elephant's Child

Denmark is usually cited as the world’s most successful wind-power pioneer.  Denmark is a small, flat, windy country with a population of around 5.5 million people.  Researchers have put a value on Danish wind energy.  They believe that wind power cut $167 million (1 billion kroner) off Danish electricity bills in 2005.  Danish consumers, on the other hand paid 1.4 billion kroner for subsidies for wind power.

The trouble with wind is that it doesn’t always blow when you need the electricity, and often blows when you don’t need it.  Wind power cannot be stored. Thus you must have electricity constantly available as backup for the times when the wind isn’t blowing.

Denmark relies on their neighbors, Norway and Sweden, and takes their excess production of electricity, and conversely sends it’s excess wind-power generated electricity back to the neighbors.  In 2003, the scale of subsidies caught the attention of the media, which claimed that the subsidies were out of control.  When subsidies were cut back, the building of wind turbines ground to a halt.

One of the big problems seems to be that where wind is, there are not transmission lines. Often, the wind is far from the grid.  Transmission lines run about a million dollars a mile.  Most of Denmark’s electricity comes from plants that burn imported coal.

There are some lessons here, which suggest that the “experts” in Congress should get out of the way and let the market find the way.  Congress doesn’t do well with making the rules for energy.

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2 Comments so far
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Wind energy is so unreliable that even if 13,000 turbines are built to meet EU renewable energy targets, they could be relied on to provide only seven percent of the country’s peak winter electricity demand, according to a leading power company E.On.

E.On has argued that so little wind blows during the coldest days of winter that 92 percent of installed wind capacity would have to be backed up by traditional power stations.

E.ON, based in Duesseldorf, Germany, is one of the world’s leading energy companies
They should know – they build wind farms. Germany is in the process of building over 20 new coal plants.
Source: Energy Digital

I’ve been educating people about wind energy for two years now.
If the media did it’s job – the wind industry as it’s being promoted would end very quickly.
The real story is much bigger than wind turbines.

The future is about to get very interesting.
Not sure if we are going to like it.

Comment by atomcat

The Environmental left seems to believe that we can just switch immediately to “clean alternative fuels” if they just order us to stop using fossil fuels. But then Nancy Pelosi is unaware that natural gas is a fossil fuel. So go figure.

Thanks for your input! The trouble is that journalists get their information from the Society of Environmental Journalists where they learn about environmental problems from — each other. The absence of any scientists from their programs or advisers is notable, and the few scientists who address their meetings are Stephen Schneider, RFK jr,and Amory Lovins. Sigh!

Comment by The Elephant's Child




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