American Elephants

The Stimulus Isn’t Creating Any Jobs Here, But It’s Creating Lots of Jobs in China by The Elephant's Child
November 14, 2009, 4:50 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Economy, Energy, Environment | Tags: , ,

Since the beginning of September, of the $1 billion in clean-energy stimulus money, $850 million has gone to foreign wind companies.  Doesn’t take a hastily planned “jobs summit” to discuss why this possibly isn’t the way to create American jobs.

The eleven U.S. wind farms that received money from the Treasury are importing 695 of the 982 wind turbines to be installed, creating 4,500 jobs — overseas.  That’s way more than the number of jobs created in the United States.

A joint venture of American and Chinese companies  has unveiled plans for a new $1.5 billion, 36,000 acre, wind farm in West Texas consisting of 240 Chinese-made turbines.  The project is seeking government stimulus funding for 30 percent of its costs.  Best estimate is that all this money will create a grand total of 30 permanent jobs.

Bailouts and stimulus funds always fail to work as advertised.  (There is a history to be studied).  And they always cause more problems than they solve.

Wind energy is always subject to vast amounts of hype.  They talk in “rated-capacity” instead of actual energy. Jon Boone explains at Master Resource:

A wind project with a rated capacity of 100 MW, for example, with 40 skyscraper-sized turbines, would likely produce an annual average of only 27 MW, an imperceptible fraction of energy for most grid systems. More than 60% of the time, it would produce less than 27 MW, and at peak demand times, often produce nothing. It would rarely achieve its rated capacity, producing most at times of least demand.

William Tucker explains that the “Age of Renewables” will really be an age of natural gas, or we’re not going to have much electricity:

Windmills and solar plants generating base-load power are little more than a nuisance to electrical-grid operators. They’re very difficult to incorporate because they’re intermittent and unpredictable. It’s like trying to walk a high wire and having somebody shake the wire…

Wind, however, comes and goes. It’s hard to predict for more than a few hours in advance — an unpredictability aggravated by the physics of windmills. Electrical output varies with the cube of wind speed.

There’s a simple solution, however — couple wind and solar with natural gas turbines. These are basically jet engines bolted to the ground. They don’t boil water so they can be started and stopped in just a few seconds. It’s a very expensive and inefficient way to generate electricity but good for short-term output.  Most utilities have “peakers” that sit around all year waiting to meet those few hours during the summer when utilities strain to meet peak demands.

So the solution to wind and solar’s intermittency is to put a natural-gas turbine next to each windmill and solar panel. They can even be hooked up by computer. Then every time the wind dies down or the sun goes behind a cloud, the gas turbine can be fired up. That way consistent voltage balance can be maintained. (If voltage on the grid varies by more than 5 percent it can either cause blackouts or damage electrical equipment.

This works only with very large subsidies.  No big subsidies, no renewable energy.  Across the world without government subsidy, wind farms shut down.  But they are such a lovely Utopian ideal.  Trouble is the hopenchange crowd just do not learn from facts, physics  or history.  They keep insisting that this time it will work!

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