Thursday, August 13, 2009

Barry Brook and Peter Lang Blow Windmills Away

Barry Brook with the assistance of Peter Lang has added a new post to his wind discussion, Wind and Carbon Emissions - Peter Lang Responds. The new post contains Lang's responses to the objections that were raised Barry's first post on Lang's assessment on wind. Lang sees the same things I do about wind:
The total electricity generation system must be able to provide peak power when there is no output from the wind turbines. When wind power is zero, or near zero, at the time of peak demand, we need total back up for all the wind generators. This is because electricity demand must be matched by supply at all times.
Lang counts the cost of a wind system
With wind power, we need the full capital cost of 1) the wind farms, PLUS 2) the conventional generators, PLUS 3) the transmission capacity for the full power output for each wind farm (despite the fact they produce, optimistically, just 30% of their rated power output on average), PLUS 4) the enhanced power and stability control systems. The cost of the wind generators does not offset virtually any capital cost for conventional generators in a system that has a substantial proportion of wind generation capacity.

The GHG emissions are the total of the full life cycle emissions from the wind farms, from the operation and maintenance of the wind farms and the enhanced grid, from the embedded emissions in the conventional generator systems, and from the emissions from the fuel combustion in the conventional generators operating in back up mode (which are higher per MWh than when operating at their optimum)
Clearly Barry Brook and Peter Lang has given us a major statement on the cost and effectiveness of wind generation systems.

4 comments:

John said...

Spot on! This point of excessive capital cost for a system on which nil reliance can be placed at the critical moment is all that need be said about wind power.

John Robertson

Jason Ribeiro said...

I think, unfortunately, a lot of money will be spent on wind turbines in the next 10-12 years for these observations to become painful facts. The positive side effect of this will be that utilities will gravitate toward more nuclear as a better investment and grid system asset especially after carbon control legislation is enacted.

KLA said...

No Jason, I think not.
After 10-12 years of extensive wind turbine building, with the expected zero result, electrical energy wil grow too expensive.
This expensive energy causes industry to leave the country over that period to lower energy cost countries.
This causes the energy demand to be significantly lower for the leftover economy.
However, without jobs provided by the (now departed) industry, people still can't pay for it, lowering demand even further.
In the end you have a 3rd world country that CAN be powered by windmills for a short time, but cannot replace them when they fail.

Finrod said...

In the end you have a 3rd world country that CAN be powered by windmills for a short time, but cannot replace them when they fail.

This may be the whole point.

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