Wind Energy = Reduced Carbon Emissions

We repeatedly hear that the nation, the world, must convert its powerplants to renewable wind energy technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

From the American Wind Energy Association – 

Wind turbines are extremely effective at reducing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the leading greenhouse gas. 

From the Global Wind Energy Council

Wind energy has a considerable impact on avoiding greenhouse gases and combating climate change. The global capacity of 94 GW of wind capacity will save about 122 million tons of CO2 every year, which is equivalent to around 20 large coal fired power stations. 

From the British Wind Energy Association – 

Wind power is a clean, renewable source of energy which produces no greenhouse gas emissions or waste products. 

From today’s Wall Street Journal – 

Not true.

 

While it is true that a 750KW wind turbine driven generator produces no carbon emissions, wind turbines are not reliable as continuous sources of motive force for generators.  We have gotten spoiled to the reliable and continuous availability of electric power, and the wind has a bad habit of ceasing to blow.  As such, wind farms must be backed up with coal or natural gas fired plants.

But, you might argue, if the coal or gas plants are running at reduced capacity, or being cycled off and on, there will be a net reduction in the emissions from their burnt fuel.  It’s a reasonable argument, but not a valid one.  For just as your car runs more efficiently, and gets better gas mileage, on an open highway than in a rush hour traffic jam, a conventional power plant runs more efficiently, and pollutes less, when operated at a generally constant load near its best efficiency point.

A study released in April and performed by Bentek Energy, an energy analysis firm based in Colorado, concluded that in spite of large investments in windmills to generate electricity in Colorado, the net effect on carbon emissions has been “minimal.  Their study found that, because of cycling coal fired plants in support of wind energy, Colorado saw at least 94,000 more pounds of CO2 emitted in 2009.

So, in addition to the falsehoods being “emitted” by the left regarding the wonderful economic benefits of wind energy, now we know that they are misrepresenting the environmental benefits as well.

And let’s not even talk about the impact on wildlife.

This country needs to invest in nuclear facilities and natural gas powered facilities, and avoid wind and solar energy until it can provide safe, reliable, continuous power without government subsidies.  That day will come when the sun never sets and the wind never ceases to blow.

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