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Will wind power cut CO2?

Less for More

The primary reason industial wind power is being promoted so extensively is its inherent promise to reduce CO2 emissions by replacing conventional power production. In a well-researched and scholarly article published in December, Jon Boone reveals the fallacy of this premise. According to his research, "Wind plants are unable either to mitigate the need for additional conventional power generation in the face of increased demand or to reliably augment power during times of peak demand. Ironically, as more wind installations are added, almost equal conventional power generation must also be brought on line. Crucially important, wind technology, because of the inherently random variations of the wind, will not reduce meaningful levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide produced from fossil-fueled generation." For the complete story, read the full article and then follow up with a recent companion article by Wolverton and Bliven that carries the argument even further.

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Blogger Bill Says:

Dear George,

Thank you for your comments and suggestion. I will ask Sandy Riley and Rick Towner if either of them has a copy of the Comptroller's report that you've mentioned. I'd like to read it.

I'm trusting that your speech problem doesn't interfere with your ability to read and understand at all, because I think you would appreciate the study by Jon Boone that I referenced in this post. His paper doesn't investigate the economics of wind power but concentrates on the question of whether wind power actually displaces CO2 production in any significant way. It seems like a simple equation that each MW of "clean" energy produced by wind generators would displace an equal amount of "dirty" energy. Unfortunately, things apparently aren't that simple, however, partly because the intermittent, out of phase power generated by wind ends up requiring an equivalent amount of conventional generating capacity to cover for the times when the wind isn't blowing.

When you get a chance, please read Jon Boone's article through and let me know what you think, and I'll do the same with the Comptroller's report. Thanks again!

Blogger Bill Says:

Dear George,

In followup, Rick Towner gave me a copy of the OSC report you recommended and I've looked it over and written a short response, posted here. Have you had a chance to read the analysis by Jon Boone that I recommended yet?


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