Looking at the essentials: Commentary by Jon Boone, June 1, 2023
Wind’s existential mode of delivery puts a dagger through the heart of claims that wind can do much of anything to reduce CO2 emissions, which is the only energy related reason anyone considers deploying it. The mantra should be that wind technology is a dysfunctional solution to a non-existent problem.
There is no way that more power plants, more power lines, and the batteries they now require could somehow be cheaper. Wind turbines have shown that they last 20-25 years all told and 10-15 before they require $1,000,000 each in “repowering.” A traditional power plant lasts 60-75 years. We can have traditional power without turbines or solar, but it is not possible to have it the other way.
COMMENTARY BY JON BOONE:
I pointed this out nearly two decades ago, most forcefully in my essay, Overblown: https://www.masterresource.org/general-problems/windpower-overblown-part-1/. Wind production is NOT linear, as some suggest. Rather, it is geometric, the result of the fact that wind generation is a function of the cube of the wind speed within a fairly narrow wind speed range, typically 8-33 mph. That is, wind tech doesn’t convert wind energy into electricity until wind speeds hit 8 mph and it maxes out when it reaches its rated capacity when the wind speed hits 33 mph.
Therefore, any change in wind speed within this range, up or down, results in substantial volatility. Because supply must match demand precisely at all times, conventional generation, overwhelmingly coal or natural gas fired, must be continuously entangled with wind to balance the grid, in the process creating substantial heat rate penalties that largely negate any CO2 offsets wind may have produced at the front end of its performance.
And let’s be clear: there is NO BACKUP for wind. The idea is absurd. There is only continuously entangled but always inefficiently operating conventional power plants that make wind production appear whole.
The stark reality is, the more wind, the more need for fossil fired power plants—if modern society desires a future maintaining reliable secure electricity 24/7/365.25. Even so, more wind only makes this enterprise more expensive, less affordable for the poor—without any benefit, including meaningful reductions in CO2 emissions. All other issues surrounding the wind mess—noise, birds/bats, property devaluation, scenic viewshed destruction, etc.—pale once there is widespread understanding that wind technology cannot achieve the basic goals proponents claim for it. In reality, windscrapers only increase the scale of their problem.