One of the greatest misconceptions of wind energy is we can build turbines to replace conventional, traditional coal power plants. Now why would anyone ever think a completely moronic stupid thought like that? Maybe you heard one of the highest energy officials in our country saying that we may not need to build ANY new coal or nuclear plants, not any never! That was stated by our the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Joel Wellinghoff, as quoted in a 4/22/09 new article. That is completely insane and sadly, President Obama has surrounded himself with complete nitwits who know little or nothing about the real world practicalities of wind energy.
Let’s look at real-time output of wind farms that are in operation right now. Click here to see Irish Wind. In Ireland I estimate there are about 600 wind turbines with a maximum output of 1,000 MW, which is the size of an average moderately large coal power plant. The chart below plots the wind turbine output of the entire island on 1/1/2010. Look at 9:00am when the output was about 35 MW or about 3% of the potential total output of 1000 MW. Click the link above and then click previous day to see how variable wind power is, even when there are 500 turbines, many of them on coastal locations spread throughout the relatively large island of Ireland. Click backwards to December 30th and you can see the results of a very windy day when the output was over 900 MW, but for a very short period of time. How could wind power replace any power plant, when just about every day there are period of time when the output is less than 10% of maximum?
Here is another very sad example. Bonneville Power in Oregon. Click here to go to their company site. At the link, below the graph, Bonneville states they have 2680MW of installed wind. Likely most of these turbines are the older models rated at 1.5MW, with a few more rated 2.0MW and the very newest turbines rated at 3.0MW. With an average of 1.75MW the 2680 MW equals a guess of 1500 turbines. How much do they cost? Go to the cost section of WindIndustry.org web site and they write “The costs for a commercial scale wind turbine in 2007 ranged from $1.2 million to $2.6 million, per MW of nameplate capacity installed.” If we used $2.0 million per MW as middle ground then the total of the Bonnevile turbines are $3 BILLION DOLLARS. The chart below show the latest wind output and energy production in MW’s. As you can see on January 1st there was a spike of wind and the average of Jan 1st to Jan 2nd would be about 30% of the possible 2680 MW’s. Now, look at the rest of the week, on December 31st and the three days from Jan 3rd to Jan 6th there was almost NO OUTPUT from these 3 BILLIONS DOLLARS WORTH OF JUNK. Complete JUNK. Not only that, the turbines suck energy from the system even when they are not running! They often use the grid power to turn in low wind because if they are still for too long the blades could deform. It is so simple to see, wind power can not replace ANY CONVENTIONAL POWER PLANT, EVER. Now some would say, we should put them where they work better, the sad fact, is that there is no place(or very very few) where their output is more than 40% of their possible capacity. This is how it is, everywhere. Yet, our energy experts in Washington do not have a clue, or else there are simply deceiving us.