Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Answer Is Blowing In The Wind

A few weeks ago I spoke with a friend that develops wind power projects in Colorado.  He told me that new wind turbines are now being designed with smaller generators using larger blades and the have capacity factors of over 50% in windy places like Colorado or Iowa.   This absolutely amazing!  Ten years ago it was state of the art to gain wind power with a capacity factor of 25%.  The doubling of the capacity factor implies halving of the unit cost of power generation if the capital cost remained constant.

I called General Electric and they confirmed their new turbines with 1.6 megawatts of output and equipped with blades of over 100 meters in diameter will achieve a capacity factor that exceeds 50%.  They also confirmed that wind power can now be generated for under 5 cents per kilowatt hour without any government subsidy.  This is great news and now that we has abundant supply of natural gas for gas fired power stations it makes sense to have wind and natural gas generate as much of the electricity as is possible.  I am not sure that the government needs to continue funding wind energy now that its cost has reached parity with the grid, but the massive subsidies for wind energy are continuing.  After these subsidies the levelized cost of producing wind energy from new wind farms can be as low as 2.6 cents per kilowatt hour.

The link below that my wife found gives very interesting facts on wind energy and is worth looking at.

Wind energy is certainly a success story in the renewable energy portfolio as is silicon based solar cells.  The PV and wind energy power are now competitive with the grid and the government should now use the money for education and healthcare and let these industries stand on their own feet.

In Delaware, the federal court ruled that the challenge to Bloom Energy deal did have a basis and that Fuel Cell Energy a company that competes with Bloom has standing to bring Governor Markell to court for the shady deal he and his administration concocted to use dirty, inefficient and expensive Bloom Coffins instead of wind and PV power.  Note the folks in the first state are paying approximately 22 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity under the bloomdoggle.  this is more than four times as expensive as wind energy without subsidy and eight times as expensive with subsidy.

The Delaware surcharge is the nonsense Governor Markell invented to pretend that the dirty power from Bloom Coffins were in fact a replacement for wind and solar that should have been built in the first state.  In a smoke and sulfur filled room, the Governor and Bloom plotted how the rate payers in Delaware would unfairly and illegally subsidize Bloom so that the governor’s friends Al Gore, John Doerr, and Colin Powell could get the money (massive subsidy) from DELMARVA’s customers. 

Had wind projects been built in Delaware there probably would be no need for subsidies and certainly there would not be the massive CO2 emissions and vast quantities of hazardous sulfur containing solid waste that the Bloom Coffins create.  Governor Markell in his haste to help his friends has now burdened his citizens with long term unnecessary subsidies and is adversely affecting the citizens’ physical health and wellbeing. 

Governor Markell it is great you will be hauled to federal court to explain this.  Bravo to the federal magistrate who wants the rule of law to return to most corrupt state in the union.  I do hope that the Bloom Coffins are ripped out of the coastal zone where they should never have been placed and are replaced with wind turbines that need no massive subsidy and do not emit copious amounts of harmful CO2 and VOCs into the air.  Also the owners of the wind farms will not sneak out tons of hazardous sulfur laden solid waste in tanks as Bloom has admitted to doing.  Yes I have written evidence directly from Bloomdoggle that they have removed sulfur in tanks from their coffins in the coastal zone of Delaware. 

In the coming months Governor Markell and his Environmental Secretary Colin O’Mara may be buried just like the hidden sulfur waste.  These two civil servants are the prime architects of the Bloom Greenwashing Boondoggle in the first state that I won a national journalism award for exposing.    I can’t wait to hear their defense of their corrupt deal with Al Gore and his partners.   Bet you all these thermodynamic clowns scatter to the four winds


  1. I say level the playing field. If wind is expected to relinquish its subsidies, so should CONG (coal, oil, nuclear, natural gas) who have been entitled to subsides far, far longer than the wind industry. With the exception of biofuels, historically, fossil fuel subsidies have been ~13 times larger than renewable energy systems technologies. Eliminating fossil-fuel subsidies could bring economic and environmental benefits.

    The following is about four years old:

    1950–2010. ...oil, natural gas, and coal received $369 billion, $121 billion, and $104 billion (2010 dollars), respectively, or 70% of total energy subsidies over that period. Oil, natural gas, and coal benefited most from percentage depletion allowances and other tax-based subsidies, but oil also benefited heavily from regulatory subsidies such as exemptions from price controls and higher-than-average rates of return allowed on oil pipelines. The MISI report found that non-hydro renewable energy (primarily wind and solar) benefited from $74 billion in federal subsidies, or 9% of the total, largely in the form of tax policy and direct federal expenditures on research and development (R&D). Nuclear power benefited from $73 billion in federal subsidies, 9% of the total, largely in the form of R&D, while hydro power received $90 billion in federal subsidies, 12% of the total.

    Citation: Management Information Services, Inc. (October 2011). 60 Years of Energy Incentives: Analysis of Federal Expenditures for Energy Development

    I was looking for the latest on the EIA web site, but most of the reports I located, to date, date back to 2010, too.

  2. Hear, hear. Subsidies when technology is immature makes sense to me - but there has to be the fundamental thermodynamics to back it up. There has to be transparency in how these are applied instead of the crony-subsidies in the past. Energy subsidies should be awarded by a commissioned body (somehow - tough to do) that separates the money from the politicians. No more buying votes with (corn, oil, gas, bloom, etc) subsidies!

  3. With the excepting of NG, with this increased capacity, wind is the cheapest way to generate electricity. And NG is only temporarily cheaper due to a supply glut--this cheaper price, however, does not include the cost of carbon released.

    I wish all industries, conventional and renewables, would perform LCA that address ALL externalities, so there would be an honest assessment of true fuel costs across the board, so we could witness where the chips fall, and then 'fairly' discern where subsidies should be extricated.

    I think a lot of folks like to poke the bear at renewable energy systems technologies, but ALL power plants, renewable and conventional, require steel and concrete for construction, which are high carbon emitting industries.

    OR, I say continue subsidizing domestic fossil fuel production, subsidize fossil fuel alternatives, and subsidize renewables, if they all reduce foreign oil dependence.

    All in all, I think it would be more economically efficient to properly price externalities than to provide subsidies. I continue to wait for leadership to have the political will to price carbon and other externalities, altho it may already be too late to expect this to happen--the positive feedback loop of climate instability is already in full-effect, in my opinion.


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