Reality Check

1. Calculating the Real Cost of Industrial Wind Power: An Information Update for Ontario Electricity Consumers. 2007.


Energy experts report that industrial wind power is proving to be exceptionally expensive to consumers once required backup and additional infrastructure are factored in. The high cost is caused by (a) the need to maintain backup generating reserve to cover times when the wind does not blow. (b) The need to stabilize the grid when wind produces power that is not needed by current demand. (c) Government subsidization and tax benefits for the wind industry.


U.K energy expert David White BSc, C Eng, F I Chem E writes:


The assessment of the national emissions benefit . . . has to be based on      the extent to which wind generated power can displace conventionally generated power from the total electricity supply system on a minute by minute basis…. any calculation of the CO2 emissions reduction from wind must take into account the quantity of conventional generating capacity that has to be retained in varying states of readiness while the wind-generated power is taken into the grid.  


The German Electricity generating Authority E-OnNetz report of 2004:


“The massive increase in construction of new wind power plants in recent years has greatly increased the need for wind-related reserve capacity (conventional generation). This new generation would be apart from firm generation necessary to meet expectations of increased demand, and installed at 90 percent of the nameplate capacity of aggregate wind plant, using more conventional fuels in the process, producing copious carbon emissions as much or more than if wind facilities had never existed.           


The Ireland Electricity Supply Board National Grid (ESB) stresses the consequential cost-effects of wind generation and their assessment in meeting the EU target will entail a 15% increase in electricity cost.


In Denmark which has one of the world’s highest concentrations of wind turbines, 80% of the wind energy that is produced has to be sold to Denmark’s neighbours Norway and Sweden at a price far below the cost of production in order to stabilize the grid. Denmark has the highest consumer electricity charges in Europe. Danish households already pay 100% more for their electricity than other European consumers.


The Tallinn report presented by the Tallinn Technical University of Estonia at the

International Energy Workshop at Laxenburg, Austria in 2003 concludes:


Participation of thermal power plants in the compensation of fluctuating production of windmills eliminates the major part of the expected positive effect of wind energy. . . . It seems reasonable to ask why wind-power is the beneficiary of such extensive support if it not only fails to achieve the CO2 reductions required, but also causes cost increases in backup, maintenance and transmission, while at the same time discouraging investment in clean, firm generation capacity.


Robert M. MacIntosh, past president of the Canadian Bankers Association said in ‘Overblown Wind’, in the Financial Post 10/21/05:


“It’s time for reality to replace ideology in energy policy”.


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