Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

07.28 A RENEGADE TRAWLER, HUNTED FOR 10,000 MILES BY VIGILANTES

07.28 Gaius Publius: One Way to Ease the Worldwide Water Crisis — End Privatization

07.28 UK authorities 'lack resources' to investigate Trafigura over toxic waste

07.28 Hillary Clinton’s Plan To Combat Climate Change With Half-A-Billion Solar Panels

07.28 James Hansen Spells Out Climate Danger Of The ‘Hyper-Anthropocene’ Age

07.27 ETS would be more cost-effective than higher renewables target, analyst says

07.27 Alaskan villages imperiled by global warming need resources to relocate

07.26 A Millennial Named Bush

07.26 'Beepocalypse Not': Alec lobbyists abuzz in defense of pesticides amid die-offs [Koch bros. lobbying group expands its willful ignorance of science beyond climate change]

07.25 The nine green policies killed off by the Tory government

News Media

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

07.28 History and the Iran Debate: Sides and Arguments Line Up

07.28 Is the Democratic Party Abandoning Jefferson and Jackson?

07.28 The Guardian view on Donald Trump’s early lead in the race for the Republican nomination

07.27 Socialism, American-Style [Bernie Sanders wants more efficient or profitable public programs to make the U.S. competitive again]

07.27 Hillary Clinton aides' Wall Street links raise economic policy doubts

07.27 Rand Paul pushes to defund Planned Parenthood as group cites 'smear' effort

07.27 Rick Perry calls for more guns in cinemas following Lafayette shooting

07.26 Is this how the Establishment takes down Outsiders like Bernie Sanders? [4:20 video]

07.26 Between the World and Me: 10,000 Years From Tomorrow [We must treat all people as family, and kick ourselves everytime we don't]

07.26 Are Americans More Pessimistic About Race—or More Realistic?

07.26 Obama’s Evolving Outrage on Guns

Justice Matters

07.27 35 women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault told their stories to New York Magazine

07.27 Fiat Chrysler Faces Record $105 Million Fine for Safety Issues

High Crimes?

07.28 Thailand dismisses US criticism over human trafficking and slavery

Economics, Crony Capitalism

07.27 Greece rocked by reports of secret plan to raid banks for drachma return

07.27 How the Euro Turned Into a Trap [If loans are denominated in euros and dollars how would using and devaluing the drachma help?]

07.26 Puerto Rico debt crisis: austerity for residents, but tax breaks for hedge funds [another government by and for the rich, paid for by the poor]

International

07.28 Huckabee defends claim that Iran deal will 'march Israelis to oven door'

07.28 Goals Diverge and Perils Remain as U.S. and Turkey Take on ISIS

07.28 What’s behind Beijing’s drive to control the South China Sea? [long read]

07.27 In An Effort To Save The African Elephant, Obama Proposes Ban On Almost All U.S. Ivory Sales

07.27 Is the Ugly German Back? Flames of Hate Haunt a Nation

07.27 Who’d be young and Greek? Searching for a future after the debt crisis

07.27 Turkey agrees plan for 'Isis-free zone' along Syrian border

07.26 The Insecure World of Freelancing

07.26 Zimbabwean authorities hunt Spaniard accused of killing Cecil the lion [immoral]

07.26 Turkey sends in jets as Syria’s agony spills over every border

07.26 Solar is bringing a new world to women in Zimbabwe

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Print view: Pulling Back the Curtain on Wind Power
ENVIRONMENT VIEWPOINT:

Pulling Back the Curtain on Wind Power

by Ajax Eastman
Tuesday, 1 February 2011
Because wind turbines are minimally productive more than half the time, fossil fuel power plants will be needed as backups and will contribute to greenhouse gases.

Ever wonder why sailing ships no longer ply the oceans with goods and passengers? It’s a question wind energy advocates might ask themselves. They ignore the fact that the wind doesn’t blow consistently, even though its intermittent nature makes wind an undependable source of power and restricts wind generators from consistently reaching their potential.

The relative effectiveness of a generation facility to produce electricity is called its c"apacity factor," or CF for short. It is the ratio of what a generating plant actually produces compared to what it nominally could produce at full capacity. The annual average CF for wind turbines located offshore is about 40 percent, but that falls to about 25 percent during the summer, when the winds are weakest. For wind turbines located onshore the annual average CF is about 30 percent, and can drop to 13 percent in the summer.

Proponents of wind power argue it is a good choice because, among other things, it reduces greenhouse gasses. They compare industrial wind energy with power plants fueled by oil, coal, and natural gas that generate tons of carbon dioxide. However, they fail to recognize that because of the unpredictable nature of wind, carbon-fueled plants will continue to underpin the load. This is particularly true in the summer, when the winds are at their lowest and the demand for power is highest.

Proponents of wind almost never compare industrial wind to nuclear power, probably because in every aspect of electricity generation nuclear beats wind by a long shot. The following are informative comparisons.

Capacity factors:

The capacity factor of the 104 nuclear reactors operating in the United States is 90 percent. In other words, nuclear facilities crank out electricity around the clock, 365 days of the year, at pretty near their total capacity. Compare that to the results of a study from a group of wind power advocates at the University of Delaware that modeled data from off shore meteorological stations from Maine to the Florida Keys. Their results show that a large offshore turbine array would attain a 90 percent capacity factor only 2.2 days a year. Their numbers show that 20,000 five megawatt turbines would be needed to equal the full generating capacity of those 104 reactors. Even 1,200 turbines would not supply electricity as dependably as a new reactor like the one proposed at Calvert Cliffs in Maryland.

Greenhouse gas reduction:

Neither wind turbines nor nuclear reactors emit carbon dioxide. But because wind turbines are minimally productive more than half the time, fossil fuel power plants will be needed as backups and will contribute to greenhouse gases. Note that no coal-fired facility has been closed due to the installation of wind turbines.

Electricity rates and costs:

The proponents of wind use the high cost of building nuclear reactors to argue that the electricity they produce will be costly. They’re wrong because they fail to account for the low efficiency of wind; for the need for carbon-fired backup plants to compensate; for the much shorter working lives of wind turbines; and for the enormous subsidies, grants, tax incentives, and tax breaks from federal, state, and local governments. In fact, the expensive wind turbines, especially offshore, would never be built without these subsidies that in some cases pay for 50 percent of the project’s cost.

After coal, nuclear is the least costly generator of electricity for the rate payer. After solar, wind is the most expensive.

In Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley has introduced legislation that will mandate Maryland’s public utilities to commit to long-term contracts to purchase offshore wind-generated electricity in order to guarantee a market for offshore wind, even though it will increase costs to ratepayers. In Massachusetts millions of ratepayers can expect a two percent hike in their electric bills due to the planned Cape Wind project.

Environmental impacts:

The proposed Calvert Cliffs 3 nuclear reactor would be sited on about 350 acres. The 1,200 offshore wind turbines needed to produce the same amount of energy would require 74,000 acres. Onshore, 2,400 turbines would be needed and would require 8,500 acres. This is a lot of land or water and a big impact on the rich mountain ecosystems and habitats or ocean ecosystems about which we know little.

There are numerous reasons why nuclear energy should be seriously pursued. But the question here is: should inefficient industrial wind be pushed blindly given its potential for greatly increasing our energy bills, requiring up to 50 percent taxpayer investment, and causing enormous environmental damage?

We should rewrite state laws, like Maryland’s Renewable Portfolio Standard or Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, as Clean Energy Portfolio Standards that include new nuclear reactors. Such a change would greatly expand clean, non-carbon emitting solutions for future electricity demands.


Reader response

Ajax Eastman has served on the board of the Maryland Environmental Trust, as past President of the Maryland Conservation Council, Co-chairman of the Maryland Wildlands Committee, and on numerous other State boards and commissions. Her love of the natural world began early at a summer camp in Maine where today she teaches nature to young campers. Distributed by Bay Journal News Service.



Copyright © 2010 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on February 1, 2010.
 


Public Service Ads: