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Chart of the Day: The Collapse of Wind Power

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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 12:42 PM
Original message
Chart of the Day: The Collapse of Wind Power
By Kevin Drum| Mon Mar. 21, 2011 10:03 AM PDT

Stuart Staniford points out today that the pace of new wind power installations has cratered in the United States:

We need much more wind power. When wind power goes wrong, it kills the odd bird or maybe the occasional worker. Some people don't like the look of the towers. But we need power, and wind power doesn't destabilize the climate, and it doesn't irradiate hundreds of square miles of farmland. So this collapse in investment is terrible news.

I understand why the US congress and the Obama administration was not able to pass climate change legislation, but it's a terrible commentary on their energy/environmental policy that they weren't even able to maintain the pace of growth in wind installation.

What caused this? Wind projects have big capital requirements and long lead times, of course, so this could just be a delayed reaction from the 2008 financial crisis. If anybody out there can offer up a better explanation, I'm all ears.

http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/03/chart-day-col...
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snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
1. K&R'd
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
2. More likely they got approval for all the non-contentious sites early on...
and are now fighting NIMBYism, environmental groups, etc... for the rest.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #2
12. The article has two points wrong wind doesn't have long lead times and the projects are modest
...compared to conventional generation.

As to Nimbyism, not so much; but there is a lot of asroturfing going on. I interviewed an guy posing as an opponent as part of some research I did. The area had about a 92% rate of support for the project overall. I tracked hhim back to his supposed identity and it was bogus, but he has a website with all the photo's and trash we've come to expect from such operations.
No, the problem is largely the recession bottleneck in financing and regulatory uncertainty deliberately introduced by republicans pushing nuclear and coal.

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Scuba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 01:00 PM
Response to Original message
3. But tax rebates to the most profitable industry in the history of commerce....
...but they can't own the wind. Or the sun.

So they declare those sources of energy "not feasible". Discussion over.

We need more people in the streets.
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jeff47 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
4. Why you won't see more in upstate NY: NIMBY
The local residents got together and blocked the construction of high-tension power lines. These power lines were the link from a large wind farm to the rest of the grid. Now that wind farm is mostly idle.

Nobody's gonna build any new wind farms around here with that kind of financial beating.
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. (As has been suggested above)
Edited on Mon Mar-21-11 01:22 PM by OKIsItJustMe
Some of the best sites in Upstate NY have been taken advantage of.
http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/wind_resource_maps.a...
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jeff47 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. Some of them have.
Most of them haven't. And there won't be any more any time soon because the risk of not being able to send the power anywhere.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #11
15. The wind resource for the East Coast is offshore. It is huge and the regulatory ...
... structure for leading rights to wind developers is just opening the door for moving ahead.



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jeff47 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #15
18. Unfortunately, the power has to get into the grid somehow.
And there's lots of NIMBY going around preventing that.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 11:27 AM
Response to Reply #18
21. Now you are just making shit up.
Edited on Tue Mar-22-11 11:27 AM by kristopher
That is 100% false. I study this for a living and your falsehoods aren't going to go unmet.
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jeff47 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. Perhaps you should look upthread a bit?
You know, the part where I talk about a nearby wind farm that is mostly idle because NIMBY prevented the interconnect necessary to send the power to the grid?

Or perhaps we should talk about cape wind, since that got national attention, and how NIMBY kept that tied up for years?

Or do you believe that people have suddenly developed a fondness for high-voltage power lines?
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. That has nothing to do with offshore wind.
http://gigaom.com/cleantech/google-backs-offshore-wind-... /

That wasn't nimby it was astroturfing. Cape Wind is in the front yard of the Koch brothers Cape Cod Estate and they are the prime mover behind the opposition.

You really do love those right wing myths about renewables, don't you?

Got any others you'd care to share?
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jeff47 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 12:33 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. Perhaps you should read your own link?
Paragraph 3: "There are major barriers to getting these built, including financing, regulations, and the always-fun NIMBY."

Or perhaps you should alert us to your method of getting power from offshore farms onto the grid without using any high voltage power lines?
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 12:38 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. What does california have to do with the Atlantic Byte?
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jeff47 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #25
27. What does CA have to do with any of this?
The article you linked talked about wind farms in the Atlantic.

Let's review:

Me: NIMBY makes it hard to hook up wind farms to the grid. People have blocked running high-voltage power lines from a local wind farm, leaving that farm idle.

You: Offshore wind, baby!!!!

Me: Still gonna have the NIMBY problem getting the power on-shore.

You: NUH-UH!!!!!!!!%# You're a liar! Here's an article proving you're wrong!

Me: That article explicitly mentions the NIMBY problem.

You: What does california have to do with the Atlantic Byte?



Are you gonna keep throwing out random stuff? I'd like to know so I can stop wasting time trying to understand your replies.
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AtheistCrusader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
5. Wow, that's almost enough to replace the Brown's Ferry nuclear plant.
Almost.
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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. In one year. How long did BF take to build? n/t
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AtheistCrusader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 01:42 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. 7 years.
Back in the 60's.

It's also happily digesting materials that were used in nuclear weapons programs, so there's that aspect of it too.

Granted, I'm not really in favor of keeping it around, its an aging mark 1 containment, just like the Fukushima 1 reactors.

Just pointing out how dissapointing these numbers are. Wind isn't even keeping up with new power demand yet, let alone allowing us to take offline coal plants, further let alone nuclear.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Then there is the whole capacity factor issue.
The numbers in the chart are peak power. Capacity factor determines what actual energy creates is.

The capacity factor of wind is 20%-30% depending on the site and technology. The capacity factor of a coal plant is 80%+. The capacity factor of a nuclear plant in the US is 95%+.

In terms of actual output the numbers are even worse.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 10:49 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. Capacity factor is a nuclear industry red herring
The use of capacity factor as a measure of the "best technology" is a red herring designed to deflect attention from a wide array of very important considerations that score poorly for centralized thermal generation. Large scale centralized thermal generation refers to systems that burn fuel to heat water to produce steam to run a generator. Coal nuclear and natural gas all have the potential for high capacity factors.

Since wind and solar both have significantly lower capacity factors, this is the favorite point of attack by those supporting Republican energy plans.

What that attack ignores is that actual capacity factor a system operates under is as more a function of the designed system of the grid than an unchangeable characteristic of how a grid must be operated.

It is entirely possible to design and operate a grid with a combination of technologies ALL having low operational capacity factors.

Here is a link to a Scientific American article that demonstrates how this can be accomplished.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-path...


Two things matter in this aspect of the comparison between nuclear and renewables:
1) Cost per unit of DELIVERED electricity and
2) how fast we can deploy it.

Wind is the hand down winner with at least a 4 to 1 advantage in both areas.
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #8
16. Those numbers aren't disappointing, wind has been growing at an incredible rate.
How many new US reactors have come online lately?
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txlibdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #5
26. I wondered how many coal plants have been shut down because of all that wind power?
n/t
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damntexdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
9. I still see the big wind-turbine blades heading north on I35.
But maybe many of them were funded before the recession.
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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 10:51 AM
Response to Original message
14. Gee - there was no serious global economic trouble in 2010 - was there?
and wind power installations will rebound in 2011

yup
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kristopher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. The nuke spin merchants are out in full force today. It's clearly all hands on deck ...
..at the NEI.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #14
19. Compared to 2009? No 2010 was a pretty good year compared to 2009.
Job growth, GDP growth, higher availability of credit, low interest rates.

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jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. Wind projects in the pipeline account for installations in 2009 - there was a lag period
that only manifested itself in thge decline 2010

and the rebound will take place in 2011.

There are a lot of wind projects (hundreds of MW) in late development in my neck of the woods that will come on line in 2011 and 2012.

yup
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