Making the case for wind power  

Posted by Big Gav in

Jerome has a post at TOD Europe pointing out that wind power is a substantial and fast growing component of our energy supply - contrary to some of the myths being produced by the nuclear power lobby - Making the case for wind, again.

I must admit that I have been a bit nonplussed to see that the peak oil community seems to share the oil industry's dismissal of wind power as irrelevant and useless in the face of the currently energy challenge (maybe I am unfairly judging from a few individuals' comments, but it's definitely an existing undercurrent in the community).

So, in reaction, let me put up here a few arguments that suggest that wind could play a major role in solving our current energy woes - not a silver bullet, but rather more than a side show.

First, the "wind is too small to make a difference" argument: well, so was nuclear, until it got big enough. Wind is following the exact same growth trajectory [as shown below].

Wind power has already been a large part of energy investments for a number of years now, at least in Europe (but the rest of the world is now catching up, with the USA and China booming).

Over the past 8 years, wind has represented around 40% of new installed capacity (which, it is true, represents a smaller fraction a new production, in MWh, which is probably closer to 25%). In terms of investment amounts, wind has actually been the biggest business for the power generation manufaturers like GE or Siemens, given that a wind MW costs about double what a gas MW costs (prices per MWh are something else, given that you still need to buy the natural gas to burn to generate using a gas turbine...).

Wind will be a core instrument for the EU to fulfill its stated objectives of reducing carbon emissions and improving energy independence.

So it is simply false to say that wind is too small to matter. It is the biggest power generation industry by turnover in Europe, and it is on a fast growing trend that will quickly ensure that it becomes a significant part of the installed generation base. The industry reached the level of 100 GW ofinstalled capacity this year, as well as the threshhold of being able to produce 1 exajoule per year of useful energy. In fact, wind is reaching the stage where nuclear was when it was hit by the 1973 energy shock (which lowered demand and killed new investment) and the 1979 Three Mile Island accident (which turned the public against the industry) and is unlikely to hit the same snags. ...

Under market price setting mechanisms, wind power (which has a zero marginal cost) brings wholesale prices down when it is available, by avoiding the need for more expensive coal-fired or, more usually, gas-fired power plants that would otherwise be required to balance the system.



0 comments

Post a Comment

Ads

Ads

Statistics

Locations of visitors to this page

blogspot visitor
Stat Counter

Total Pageviews

Ads

Books

Followers

News

Loading...

Blog Archive

Labels

australia (582) global warming (365) solar power (338) peak oil (321) electric vehicles (193) renewable energy (181) wind power (172) ocean energy (155) csp (144) geothermal energy (142) smart grids (139) solar thermal power (133) tidal power (132) coal seam gas (127) nuclear power (122) oil (116) lng (112) geothermal power (111) solar pv (110) china (109) iraq (108) energy storage (105) green buildings (104) natural gas (102) agriculture (85) biofuel (76) oil price (76) smart meters (72) wave power (68) electricity grid (63) energy efficiency (63) uk (63) google (55) coal (53) internet (51) food prices (48) shale gas (48) surveillance (48) bicycle (47) big brother (47) thin film solar (41) biomimicry (38) canada (38) ocean power (37) scotland (36) new zealand (35) air transport (34) algae (34) water (34) queensland (32) credit crunch (31) politics (31) shale oil (31) bioplastic (30) concentrating solar power (30) california (29) geoengineering (28) offshore wind power (28) population (28) cogeneration (27) saudi arabia (27) resource wars (26) arctic ice (25) batteries (25) censorship (25) cleantech (25) woodside (25) bruce sterling (24) drought (24) tesla (24) ctl (23) economics (22) carbon tax (20) coal to liquids (20) distributed manufacturing (20) indonesia (20) iraq oil law (20) limits to growth (20) origin energy (20) brightsource (19) buckminster fuller (19) rail transport (19) ultracapacitor (19) santos (18) ausra (17) exxon (17) lithium (17) cellulosic ethanol (16) collapse (16) electric bikes (16) mapping (16) michael klare (16) ucg (16) atlantis (15) bees (15) geodynamics (15) iceland (15) psychology (15) concentrating solar thermal power (14) ethanol (14) fertiliser (14) al gore (13) ambient energy (13) biodiesel (13) brazil (13) carbon emissions (13) cities (13) investment (13) kenya (13) biochar (12) bucky fuller (12) matthew simmons (12) otec (12) public transport (12) texas (12) victoria (12) chile (11) cradle to cradle (11) desertec (11) energy policy (11) internet of things (11) lithium ion batteries (11) terra preta (11) amory lovins (10) fabber (10) gazprom (10) goldman sachs (10) gtl (10) hybrid car (10) severn estuary (10) tinfoil (10) toyota (10) volt (10) alaska (9) biomass (9) carbon trading (9) distributed generation (9) esolar (9) fuel cells (9) jeremy leggett (9) pge (9) sweden (9) afghanistan (8) antarctica (8) arrow energy (8) big oil (8) eroei (8) floating offshore wind power (8) four day week (8) guerilla gardening (8) linc energy (8) methane (8) methane hydrates (8) nanosolar (8) natural gas pipelines (8) pentland firth (8) relocalisation (8) us elections (8) western australia (8) bloom energy (7) boeing (7) chp (7) climategate (7) copenhagen (7) fish (7) stirling engine (7) vinod khosla (7) airborne wind turbines (6) apocaphilia (6) bolivia (6) ceramic fuel cells (6) cigs (6) futurism (6) jatropha (6) local currencies (6) nigeria (6) ocean acidification (6) saul griffith (6) scenario planning (6) somalia (6) t boone pickens (6) space based solar power (5) varanus island (5) garbage (4) kevin kelly (4) low temperature geothermal power (4) oled (4) tim flannery (4) v2g (4) club of rome (3) global energy grid (2) norman borlaug (2) peak oil portfolio (1)