Thursday, February 28, 2008

What Really Happens When There is No Wind

By Alan Caruba

Reuters reported on February 27th that, “A drop in wind generation on Tuesday, coupled with colder weather, triggered an electric emergency that caused the Texas grid operator to cut service to some large customers.”

Ironically called the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, ERCOT said that a decline in wind energy production in west Texas occurred at the same time evening electric demand was building as colder temperatures moved into the state. For the record, “Texas produces the most wind power of any state and the number of wind farms is expected to increase dramatically as new transmission lines are built to transfer power from the western half of the state to more populated areas in the north.”

Okay, let’s see if I have this right. The existing wind farms, composed of hundreds of wind turbines, were not enough to avoid a sudden decline in electrical power because the wind stopped blowing.

Now ask yourself if you want your home or business to be dependent on whether the wind is blowing or whether a lot clouds suddenly get between the solar panels and the sun? While you sit in the dark, you might say to yourself that this “clean energy” is helping to avoid global warming. Oh wait, I forgot, there was “colder weather” in Texas last Tuesday.

How much brain power must be applied to the fact that there is no global warming (now called ‘climate change’) and that the enormous investments in wind and solar power, currently providing a giant 1% of all the electricity used in America, are a huge waste of money?

Let me put it another way. As Robert Bryce notes in his brilliant new book, Gusher of Lies, “By 2010, the U.S. will be generating only about 50 billion kilowatt-hours per year from wind power. That’s a pittance compared to the 800 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity that are pumped out every year by America’s 104 nuclear power reactors.”

When you add in the 2,000 billion of kilowatt-hours generated just from coal-fired plants, the notion of wind power as a rational answer to America’s energy needs begins to look idiotic

But Texas, apparently, can’t build more wind farms fast enough. Recent plans to build some coal-fired plants were shot down. Environmentalists are mobilizing the nation’s youth to protest “dirty” coal as a source of electrical power.

Meanwhile, the American Wind Energy Association just released a statement to the effect that they were thrilled that, by a vote of 236 to 182, the House of Representatives passed a bill that includes an extension of the renewable (wind and solar) energy production tax credit. Now they are hoping the Senate will do the same and that the President will sigh off on the deal. “Millions of Americans across the political spectrum (who) overwhelmingly support clean, home-grown wind and solar energy.”

No they don’t. Americans for the most part haven’t a clue where their electricity is generated or how. Instead, they depend on elected and appointed leaders to ensure that they will have electricity when they turn on the lights. The more Congress keeps mandating so-called “clean energy” the less prospect of that exists.

What happened in Texas is going to become routine wherever wind or solar power is part of the grid. America is headed toward being a Third World nation that cannot keep the lights on.

If you want to risk freezing because the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining, you need that “dirty” coal generating plant, the kind that currently produces 52% of all the electricity the nation uses. You need gas-fired plants. The U.S. has pretty much used up all the viable locations for hydroelectric power, so that is no longer an option. It’s worth keeping in mind that modern technology has “cleaned up” those coal-fired plants to the point they are not a pollution problem.

While Congress passes laws giving big, fat tax credits to wind and solar companies as some of its members condemn “Big Oil” and “Big Coal”, you just might want to let your Representative or Senator know what a really bad idea “clean” energy is.

1 comment:

Alan Caruba said...

Thanks, Sarah.

My brain power is maintained by reading copiously every day about the many things that interest me.