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The Unbearable Lightness Of Wind


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The unbearable lightness of wind

The American Spectator

by William Tucker


"The major limitation, of course, is wind's intermittency -- its lack

of 'dispatchability.' Quite simply, you can never count on it. You

can't even predict it from hour to hour with 100 percent accuracy and

the windiest sites can go calm for days. On a national electrical

grid, where supply and demand must be kept within 5 percent or each

other in order to maintain voltage balances, this becomes very

disruptive. Despite these misgivings, political momentum is pushing

ahead with wind at full tilt. Windmill manufacturers added 8,000 new

megawatts (MW) to America's capacity in 2008, doubling the previous

year's output and lifting total capacity to 21,000 MW -- the

equivalent of 21 conventional coal or nuclear plants. In Europe,

windmills were last year's biggest bloc of new generating capacity, 42

percent. Worldwide, wind's overall capacity increased 30 percent in

2008. All this is being driven entirely by government mandates and

subsidies. In America, wind gets a 1.8-cents-per-kilowatt-hour federal

tax credit -- which would cover almost the entire fuel-and-operating

costs of both coal and nuclear." (04/21/09)



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