IEEE: About Wind Turbines

Karl W4KRL W4KRL at
Thu Feb 4 10:12:39 CST 2010


There should be exact figures for how much wind-generated electricity was
produced. Then we would not need to resort to rules of thumb to compare wind
capacity to non-intermittent capacity. It is sad to see the degree of
precision increase when applying approximate factors. Shame on the author!

An interesting statistic that was missed is that US wind generation capacity
was increased 40% in one year.

73 Karl W4KRL

-----Original Message-----
From: andre kesteloot [mailto:andre.kesteloot at] 
Sent: Wednesday, February 03, 2010 12:39 PM
To: Tacos
Subject: IEEE: About Wind Turbines

New turbines amounting to almost 10 gigawatts were installed in the 
United States in 2009 
bringing the country's total wind capacity to about 35 GW, according to 
data released by the American Wind Energy Association this week. Next 
week the Global Wind Energy Council, based in Brussels, is expected to 
release figures showing that wind installation worldwide almost equalled 
the booming growth rates seen in recent years, which have been around 28 
percent per annum.

Putting its spin on the rather sensational 2009 news, the American wind 
association asserts 
that additional U.S. wind capacity avoids or saves more than 60 million 
metric tons of annual carbon dioxide emissions, 200,000 tons of sulfur 
dioxide, 80,000 tons of nitrous oxide, and 20 billion tons of water. A 
spokesperson for the association claims, perhaps a little dubiously, 
that their numbers crunchers got these results whether the generation 
that wind is substituting for is taken to be the average national mix or 
the specific mix replaced by specific turbines. 

To keep things in perspective, recall that when wind (or solar) capacity 
is compared to baseload fossil or nuclear generation, it is normally 
divided by a factor of three, four or even five, to account for 
intermittancy. (The wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always 
shine.) By that standard, the new wind capacity really is equivalent to 
no more than 3.3 GW of natural gas. But even by that reduced benchmark, 
it's the equal of three nuclear power plants--not a single one of which 
is getting built in the United States at present.

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