Wind Power Also Has It’s Drawbacks

Wind power has some problems: Blackouts, structure failures, deaths and Ted Kennedy doesn’t like it. (NIMBY)

Puff The Magic Dragon
Iain Murray, CEI

February 29, 2008

More proof that wind power is no panacea for the nation’s looming electricity crisis. The wind dropped in Texas, and caused blackouts:

ERCOT said the grid’s frequency dropped suddenly when wind production fell from more than 1,700 megawatts, before the event, to 300 MW when the emergency was declared.

In addition, ERCOT said multiple power suppliers fell below the amount of power they were scheduled to produce on Tuesday. That, coupled with the loss of wind generated in West Texas, created problems moving power to the west from North Texas.

ERCOT declares a stage 1 emergency when power reserves fall below 2,300 MW. A stage 2 emergency is called when reserves fall below 1,750 MW.

At the time of the emergency, ERCOT demand increased from 31,200 MW to a peak of 35,612 MW, about half the total generating capacity in the region, according to the agency’s Web site.

Meanwhile, in Denmark, wind turbines are exploding. Dramatic video (provenance uncertain, so may not be genuine) here. This follows the fatal collapse of a wind tower in Oregon last summer. They also come with environmental costs of their own.

Now, of course, all energy production comes with risks, but wind power has such a positive image that people think of it as completely safe, environmentally-friendly and reliable. That’s not the case.



6 Responses

  1. Wind power has a lot of negatives.

  2. And a lot of positives: no air pollution, no water pollution, no global warming pollution, no mining or drilling for fuel, no fuel price volatility, no water use. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than other power sources we use today.

    Thomas O. Gray
    American Wind Energy Association

  3. Fair enough Thomas. I think as an additional or backup power source, it is a good thing. I don’t think you can rely entirely on the wind, just as you can’t trust solar all of the time.
    In fact, we have a project going up in my back yard. (20 miles away) I have no problems with it.
    Hatchet Ridge Project

  4. Thomas, there is no such thing as manmade global warming. Howvever, I will take the liberty of understanding your persistence because it is part of your marketing scheme. I have been part of the alternative energy business for many years. Wind, Solar, etc is far more expensive than fossil fuels. Wind is not better, it has many problems, including lack of dependability. Therefore, wind is not better, just more politically popular and is a drain on resources and must be subsidized to justify the construction. Any alternative energy production method if reliable and competitive will be actively pursued without government support as long as there is a free market. But, the free market may be a thing of the past, subject now to who has the most influence and tax dollars.

  5. Contrary to the claims of wind-power induced blackouts, no blackouts resulted from the February 2008 wind power drop in Texas. The blackouts mentioned in the linked Reuters news story were in Florida, due to nuclear power plants tripping offline after transmission line problems, and not connected in any way to wind power.

    Wind power isn’t perfect – turbines fall apart, power output is variable, not everyone finds the turbines attractive – but neither are other generation technologies.

    What we need are policies that place the costs and risks on the developers and owners, rather that taxpayers and ratepayers, and then let suppliers choose the technology that makes sense.

  6. I’ll have to take your word for the power outage, but I certainly agree with your last sentence.

    PG&E’s hydroelectric power serves us well around here, and they maintain access and campgrounds at all of their projects.

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