Wind Power Warning

Wind Power Warning

There have been warnings that wind power will cause blackouts. 

A few years ago, the New York Times noted:

“Peak supply is also becoming a vexing problem because so much of the generating capacity added around the country [US] lately is wind power, which is almost useless on the hot, still days when air-conditioning drives up demand.”

Last year, New England was saved from blackouts by oil supplies that allowed a few power plants to remain in operation when wind and solar power weren’t able to meet demand. See, Oil Saves New England

The New England system operator warned it was a virtual certainty New England would experience blackouts over the next few years. See, Blackouts Are Coming to New England

Now, this year, wind turbines in the mid-continent, i.e., Minnesota, Iowa, etc., shut down because of cold weather. 

From Next Era Energy Resources

The  Mid-continent Independent System Operator (MISO) said,  “Generation fell faster than anticipated during the polar vortex as turbines automatically shut down as temperatures fell below minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Cold weather can cause two wind power events: First, cold weather is frequently accompanied by the absence of windy days. Second, when temperatures go below 20 degrees F, the turbines are shut down to protect them from damage.

The result? No wind, no electricity. Freezing temperatures, no electricity.

But the blackout threat doesn’t stop there. Hot weather can also result in a lack of wind.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is warning that there may be “a need to call an energy alert at various times this summer, i.e., 2019.”

The problem in Texas is high demand, the closure of coal-fired power plants and high summer temperatures. 

ERCOT’s reserve margin is dangerously low at 7.4%.

Quoting from a report, “The ISO’s [i.e. ERCOT] total resource capacity for the upcoming summer is expected to be 78,154 MW—though only about 64,952 MW will be from operational baseload thermal and hydropower capacity. For the rest, ERCOT will depend on [small miscellaneous contributions] and coastal and non-coastal wind, and solar capacity contributions (5,884 MW).”

In other words, ERCOT will have to depend on unreliable wind to keep the lights on this summer.

But, as noted earlier, and as reported by the New York Times, wind power is problematic on hot summer days when the air is thinner.

Defenders of wind and solar rushed forward to defend wind by saying coal and natural gas can also have problems in the winter. While it’s true that freezing weather can interrupt coal supplies, problems with natural gas are mostly caused by New York and other states preventing the building of new pipeline capacity that natural gas power plants need.

And, the supporters of wind and solar failed to mention that wind can’t be relied on in the summer on hot days.

Summary

Because of wind power’s low capacity factor, it’s necessary to build nearly three times as much wind capacity as it is to build natural gas capacity in order to produce the same amount of electricity.

And: 

Wind won’t generate electricity when the wind goes above 55 mph, or when the temperatures go below 20 degrees F. Or, on hot summer days.

Natural gas and nuclear power will generate electricity 24/7 with very few interruptions.

. . .

3 Replies to “Wind Power Warning”

  1. Wind Farms do have negative effect because they change the natural wind currents. Will try to make this simple to understand. Have a small water stream and place one rock in the water. Does it change the current? Put another rock in and the current is changed more. Keep doing and you have a dam and no current.
    How let’s get practical on wind. This is happening in Western New York. New York is installing wind mills at high rate. Not in the NYC area but to the Western part of New York. New York politicians don’t live there and don’t have to view or hear those ugly wind mills. The farmers receive 30K+ per tower. Five towers and you receive 150K. Not bad but it is our tax money and increased power rates. Since I have a lot of friends in that area I have asked if their weather has changed? They all agree that winds have changed and killing a lot of birds.
    Yes wind is unreliable but there are many more problems with these towers that you will never read about.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #355 | Watts Up With That?

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