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Resource Documents by Hawkins, Kent

Hawkins, Kent
Where Wind Studies Go Wrong: Cullen in AEJ 
Part I The nature of the short-term operation of an electricity system is more like that of a machine than a market. A paper published by Joseph Cullen in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (November 2013), “Measuring the Environmental Benefits of Wind-Generated Electricity” [1] is important in two regards. First, using Texas data, it shows that even with notable emissions savings attributed to wind, the highly subsidized cost of wind is exceeded only by high estimates of the social . . . Complete article »

Hawkins, Kent
Peeling Away the Onion of Denmark Wind 
According to wind proponents, Denmark is a model of wind energy use for electricity generation to be emulated. It is claimed or suggested that: Denmark gets about 20% of its electricity from wind. [Note:  This number is generation, not usage, which is a crucial distinction with negative implications for the wind lobby’s argument.] Reduction in CO2 emissions is due in large part to increased wind electricity production. These conclusions are superficial at best and invalid at worse. The analysis required . . . Complete article »

Hawkins, Kent
Integrating Wind Power: Wind Fails in Two Important Performance Measures 
In my previous article, “Integrating Renewables: Have Policymakers Faced the Realities”,[1] I concluded that introducing large amounts of new renewable sources into the electricity system does not contribute to society’s goals, and that the only argument for the current renewables push is political expediency driven by prevailing conventional wisdom. Two aspects warrant further detail, especially with respect to utility-scale wind plants: CO2 emissions and capacity value. The issues surrounding CO2 emissions are obscured due to the lack of the necessary . . . Complete article »

Hawkins, Kent
Integrating Renewables: Have Policymakers Faced the Realities? 
According to the National Academy of Sciences, electricity generation and distribution is the greatest engineering achievement to enhance the quality of life.[i] It is reasonable to assume that it will continue to play such a role—making public policy choices affecting the affordability and reliability of electricity paramount. Wind and solar power[ii] have been added into the generation mix by a combination of special government subsidies and mandates. The main rationale has been that these technologies are emission-free and thus address . . . Complete article »

Hawkins, Kent; and Hertzmark, Donald
Big Wind: How Many Households Served, What Emissions Reduction? (A Case Study) 
In the midst of a bitter winter in North America and Europe, General Electric has announced a large wind project to be built in Oregon. Press reports in the Financial Times and USA Today describe a project of 338 machines of 2.5 MW each, giving a total capacity of 845 MW. With power grids strained due to heating demand, increments to generating capacity are to be welcomed. But along with the usual hoopla about homes served and CO2 emissions savings, it is . . . Complete article »

Hawkins, Kent
Wind Integration: Incremental Emissions from Back-Up Generation Cycling (Part III: Response to Comments) 
Posts at Knowledge Problem acknowledge the range of results from Part I and Part II in my series; Katzenstein and Apt; and an article by Michael Milligan et al, Wind Power Myths Debunked, but attribute much of the differences to characteristics of the power system to which wind power is added. However, although results will vary by jurisdiction, the differences I reported are not derived from this consideration but from general issues with respect to wind power integration. Milligan claims . . . Complete article »

Hawkins, Kent
Wind Integration: Incremental Emissions from Back-Up Generation Cycling (Part II) 
[Click here for Nov. 30, 2010, update.] My initial post, “Wind Integration: Incremental Emissions from Back-Up Generation Cycling: (Part I: A Framework and Calculator),” provided an overview of a fossil fuel and CO2 emissions calculator. It showed that industrial wind plants do not provide the claimed reductions in these important areas, which brings into question their value as good public policy. This post provides some background, a base case and the results of taking necessary additional considerations into account. The . . . Complete article »

Hawkins, Kent
Wind Integration: Incremental Emissions from Back-Up Generation Cycling (Part I: A Framework and Calculator) 
[Click here for Part II] [Click here for Nov. 29, 2010, update.] Integrating random, highly variable wind energy into an electricity system presents substantial problems that subvert wind technology’s ability to offset the use of fossil fuels – and avoid air emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2). Measuring this accurately is important because many believe that wind projects significantly reduce such emissions. This analysis finds that natural gas used as wind back-up in place of baseload or intermediate gas (in the . . . Complete article »

Hawkins, Kent
Case Study on Methods of Industrial-Scale Wind Power Analysis 
Introduction A great deal has been published about the characteristics of industrial-scale wind power, covering a range of points of view. This paper is a case study of some of the approaches and considerations that can be used in the analysis of such papers. The subject of this case study is a recently published paper by Charles Komanoff who takes the wind proponent view. In general Komanoff: Uses emotive and pejorative language in referring to those of an opposing opinion. . . . Complete article »

Hawkins, Kent
Limitations to Wind Penetration 
A great deal is made by wind proponents about how much of any country’s, state’s or province’s electricity is now, or can in the future, be provided by wind power. The best measure of this is the amount of wind electricity actually produced for consumption as a per cent of the total. When the experiences of aggressive early adopters of wind power are examined, a pattern emerges, which shows roughly that: Between 2-4 percent, the problems of wind’s unreliability and . . . Complete article »

Hawkins, Kent
Whither Industrial Wind? 
Contents: A, B and C: introductory remarks providing context to the rest of the pages. D and E: information about Ontario’s electricity system. Some of the issues discussed are of relevance to any country, state or province. E has been updated as a result of the changes shown in D2. D2: updates D with analysis using actual production information by plant type from Ontario’s Integrated Power Supply Plan that I have just become aware of. There are differences in detail . . . Complete article »

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