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Resource Documents: Emissions (117 items)


Also see NWW "grid" FAQ

Documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are provided to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate.

Review of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Author:  Stevenson, David

The nearly decade-old Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) was always meant to be a model for a national program to reduce power plant carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explicitly cited it in this fashion in its now-stayed Clean Power Plan. Although the RGGI is often called a “cap and trade” program, its effect is the same as a direct tax or fee on emissions because RGGI allowance costs are passed on from electric generators to distribution companies to consumers. More recently, an influential group of former cabinet officials, known as the “Climate Leadership Council,” has recommended a direct tax on CO₂; emissions (Shultz and Summers 2017).

Positive RGGI program reviews have been from RGGI, Inc. (the program administrator) and the Acadia Center, which advocates for reduced emissions (see Stutt, Shattuck, and Kumar 2015). In this article, I investigate whether reported reductions in CO₂ emissions from electric power plants, along with associated gains in health benefits and other claims, were actually achieved by the RGGI program. Based on my findings, any form of carbon tax is not the policy to accomplish emission reductions. The key results are:

David Stevenson is Director of the Center for Energy Competitiveness at the Caesar Rodney Institute. He prepared this working paper for Cato’s Center for the Study of Science.

Download original document: “A Review of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

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Date added:  June 22, 2017
EmissionsPrint storyE-mail story

Why wind power does not substantially reduce emissions

Author:  Various

Several analysts (links below) have examined the consequences of fossil fuel–fired generators, particularly natural gas, having to modulate their output and frequently start and stop to balance the highly variable infeed from wind turbines so that electrical supply is stable and reliable. The question is to factor in the increased emissions from operating the generators in that way compared with operating them more steadily, i.e., if they were not required to cope with the fluctuating contribution from wind turbines: How do the extra emissions of running the generators less efficiently compare with the emissions saved by running them less?

Since natural gas–fired generators are best able to respond quickly enough to balance wind energy, they have been added almost in parallel with wind (see graphs provided by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency), so it is not wind replacing coal-generated electricity, but wind plus its necessary partner natural gas (which, fracking and methane release aside, is much cleaner than coal). Might it not only be much cheaper and less land-intensive, but also even reduce emissions more to replace coal with natural gas only?

The hidden fuel costs of wind generated electricity” by K. de Groot and C. le Pair

The impact of wind generated electricity on fossil fuel consumption” by C. le Pair and K. de Groot

Wind integration: Incremental emissions from back-up generation cycling (Part V: Calculator update)” [with links to Parts I–IV] by Kent Hawkins

Big wind: How many households served, what emissions reduction? (a case study)” by Kent Hawkins and Donald Hertzmark

Integrating Renewables: Have Policymakers Faced the Realities?” by Kent Hawkins

Integrating Wind Power: Wind Fails in Two Important Performance Measures” by Kent Hawkins

Analysis of Ontario’s electricity system” by Kent Hawkins

Air emissions due to wind and solar power” by Warren Katzenstein and Jay Apt

Cost and quantity of greenhouse gas emissions avoided by wind generation” by Peter Lang

Calculating wind power’s environmental benefits” by Tom Hewson and David Pressman

Reduction in carbon dioxide emissions: estimating the potential contribution from wind-power” by David White

Less than one-fourth of projected fuel savings from wind on Falklands

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Date added:  August 24, 2016
Emissions, Germany, GridPrint storyE-mail story

Germany’s power mix

Author:  Clean Energy Wire; National Wind Watch

The following graphs show: 1) Installed net power generation capacity in Germany 2002–2016; 2) Gross power production in Germany 1990–2015 by source; and 3) German power import/export 1990–2015.


Note that since 2011, the capacity of nonrenewable sources has not decreased. The slight decrease in nuclear was made up for by an increase in coal.


Electricity production from coal and natural gas has hardly decreased, even with the substantial increase of production from renewables.


Since 2002, when the share of electricity production from renewables approached 10%, overproduction steadily increased. In other words, electricity production from renewables – which does not follow actual demand and in the case of wind is highly variable – was mostly exported into the larger regional grid when it could no longer be absorbed by the domestic grid.

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Date added:  October 9, 2015
Economics, Emissions, Grid, OntarioPrint storyE-mail story

Ontario’s Electricity Dilemma – Achieving Low Emissions at Reasonable Electricity Rates

Author:  Ontario Society of Professional Engineers

Original Goals for Electricity System Transformation

Why Will Emissions Double as We Add Wind and Solar Plants?

Download original document: “Ontario’s Electricity Dilemma – Achieving Low Emissions at Reasonable Electricity Rates

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