This study by the Irish grid manager finds that the benefits of wind-generated power are small and that they decrease as more wind power is added to the system. Their model generously assumes that all energy produced from wind facilities would be used and did not consider output fluctuations within time periods of less than an hour.
They describe three problems that mitigate the benefits of wind power:
1. large amount of extra energy required to start up thermal generators that would otherwise not have been turned off
2. mechanical stresses of more frequent ramping of production levels up and down
3. increased prices of energy necessary to pay for any lower usage of thermal plants.
Wind plants add more capacity (requiring more infrastructure) with almost no reduction of non-wind capacity, the latter of which must be used more inefficiently than otherwise. As for CO2 reduction, the study concludes,
“The cost of CO2 abatement arising from using large levels of wind energy penetration appears high relative to other alternatives.”
Their model generously assumes that all energy produced from wind facilities is used and disregards output fluctuations within time periods of less than an hour. And they did not consider at all the environmental toll of expanded industrial wind development.
Download original document: “Impact of Wind Power Generation In Ireland”
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