Worldwide opposition to wind power has now reached a crescendo and governments have been forced to respond with new planning regulations which impose the technology, often against huge objection.
Public distaste for wind turbines revolves around landscape impact and concerns about noise and loss of tranquillity, but technical objections are of greater concern.
A press release (March 26) from the New Zealand Centre for Advanced Engineering (NCAE) and the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of NZ says:
“Increased wind capacity will require greater stand-by capacity such as more spinning reserve to cover sudden reductions of wind generation output… and other requirements such as frequency and voltage control.”
Also: “Because of the remote location and intermittent nature of much of the potential renewables generating capacity, significant additions will be necessary to the electricity transmission system.”
The NCAE view that no proper analysis of the costs and effectiveness of intermittent wind power has ever been made applies in all countries; neither has there been any independent study of CO2-emission abatement.
The power industry concedes that wind turbines would not be built without unprecedented consumer-sourced subsidy or massive tax breaks.
It is time for the threat posed by intermittent renewables, not least in requiring CO2-emitting coal-fired spinning reserve, to be investigated independently, without political interference.
Dr John Etherington
1 April 2008