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Joseph A. Matais: In truth, wind is costly, unreliable  

Credit:  Providence Journal | April 9, 2013 | providencejournal.com ~~

“RI jumpstarts offshore wind industry” (Commentary, April 7) is another piece of “brochuremanship” by Jeffrey Grybowski, the chief executive of Deepwater Wind, flogging a questionable project. Brochures always emphasize the seemingly desirable elements while ignoring facts that take the bloom off the rose.

Please consider these few points.

The writer states: “Today, 55 offshore wind farms are in operation off northern Europe.” Yet he neglects to mention the problems that are causing the United Kingdom and Germany to rethink these projects, beginning with reducing subsidies. The two principal reasons are under-performance and high required levels of subsidization.

Offshore wind power is very expensive, despite the writer’s understated projections. The Energy Information Administration cites these average costs per megawatt hour: Natural gas-fired of an advanced design and carbon-capture system, $89.3/megawatt hour (Conventional; $66.1/megawatt hour). Wind-offshore, $243.2/megawatt hour. These costs apply to new installations becoming operational in 2016.

Further, Mr. Grybowski estimates an efficiency of 45 percent, despite experience in Europe of less than 30 percent. When all losses are figured in, you might, if you are lucky, be getting 35 percent or so of the wind’s energy actually delivered as useful electrical energy to the end user in the very best conditions. The average might only be in the 20s.

Not to be forgotten is the inescapable fact that you cannot get reliable energy from an unreliable source, regardless of the writer’s claim of it being “reliable.” He simply wishes away maintenance and corrosion issues, while using jobs as the lure for the fish to bite.

Certainly, the mandatory nod to environmentalism appears, claiming reductions in air pollution (nearly all of which originates outside New England) and and the demon carbon dioxide, which has demonstrated no statistically significant effect for the recent 15-17 years.

If only The Journal were not so enamored of everything and anything labeled “green,” information regarding less wasteful and expensive solutions would be made available to the readership.

Joseph A. Matais

Source:  Providence Journal | April 9, 2013 | providencejournal.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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