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Wind energy needs tilted playing field  

Credit:  Lethbridge Herald | Letter to the Editor | January 30, 2016 | lethbridgeherald.com ~~

In his letter “Correcting wind energy errors,” Lethbridge Herald, Jan. 23, the president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) befuddles his readers with statistics and technical phrases. Only those familiar with the generation and marketing of electricity might be able to detect his “spin” which is required to make wind generation look attractive.

He claims that “new wind energy generation is cost competitive,” but his own publication, “Wind Vision 2025” (www.canwea.ca), reveals that “By 2016 the average pool price is forecast to be $62.98/MWh, well below wind’s levelized cost of $84/MWh É (wind) producers can only expect to earn $50/MWh from the Alberta energy market and $9.16 from emission reduction sales. That price ($59.16/MWh)É will not support the construction of ANY wind power facilities in Alberta by 2025” (page 9).

In plain English, wind needs $84/MWh to break even. Wind can’t compete! CanWEA admits that. Their solution is to advocate that the playing field should be tilted in favour of wind. They want more money and preferential treatment. According to “Wind Vision 2025,” they want our government to:

1) Increase the carbon tax from $15 per tonne. Done – $30 per tonne. Now wind can get more from the sale of emission reduction credits. Coal will have to pay more to wind. Consumers will pay more for electricity and everything else.

2) Legislate a “Clean Electricity Standard” which would impose a maximum GHG emissions intensity level upon all electricity sold by retailers in the province. In other words retailers would be forced to buy wind to meet the new standard. More wind farms would be needed; extra transmission lines; more reserve capacity. Good for wind – expensive for others.

3) Support the creation of long-term contracts. I quote: “An uplift in the carbon price will improve the economics of wind-energy production – but without the ability to secure long-term contracts, it will be very challenging to secure cost-effective financing for projects.” “Long-term contracts” is the catchphrase for 20 years of guaranteed high prices. The reality of “energy poverty,” which is defined as having to choose between buying food or electricity, inevitably follows upon the heels of such contracts. German households now pay about four times the Alberta average for electricity. German industries must be subsidized. CO2 is not abated.

“Wind Vision 2025” outlines the plan. Let’s hope that our provincial government doesn’t buy it.

Shaun Ward


Source:  Lethbridge Herald | Letter to the Editor | January 30, 2016 | lethbridgeherald.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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