NewEnergyNews: ANTI-WIND DIATRIBE GETS IT ALL WRONG

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    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    ANTI-WIND DIATRIBE GETS IT ALL WRONG

    Lesser misstates facts at Heritage-Exelon anti-wind briefing

    Michael Goggin, November 30, 2012 (Into The Wind via AWEA)

    “Economist Jonathan Lesser, who authored a recent report on wind power for Exelon Corp. as part of its campaign against the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), made a number of misstatements about wind at a Capitol Hill briefing sponsored by Exelon and the Heritage Foundation…As the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, ‘Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.’ Here are some facts…

    “Variable electric generation from wind farms can be integrated readily into utility systems with virtually zero increase in the need for fast-acting reserves or "backup" generators. Utility system operators already deal regularly with massive swings in electricity demand and in the output of conventional generators. Also, the amount of electricity generated by wind farms changes slowly and predictably; failures at conventional (nuclear and fossil-fueled) power plants occur instantaneously without warning…”

    “…The fast-acting reserves utility system operators must have on standby 24/7/365 for conventional outages typically cost dozens of times more than the slower-acting reserves needed for wind’s variability. It is more appropriate to talk about the need to back up large conventional power plants than about backing up wind power. Tellingly, Mr. Lesser had no response to our main point that the grid integration costs for large coal and nuclear power plants, such as those operated by Exelon, are far larger than the integration costs for wind.

    “Wind power saves consumers money because it costs very little to operate a wind farm, and wind turbines need no fuel. When the wind is blowing, utility system operators turn down, or turn off, the output from the most expensive power plants on the system to save on fuel costs… Joe Gardner, Executive Director of Real-Time Operations for the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO), said recently…[that wind helps] manage congestion on the system and ultimately helps keep prices low…[W]hen the wind is blowing, wind generation displaces the output of the most expensive, and therefore least efficient [and most polluting], fossil-fired power plants first…”

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