The implications of intermittent power
by Kimball Rasmussen, President and CEO, Deseret Power, November 2010, Edition 1.2
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Effectively, we end up building new fossil-fueled peaking power plants (usually natural gas) to back up the wind resources that were intended to eliminate fossil-fueled resources in the first place.
Wind power does not produce all of the claimed benefits of reductions in fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions when the fuel consumption and related emissions of the shadow grid of gas-fired resources are taken into account.
The national average performance through 2008, for all wind turbines in America, was a capacity factor of about 25 percent.9
It is true that devices have been invented to store bulk electric energy. These are all miniscule in scale, and expensive to acquire and operate.
Consumers want the power to be there the very instant that it is demanded.
A well-designed and situated solar project will typically provide available energy at about 20 percent. At this low availability, solar energy can never be more than a supplement to a larger portfolio of power generating resources.
The entire United States’ output of PV solar for the year 2009, was 807,988 MWh, about one-tenth of one percent of the U.S. nuclear output.
Solar is generally the most expensive form of renewable energy.
Every new wind-related job comes at the cost of 1.5 to 2.7 coal-related jobs.20
An RPS of 20 percent may sound harmless or benign, but just the opposite will likely occur. A Renewable Portfolio Standard of 20 percent can easily compel a utility to more than double its rate-base investment in generating plant with only modest increases in capacity and energy production.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Fundamental Issue: Intermittency
Name-plate Rating versus Actual Energy Delivery
Wind is Weak at Peak
The Pacific Northwest
The Western United States
Enter the “Twilight Zone”—A Control Area Nightmare
The Shadow Grid—The Fossil Fuel Stand-In for No Show Wind
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP)
Increase in Carbon Dioxide from Wind Power—It is Possible?
Got Transmission? The Missing Cost Element
Technical Potential versus Economic Potential
The Electric Continental Divide
Wind Energy Storage—Not Ready for Primetime
Wind Turbines can Consume Electricity
The Hard Realities of Renewable Pricing
Value of Power—Demand versus Energy
Not All Sunshine is Equal
How Expensive is PV Solar?
Large PV Solar
Solar Demand versus System Peak
The Value of Solar Power—Demand versus Energy
The Solar Synopsis
Green Jobs—Will They Materialize as Promised?
The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) or How 20 Percent Can Easily Become 100 Percent of a Utility’s Plant Investment
Eyes Wide Open