5-18-15 – Wind power Economics

by John McClaughry

Electrical engineer Willem Post of Woodstock had an important post on the Energy Collective last month, on the topic of wind power.

Denmark, he reports, has built its entire wind turbine set-up around the hydro plants in Norway and Sweden, which balance its wind energy; Denmark has the highest household electric rates in Europe, about 30 eurocent/kWh

Ireland expensively balances its wind energy with gas turbines; the gas is imported.

Spain and Portugal expensively balance their wind energy with gas turbines and pumped-storage hydro plants; the gas is imported.

Germany expensively balances its wind energy with flexible coal plants, gas turbines and “borrowing” the spare balancing capacity of nearby grids; the gas is imported, and Germany has the second highest household electric rates in Europe, about 29 eurocent/kWh.

Various governments cater to renewable energy interests by requiring renewable energy at 2 to 5 times New England wholesale prices, through the heavily subsidized, dysfunctional SPEED program.

“Canadian hydro energy is available at about 5 to 7 c/kWh. The Canadians are eager to sell. They are not out to hose New England.”

Here’s my summary: in Vermont Peter Shumlin and the renewable industrial complex believe that Vermonters don’t deserve low cost electricity, and we can escape that curse by having our government force everybody to subsidize wind and solar through their power bills. What we really don’t deserve is Peter Shumlin and the renewable industrial complex.

– John McClaughry is vice president and founder of the Ethan Allen Institute 

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