With all the blather about global warming/global cooling/climate change/Paris Accords/ad naseum this analysis of wind power is eye opening.
Sadly, since it doesn’t fit the current memes and support the subsidy tit fattening favored industries and environment pimps, few will read or comprehend the message.
On a personal level I find the windmills to be ugly. From I-25 South of Cheyenne roughly following the Colorado/Wyoming/Nebraska state lines extending East to Julesburg, CO is a ridge of high land exposed to strong (but variable) winds. Windmills are scattered all along this high ground. Ugly!
Windmills impact the ecology of the plains in this area and not in a good way. The disturbed ground, acres of it, has little forage. Raptors and other birds are being killed by the windmill blades.
The above is an Obama era report and probably watered down so as not to offend the eco-freaks. Still damning.
The whole output of all the wind farms in the three states can’t match the reliable output of one coal fired power plant.
The production of electricity is one of converting one form of energy to electron flow. The sources are the sun, moon, nuclear fission, geothermal and burning organic substances.
The sun causes weather. Precipitation distributes water at various elevations. Gravity plus water gives hydro power. Weather causes wind. Direct sunlight can produced electricity via photoelectric reaction with some materials. Geothermal doesn’t presently lend itself to large generation plants.
The moon causes tides. An overlooked and under developed energy source, IMO.
Fission gives the most energy for the weight of the source. Social stigma thwarts development. Still, up to 20% of electricity in the USA comes from nuclear.
Burning organic material, primarily coal and natural gas, provides the generating energy for the majority of electricity in our country. From a cost point, the cheapest and most reliable option.
Depending on the source quoted, the average is about 20 - 40 lbs of coal per day per person for electricity consumed.
Before we get into the more eccentric measures that we selected for comparison, let’s start with the measure that is most tangible and perhaps most sobering: coal. An average American’s residential and transportation energy consumption would require the burning of over 15,000 pounds of coal a year. That equals out to about 41 pounds of coal a day. If coal powered everything, every few days you would consume your body weight in coal.
Fossil fuels receive little or no subsidies. If one considers the myriad regulations imposed on the industry as a tax ( passed on to the consumer – no free lunch), and who can argue it isn’t, the end price paid by the consumer is still a bargain.
Perhaps the problem with coal is there is little potential for clean hands graft. Few ‘grants’ for “research”.
So ‘little’ people in rural areas get hurt. Oh, well. New opportunity to move people from self sufficient to the government tit, no?
Electrical power presents two big problems. First, it cannot be stored in commercial quantities. Second, transmission losses increase with distance. Virtually all sources are tied into a regional, and by extension, a national grid. Those areas bragging about using 100% renewal energy are full of shit if they are tied into a regional grid.
My hope is a businessman president will bring some rational economic sense to the energy sector. The public will have lower bills freeing cash for other things. The suffering will be borne by offshore tax havens who will have far fewer skimmed dollars to rathole. YMMV