I got the following e-mail from an academic who is critical of all the hype around wind power production. Here’s an excerpt of his comment. I invite any wind experts out there to reply through this blog and I’ll forward all comments to this individual. Seems like a good way to stimulate some necessary debate.
Here’s the excerpt:
On average, windmills only put out about 25% of their capacity, rarely producing their nameplate rating and, when the wind doesn’t blow, the production is zero. Unless you expect society to adapt to having electrical power only when the wind blows at just the right speed, you have to have a rapid response backup system. The costs for such a backup should be included in the cost associated with the windmills. As long as these (wind turbines/farms) are a minor component of the grid, normal fluctuations in demand will hide such a requirement. Unless the cost is assigned to the intermittent producer, everyone else has to pay for capacity that will sit idle part of the time and hence will have a higher capital cost component. (Fast response systems are usually powered by natural gas. If the present plans for tar sands upgraders continue, then Alberta will become a net importer of natural gas.
So, any clever replies out there?