Thursday, March 03, 2005

Europe May Have to Think Twice About Wind Power

In Europe, wind power is running in to more objections:

It can cost between 54 and 102 dollars to save emission of a tonne of carbon dioxide by using wind energy, says a report released last week by a German government energy agency and two other independent groups.

Germany, which has the world's largest number of wind farms, would have to spend 1.4 billion dollars to link wind farms to the electricity grid to meet its declared aim of producing 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015, the report says. That would cost the average German home an additional 21 dollars a year . . .

The Country Guardian, a British group that has opposed wind farms for years claims the new German report validates their objections. "We have been saying for years that wind energy costs three times as much as conventional energy, and damages the landscape," Ann West from Country Guardian told IPS. "Wind farms are such horrible blots on the landscape."

Elfam, the largest utilities company in Denmark found in a study that wind farms had not reduced carbon dioxide emissions, she said. The Germany energy giant Eon, she said, had found that wind energy needs to be backed up by conventional energy.

"Wind energy is not just more expensive but it leads to more pollution," West claimed. She cited a report by the Royal Academy of Engineers in Britain to suggest that a conventional power station produces more carbon dioxide when it is turned down to make room for energy from wind farms, and also when it has to "ramp up" when wind energy is insufficient.


Click here to read about the Royal Academy's report. I think it's important to note that we don't have anything against renewables. It's just that when you take an honest look at future electricity demand, and add in concerns about environment, it's going to take more than just renewables to fill the gap.

2 comments:

Elizabeth King said...
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Elizabeth King said...

The carbon dioxide emission rate for the United States is roughly 0.87 metric tons per MWhr, according to Environmental Protection Agency's CEMS (Continuous Emission Monitoring System) data. Based on that emission rate, It takes about 1.15 MWhrs of clean-air nuclear generation to avoid one full metric ton of CO2. Using the average 2003 US nuclear production cost of $17.2/MWhr, that amounts to a cost of around $19.78 to avoid one metric ton of CO2. This is less than half the cost of avoiding a single ton of CO2 using wind power, according to the European study.