Thursday, April 21, 2011

Is Wind Power a Mature Industry?

The Caesar Rodney Institute (CRI) today sent me its latest bit of analysis, which purports to show that wind power is a mature industry, and thus not deserving of government incentives. Prompted by this startling news, I checked the numbers from the Energy Information Administration website: Wind power provided 1.8 percent of our electricity in the U.S. in 2009; offshore wind power provided exactly 0.0 percent.

Instead of looking at generating capacity in place, the CRI chose to focus on new capacity being built. The CRI asserts that because wind accounted for 35 percent of new generating capacity built since 2007, it is a mature industry. This would be like asserting that desktop computers was a mature industry in the early 1980s, or that jet airliners was a mature industry in the early 1950s.

This is but the latest in a series of preposterous pronouncements on renewable energy, such as the assertion that wind power could actually be bad for the environment.

The CRI's concern for energy subsidies hardly seems even-handed. The organization neglected to offer a word of support for Congressman John Carney when he introduced a bill to cut a modest $50 million in subsidies for the oil and gas industry.


Blogger Tom Konrad said...

another implicit distortion comes from measuring wind installed in terms of rated capacity... since wind's capacity factor is much lower than baseload resources, this overestimates wind's role in the generations system.

2:28 PM, April 24, 2011  

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