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U.S. says wind could power 20 percent of eastern grid

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Wind energy could generate 20 percent of the electricity needed by households and businesses in the eastern half of the United States by 2024, but it would require up to $90 billion in investment, according to a government report released on Wednesday.

Green Business  |  COP15

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Sen. Byron Dorgan said on Tuesday he thought the Senate would forgo dealing with climate change legislation this year after going through the contentious health care debate and instead focus on passing an energy bill that, in part, requires U.S. utilities to generate 15 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2021.

(Reporting by Tom Doggett; Editing by David Gregorio)

In the spirit of having less government control of our life, I would like to point out that wind and solar power are expensive.  Government requirements unnecessarily drive up the price of power for electric customers and taxpayers subsidizes alternative energies roughly $20 or more per MWH. 

As a bulk power supply, wind and solar do not displace coal, oil, or gas power stations.  A power company is required to acquire electric generation sources to meet the projected customer load and without some type of storage, solar and wind is not a reliable base load.  In other words traditional power plants will have to be built in reserve for times when the wind's not blowing or the sun's not shining. 

Wind and solar bulk power is too costly and it doesn't really lead to any "Greening" of the power system.  Let capitalism rule.  Put windmills in your yard or solar panels on your house if it makes sense for your situation.  I think that it's a good idea to have control of your own sustainable power.  Just don't force artificially high prices on the ratepayer and increased burden on the taxpayer.   

I have some serious doubt that large scale wind farms on land will solve the energy problem.

Here is an article describing how a wind farm in Texas which had 9,700 megawatts capacity only could generate 500 megawatts at peak time in the summer heat when the power was needed the most.

--- Quote ---They like everything big in Texas, and wind energy is no exception. Texas has more wind generation capacity than any other state, about 9,700 megawatts. (That's nearly as much installed wind capacity as India.) Texas residential ratepayers are now paying about $4 more per month on their electric bills in order to fund some 2,300 miles of new transmission lines to carry wind-generated electricity from rural areas to the state's urban centers.

It's time for those customers to ask for a refund. The reason: When it gets hot in Texas—and it's darn hot in the Lone Star State in the summer—the state's ratepayers can't count on that wind energy. On Aug. 4, at about 5 p.m., electricity demand in Texas hit a record: 63,594 megawatts. But according to the state's grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state's wind turbines provided only about 500 megawatts of power when demand was peaking and the value of electricity was at its highest.

Put another way, only about 5 percent of the state's installed wind capacity was available when Texans needed it most. Texans may brag about the size of their wind sector, but for all of that hot air, the wind business could only provide about 0.8 percent of the state's electricity needs when demand was peaking.
--- End quote ---

Google "spinning reserves".  Under current technology and status quo, when a big wind or pv installation goes in a traditional plant also goes in to pick up when they sputter out.  The current thought is that energy storage is the solution and many companies are working on this.

Nothing is a magic bullet, but solutions will likely present themselves.

Currently, commercial wind energy is the most expensive per kW electricity to generate.
Why some many wind farms going up ???
Simple, governmental subsidies !!! They couldn't come close to compeating without them.
If you don't believe me, just watch open market electricity prices. Wind farm operations will under bid going rates even selling it for FREE because they are then subsidized by the government (your tax dollars) for every kilowatt they produce.
Just Google wind energy subsidies. You'd be suprised at how much of our tax dollars goes to subsidize this.
Take away the subsidies and what happened in California will happen all over the US.
The companies will go bankrupt, abandon the windmills to the property owners whos property they rent to erect these, and then the local governments will tax the land owner for the upraised value of the windmill.
Just look at the cost of a small wind turbine a Menards or Lowes. A lot of money for very little potential power generation.
There are people who live by me who bought one of these and installed it spending over $10,000 for the windmill, tower, wiring, etc.
It lasted about 2-3 years before it tossed a blade and now it sets idle too expensive to repair.


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