More sustainable stupidity

With the state legislature located in Sangamon County, you’d think we’ve already filled our quota for hosting economic disasters.  Apparently not.  As outlined in the 10/09/2010 State Journal-Register, a U.S. subsidiary of a German outfit is working on siting a wind farm here.  Where’s the disaster?  Look at the economics.

Details aren’t firm for this project, but the article mentions a recently approved comparable project for a Spanish company to build 165 turbines for 300 Megawatts total capacity near Streator.  Construction costs are $2.3 million per MW ($694 million) — about five percent over CWLP’s spend for Dallman 4 [Springfield’s city-owned, coal-fired power plant].  Not bad.  Plus, the federal government gives subsidies (aka, prepaid bailouts) for 30% of  “green energy” construction costs.  Again, what disaster?


Dallman’s 208 MW rated capacity actually means 208 MW whenever we need it, any time.  Wind farms only generate rated capacity with winds at optimal speed.   And — sorry to mix physics and economics – but wind turbine output is exponential; if wind is half of the optimum of around 30 mph, you only get one-eighth of the rated power.  Sangamon County averages less than 12 mph.  Average real annual output for wind farms is less than 30% of rated capacity.

As an added bonus, it’s also intermittent.  As a result, wind power has a very low “capacity credit.” That’s the ability to replace other sources of power.  It’s well under 20 percent.  Meaning, you can have a 300 MW wind farm as long as you also have a traditional plant with 240 MW to back it up.

To recap, we’re giving foreign companies billions of taxpayer dollars to build inefficient, unreliable, but politically correct blights on the landscape that can’t replace traditional power plants, but will substantially raise both consumer and manufacturing costs.

This should turn out well.

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