[Paleopsych] Wind Power Falls Under $0.01/kwh

Werbos, Dr. Paul J. paul.werbos at verizon.net
Sat Sep 18 18:03:52 UTC 2004

At 04:05 PM 9/17/2004 -0700, Steve wrote:
>I'm originally from southwest Minnesota,
>and back home some company is putting
>up huge wind turbines at a pretty fast rate.
>In Europe wind power is growing about
>20-30% per year.
>Here are wind maps:
>Last year Stanford did a study and found that with
>the new generation of turbines- 150 foot towers-
>23% of the area of the US can generate economical

The Rocky Mountain Institute talk of less than 1 cent per kilowatt hour 
reminds me of the
200 mpg full-sized conventional cars they talks about back when I was in
the Office of Energy Information Validation at DOE. One of the first 
lessons in such a job
is (should be) to learn a kind of discernment -- for what's political 
propaganda and what's real.
And what numbers to watch for.

When we were assessing certain numbers for certain solar technologies, I 
remember one case
where a solar consortium promised a certain level of net savings on fuel bills
at a certain interest rate over 5 years. I contacted them. They swore it 
was for real.
And they swore they had it for sale. I did a quick arithmetic calculation, 
and said "OK, that means
you will sell this to me, a homeowner, for X dollars." "Oh?" they said "You 
were thinking
about actually BUYING? Well, in the case, here is what it REALLY costs.."

And we had studies which quantified the real cost versus the bullshit 
propaganda cost.

I had similar experiences more recently re Ballard, the PEM fuel cell 
company which is the darling
of the mainstream ripoffs. Lots of great numbers advertized by political 
supporters. But then
at the IEEE Power Electronics Society, they had a special session where 
they told
potential buyers what they really had for sale. I can still remember people 
out saying "Why did they bother? Who do they think would even consider 
buying such a thing?"
(Of course, there are PR departments, government relations departments, and 
R&D groups who
get support from the same.)

There are LOTS of real-world people actually buying wind energy systems, in 
the market for the same,
and highly supportive.. but constrained by real prices rather than 
imaginary propaganda.
For example, I recommended folks worried about oil to do
Google on "Cavallo oil Bulletin." Why not try "Alfred Cavallo wind?" You 
would get relatively
honest numbers from a strong supporter of wind - running around 10 cents 
per kwh.
At least, for the normal range of the supply curve. Fast growth and big 
profits are possible
in growing from 0.1% of US electricity to, say, 10% -- though 10 cents is 
above the usual market
price these days, even for the highest grade of electricity. (Wind gives 
the lowest.)

By contrast -- DOE sponsored photovoltaics are hoping someday to reach 14 
cents per kwh,
years from now. (The goal is posted at www.whitehouse.gov.) But a solar thermal
system proven to work at Sandia years ago was estimated a 6 cents per kwh, 
FOR the technology
in hand and proven at that time, for which the potential output is many times
the US ENERGY demand, which is larger than our ELECTRICITY demand.
I just hope that the private sector will succeed in its efforts to move 
this fast...

Best of luck,


>Steve Hovland
>paleopsych mailing list
>paleopsych at paleopsych.org

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