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Slate: “stop wasting billions to subsidize unreliable wind energy”

Alternative Energy

by Robert Bryce

Posted Monday, Aug. 16, 2010, at 1:38 PM ET

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.

More at Slate

One Comment on "Slate: “stop wasting billions to subsidize unreliable wind energy”"

  1. KenZ300 on Sun, 22nd Aug 2010 8:24 am 

    Wind, solar, geothermal and biofuels are not the sole answer but they are part of the solution.

    They are clean, sustainable, distributed forms of alternative energy and can be a good part of our economic security and our national security.

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