Wind Power Talk

Resource site for links discussing issues around wind mill turbines - and particular focused on the Allegheny, West Virginia, projects and protest campaigns

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Review of California Wind Turbines - 4,000 in San Gorgonio Pass

The experience in California appears to be a harbinger of what West Virginia is now experiencing. The costs of repairing the Grassy Ridge Road in Mt Storm destroyed by Nedpower could well top $1M. This value assessment below is from Californian experience of "wind power".

Wind Power has about 4,000 windmills in the San Gorgonio Pass, which amounts to approximately 375 MW of installed capacity. For 25 years we've been told what a significant contribution wind energy could and is making to our energy supply. Since most people have little knowledge of how the electrical system works, they are being misled as to the benefits, merits and capabilities of wind power, unfortunately, most have believed what they have been told.

As a homeowner in the Pass for 30 years, and familiar with the wind patterns, I had reservations as to all the amounts of power that the wind developers claimed that they could generate and that this was even considered a 'good' wind area. I began my research some years ago, as I became suspicious of all the claims made by this industry, by collecting data from many knowledgeable and reliable sources, as well as the California Energy Commission, which at one time published their actual production records. The Wind Industries actual production records were so dismal and at variance with what they projected, they lobbied the CEC into not having to reveal their production records anymore. Nevertheless, I still obtained 15 years of their production records and time of generation from 1998 until 2006. This data confirmed what I observed visually.

As I can see them from my house, when they work and mostly don't. Every time the wind developers went to get another permit to put up more windmills, the developers always stated how many MW they were installing and how many homes they could provide energy for. What they would do is add all their generation as if it was generated 24/7 and divide it by the average household. This is very misleading and deceptive, as the records indicate: Only 5-6 % of their generation is at peak need time, 33% mid peak and the balance of 60% is generated when we need it the least and this off peak generation is deemed as of lesser value, but we must keep in mind that they can only generate about 25% of the time, intermittently. And another big draw back is that it is not constant. One minute it may be blowing and the next couple of weeks or months there may be none. Even with the volatility of wind, windmills really don't generate that much power. I became curious as to exactly how much power they were contributing to Edison. These are the results:

  • Wind Power has about 4,000 windmills in the San Gorgonio Pass, which amounts to approximately 375 MW of installed capacity.

  • Because the wind is only good enough to generate power 25% of the time, their generation amounts to an average of 93.5 MW per year, that they sell to Edison [Edison is mandated to purchase all that they generate].

  • Edison uses on average about 13,000 MW per year in their service area.

  • The astounding fact that has never been revealed is, this amounts to about only about 7 tenths of 1% of what Edison uses. This is all, after 25 years of exaggerated promises. But, it even gets worse.

  • If you take their average annual production of about 93.5 MW and subtract the 60% off peak generation, this leaves a miniscule amount of about 2.8 tenths of 1% that is meaningful, if you can call it that, that is generated when we really need it, after billions and billions of ratepayer and tax payer dollars in subsidization and even today they still get a portion from our monthly electric bills. I don't think the people got much bang for their bucks!

  • I also learned that when this "off peak" generation can't be sold [because demand is low and it can't be stored] the Utility gives it away for 0 cents, but pay the WE their contract price and charge this cost back to the ratepayers... legal double dipping? This off peak generation is deemed as of "lessor" value. How often this happens is another unknown.

  • Another finding is that wind is useless as capacity. Because of winds volatile nature, the utilities need a constant, reliable source of power to prevent power disruptions, including in their "spinning reserve" which is power on stand by to accommodate any instantaneous demand.

  • In order to accommodate wind into the grid, the California ISO turns down hydro and gas turbines [both fairly clean], because they are the easiest to manipulate the inconsistencies of wind power, the unreliability, constant on and off and the volatility nature of wind. Also, you can see how small the amount of wind energy really is to the amount that Edison uses. Edison does not use oil. At best, there is some natural gas savings. In Public Hearings, they always refer to our reliance on Middle East oil and how Wind Energy will help alleviate that need. Their statement is simply not true.

  • Another drawback is that wind power cannot be stored and cannot be called upon at will.. when we need it, it does not match the "time of need profile". So, then exactly what good is it? Except to feel good!?

  • The bottom line is that wind energy is a DUPLICATION of capacity that the utilities already MUST have to provide a steady flow of power, without interruptions and blackouts. Because of winds intermittent nature...wind won't work, it is really inconsequential.

  • In Tehachipi, for many years there was a curtailment program, where the windmills were overbuilt for the grid and was to small to handle the surge. Edison made an agreement with the wind industry to just shut the machines down and paid them over $12 million which was also charged back to the ratepayers.

  • I am very concerned that this big push by government officials for more wind power when I really don't think they really understand how it works. They can cover the entire country with wind mills and they would do nothing for our capacity.. if you stop and think about this... when the wind stops... then what? Edison will have to come on line with the same amount of power that they always need to cover the instantaneous demand, we can't be waiting for the wind to start blowing again.

  • But, most alarming is the misleading claims and out right misrepresentations made by the wind industry itself, with no one verifying what they say.

  • Because of the wind industry, our power bills have skyrocketed and will continue to do so with each new windmill, while Edison can provide the same power for 2 cents per kWh.

  • Unfortunately, the powers that be chose to believe the developers, without ever checking out their veracity or production records. Because of this hysteria for "green", it appears that they would rather put our power supply at risk and have the ratepayers pay double and triple than what is necessary for an illusion. While they have scraped miles and miles of desert, obliterated our views, rendered adjacent property valueless and impacted us with noise and dust for this miniscule amount of useless energy is beyond belief... and have so far gotten away with it. The only transmission has been the $'s from our pockets to theirs.

Alexandra Weit

Whitewater, CA 92282


At 3:43 PM, Blogger Curtis said...

A good article on the falicy of wind power.
Thank you for your research.
The only thing I might add would be
when this hoax finaly plays out five, ten, fifteen years from now
there will be thousands of sq. miles of broken wind turbines poluting the land with their ugliness, it will be too costly to
remove them.

At 1:22 PM, Blogger lllee65 said...

You raise a variety of interesting points, but your research and math appear to be shaky. You confuse capacity, measured in megawatts (MW), with power generated over a period of time, which is measured in megawatt hours (MWh) or gigawatt hours (GWh). The phrase "93.5 MW per year" is, as a result, meaningless.
You will find that, according to the American Wind Energy Association, the production in the San Gorgonio Pass in 2006 was 732,561,714 mWh, with an installed capacity that year of 565 MW. This is a generation rate equal to 14.8% of capacity, averaged over all of the hours in a year. Annual production increased to a rate of almost 900 GWh as of April 2009. Whether on peak or off-peak, that electricity reduced the need to burn fossil fuel by a very significant amount.


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