Compare: Keystone Pipeline costs $7 billion / a new wind Project costs $7-$8 billion
The TransWest Express (TWE) Transmission & Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project would produce 9 million megawatt hours a year. At a cost of $80 a megawatt hour Coal produces a megawatt hour for $90. This cost is figured out without ANY federal or state wind subsidies. It would also create 18,000 jobs.
The Keystone Pipeline on the other hand — the State Dept claims it will produce 5,000 jobs the oil companies claim 500,000 jobs ( do they plan to dig the pipeline with guys with pick axes?). The Keystone Pipeline would supply us with 2.5% of our daily oil needs.
And for those of you who say I’m comparing apples and oranges — oil barrels and kilowatt-hours — I have this to say. Energy is energy, and wind power right now has become a viable alternative for powering our vehicles. In the lobby of NCES sat the brand new Coda sedan (I saw the prototype in China and blogged about it last year). It looks just like a Camry but goes up to 150 miles on a single 34 kWh charge. A typical U.S. driver would charge her Coda 100 times in a year (3.4 MWh’s total), which means that the DWE + Sierra wind project could theoretically power about 2.9 million cars* — roughly the same as could be fueled by the Keystone XL pipeline.**
But wait maybe we can triple the power from Windmills.
a wind lens, which is an inward curving ring around the perimeter of the circle inscribed by the turbine’s blades as they rotate, focuses airflow, directing and accelerating the air as it enters the blade zone.
it consists of an inlet shroud, a diffuser and a brim. This results in a low pressure area behind the turbine which draws in more air creating even more power. Researchers claim that this approach can triple the turbine’s output while reducing noise at the same time.
Last year in the US, wind turbines provided 40,180 MW of power, or 3.2% of total demand. Tripling that would bring it quickly up to 10%.
but but the wind does not blow all the time
but you’re forgetting that wind is a marginal player today. It’s easy to integrate a LITTLE wind. But once you get to 10% or 20%, the system breaks down. For every MW of wind you put on the system, you need to add a full MW of fossil fuel to back it up. It’s completely uneconomic from a capital cost perspective.”
The fact is that there are already states and countries that have 20% or more wind power over the course of a full year — Iowa for one; Denmark and Northern Germany for another. And, in some of these places, wind accounts for 50% or even 100% of electricity demand for certain periods.
Are there rolling blackouts in Europe due to their reliance on wind energy? No, far from it. The reliability of European grids is far better than US grids. In fact, according to Jay Apt, Executive Director of the Electricity Industry Center at Carnegie Mellon: “The United States ranks toward the bottom among developed nations in terms of the reliability of its electricity service… The average U.S. customer loses power for 214 minutes per year. That compares to 70 in the UK, 53 in France, 29 in the Netherlands, 6 in Japan, and 2 minutes per year in Singapore.”
So, European grid operators have learned how to integrate wind in large quantities. Have they built large numbers of natural gas peaker plants to “back up” wind? No, not at all. European power system experts tell me that they are not aware of even a single gas peaker plant added to balance wind energy — not even in Northern Germany or Denmark.
There is enough capacity in the system to handle everything without adding any extra capacity.
But But but what about the birds? You Lefties still love animals don’t you?
Funny this is the first time you Righties ever worried about animals.
Anyway we can scare them away better a scared bird than a dead bird:
So then more jobs, more power ( if the wind lens works otherwise around equal power) for around the same cost plus no pollution. it should be noted though that Total the French oil company recently sold its share of Canada’s oil sands for a $1.65 billion loss, about a $3 loss for every dollar they invested ( $4 become $1 ),
Marathon Oil Corp., Murphy Oil Corp. and Athabasca Oil Corp. had sought buyers and partners in the Northern Alberta oil sands, but now have changed their minds – or in Athabasca’s case, have told investors to hang tight after the company failed to clinch deals that had once appeared imminent.
Those companies join ConocoPhillips Co., Koch Industries Inc. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC in being disappointed after putting properties up for sale that may have once attracted bids totalling in the billions of dollars. Those three say they have rethought their plans after offers failed to meet expectations.
If the Keystone Pipeline is such a great idea then why are even the Koch Brothers trying to sell their Canada tar sands and if the Keystone pipeline is such a good idea why can’t they find any buyers?
Photo by Richard Smith released under a Creative Commons license.