The Folly of Wind

The U.S., like much of Europe, has supposedly committed itself to replacing fossil fuels with “green” energy, which mostly means wind. This will never happen, and the effort to make it happen will collapse in ignominy and economic and social chaos. The reason is simple: wind turbines, and even more so solar panels, fail to produce electricity a large majority of the time. Just as bad, their failures are unpredictable and often ill-timed.

Here in the Upper Midwest, we have experienced a couple of hot weeks, which means that air conditioners have been running. MISO, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, has a nominal 28,572 megawatts of wind energy on its grid. Surely the wind turbines were able to keep the air conditioners running. Right?

Just kidding. Isaac Orr explains:

The graph below shows wind capacity factors in MISO during the same period in blue. A capacity factor is a percentage of how much electricity a power plant generates compared to its theoretical maximum output.

The graph also shows the capacity value that MISO gives to wind turbines, which is intended to measure the reliable capacity that the asset is supposed to contribute during peak electricity demand. In 2023, MISO expects wind turbines to operate at an 18.1 percent capacity factor during times of peak demand, shown in red in the chart.

So MISO knows wind turbines are mostly useless. It plans on getting only 18% of wind energy’s rated capacity. Sometimes, of course, it gets more because it happens to be windy. But under extreme hot or cold conditions, wind tends to die down. Over the last two weeks, there have been periods when wind turbines produced virtually nothing–down to only around 6% of their alleged capacity.

The idea that we can replace coal, natural gas and nuclear power plants that operate reliably, 24/7, with wind turbines and solar panels that produce electricity only occasionally, is absurd. And yet that is the policy that the Democratic Party has declared. All of us will soon pay a fearful price for that fantasy.

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