Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ontario Wind Capacity Growing Many Times Faster than USA's

A couple of stories from today point to the absurd claims surrounding wind energy - from a couple of sides.
Let's start with a claim that subsidies should be removed (in the United States) because the generation is a mature, viable option:

 AEA Study: Removing Big Wind’s ‘Training Wheels’ | American Energy Alliance
WASHINGTON D.C. – A new report released today by the American Energy Alliance (AEA) concludes that wind energy is a mature industry whose growth has rendered the federal wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) an obsolete government hand-out that should be allowed to expire.

The AEA-commissioned study, “Removing Big Wind’s Training Wheels: The Case for Ending the Federal Production Tax Credit,” documents the explosive growth of wind generation as well as the favorable outlook for future wind generation development as a result of Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) – not the PTC.
But on the same day as the release of the study that the "Training Wheels" can come off, The American Wind Industry Association was announcing that over the first 9 months of 2013, after the near death experience of a tax credit at the end of 2012, little capacity has been added

Amid uncertainty, just 70 MW of wind capacity installed in 2013: AWEA - Electric Power | Platts News Article & Story:

After a record-breaking 2012 the US wind industry has slowed to a unprecedented crawl this year, installing less than 70 MW of new capacity in the first three quarters of 2013, the most stagnant growth in recent industry history, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

In a report released Thursday, AWEA said the industry installed 68.3 MW of new wind capacity in the third quarter after installing 1.6 MW in Q1 and no new capacity in Q2. There are 60,078 MW of installed capacity in the US, according to the report.

This limited increase is particularly jarring when compared with 2012...
So not so viable...

Ontario has apparently added over 4 times as much capacity as the entire United States thus far in 2013 (at Summerhaven, East Lake and Erieau).

The sites coming online in Ontario are due to a $135/MWh feed-in tariff (FIT) offer - and more sites are set to be coming much quicker in the near future.

Which brings up a graphic from a presentation dated only a couple of days ago:
This is a preliminary presentation from GE (contracted to provide a study on renewable integration to the PJM market area), and I'm not certain what they mean by "Value of Renewables Adjusted for Transmission Cost", but... the study does assume $8/MMBtu for natural gas, which would put the value of renewables near the cost of the fuel for the gas-fired generation it may displace (as previously argued by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers to be the value of wind).

With the current price of gas under $4/MMBtu, and Ontario's $135/MWh FIT pricing, additions of wind turbines will drive prices higher in the province.


Assessing Wind Power Cost Estimates is a useful report, released earlier in October, by Michael Giberson.
Giberson's study will not surprise those familiar with a 2012 study from OECD/NEA, but for the U.S. context it provides an explanation why the wind boom went so bust with the incorrectly anticipated death of the Production Tax Credit (PTC).

Giberson has responded to criticisms of his study on his Knowledge Problem blog - which is where I came across the links to the GE presentation.

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