Wind Energy Receives Big Blow

New study finds inefficiency and high cost of turbines

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Breitbart highlighted an important study performed by the Scientific Alliance and the Adam Smith Institute that may not get much attention elsewhere (H/T Tom at @VRWCTexan). In short, the study found wind turbines are not as predictable as people would think, despite the fact that seasonal winds would appear to be one of the most predictable characteristics of weather. Data was gathered hourly from 22 sites around the United Kingdom over 9 years in order to generate an overall picture of where wind blew in these particular regions, how strong, and at what consistency.

What scientists learned was that despite popular understanding, recorded wind data did not show a pattern of “daily or even seasonal outputs.” This would, in turn, make it all the more difficult for one to anticipate the wind supply of a future winter, for example, as is regularly done for other forms of energy.

Perhaps the most damning findings of the study concerned the operational capacity of the 22 sites:

 “[I]t found that the system would be only running at 90 percent of capacity or higher for 17 hours a year, and at 80 percent or higher for less than one week a year; conversely, total output was at less than 20 percent of capacity for 20 weeks of the year, and below 10 percent during nine weeks a year. “The most common power output of this 10GW model wind fleet is approximately 800MW. The probability that the wind fleet will produce full output is vanishingly small,” the authors note.”