Why Is Wind Power So Expensive?

Summary of Study

Bottom Line: Wind power is a capital-intensive means of generating electricity that is far more expensive and less “green” than advertised. Further, wind is naturally intermittent, so the management of electricity systems becomes increasingly difficult as the share of wind power in total system capacity grows. Given that the UK government has done no serious cost-benefit analysis in its goal of substantially more wind, the commitment must now be scaled back.

Wind-based electricity generation requires a huge commitment of investment resources to a technology that is not very green, in the sense of saving a lot of CO2, but which is certainly very expensive and inflexible.

Because wind power is naturally intermittent, the management of electricity systems becomes increasingly difficult if the share of wind power in total system capacity approaches or exceeds the minimum level of demand during the year.

Markets have to be rigged in order to persuade investors to fund the investment that is required for wind power to thrive.  

The economic cost of fixing markets in this way, especially if there is a possibility of making mistakes, is very high.

Indeed, if the economics of the wind option was genuinely attractive, it would already be adopted on a much larger scale today.

The financial and policy commitment to huge amounts of wind capacity is lowering investments in more reliable energy systems, such as nuclear power and natural gas turbines.  

For example, wind power is an extraordinarily expensive and inefficient way of reducing CO2 emissions when compared with the option of investing in efficient and flexible gas combined cycle plants.

Unfortunately, the UK Government has done no serious cost-benefit analysis, so its commitment to more and more wind power capacity could become worse than a mistake but a major blunder.

Such expansive pro-wind policies must now be significantly scaled back.

 

Read the full study here.

Feature Charticle

Day-Ahead Forecast: Wind Demand, Prices for California (highly unpredictable)

GWPF

Findings: 

  • Wind-based electricity is a technology that is not very green, in the sense of saving a lot of CO2, but is certainly very expensive and inflexible.
  • Wind is naturally intermittent, so the management of electricity systems becomes increasingly difficult as the share of wind capacity on the grid grows. 
  • The UK government has done no serious cost-benefit analysis in its goal of substantially more wind power, thus the commitment must be scaled back.

Read the full study here