Thursday, October 13, 2016



When I first worked with the people of Midwest Energy, I was impressed with many things, but two stood out:

·         These were really smart people who worked in a well-organized structure
·         Provision of electric power through a grid to thousands of customers was an intricate process

Spoiler Alert: This continues a theme that I have mentioned before, which is that the news media, but also other amateurs, usually get a complex subject wrong when they report it. This opinion is based on many instances where the media reported on something THAT I PERSONALLY KNEW ABOUT. Then it made me wonder how many times I had believed the media on a topic that I was ignorant of...and gotten the wrong info!

I would really like to query the people who support and implement the huge subsidies that the government provides to make wind power "feasible." Sorry, wind power is not feasible from any true financial standpoint, whether oil is $50 per barrel or $150 per barrel.

For details supporting this opinion, please read:

Plus their reading list that contains the writings of smart and knowledgeable authors, contrary to what you see in the media.

Ignore the intricate financial analysis for a minute, the broad brush paints a picture where the cost of wind power is exorbitant. There are other significant details in the article that circle back to the two bullet points at the beginning of this blog post--this is a complicated, intricate endeavor.

We all remember the hue and cry in California when the state experienced brown outs and black outs due to inadequate capacity in 2000-2002. It is fair to note that not all of the capacity shortage  then was due to generating facility inadequacy, some of it happened due to fuel shortages, but the primary reason for the shortages was that the economy was booming, demand was growing but the California PUC and the public resisted every effort to build more capacity.

One may conclude from this that the public does not like building more power plants, building more transmission capacity, building more fuel supply sources in order to meet increased demand, but the public also does not like having no lights when they turn on the switch! Pretty typical human nature.

Few of you will remember when there was a recurring rumor that somebody had invented a magic carburetor that would get "x" (usually 50 to 100) miles to the gallon but Mobil/Exxon/General Motors had purchased the magic carb and put it on the shelf. When you have a problem, it is often the opportunity for charlatans and conmen to swoop in and offer the magic bullet solution.(SIGH, why don't we learn?)

Mate the need for more capacity with environmental hysteria and you get a fertile ground to plant seeds like wind power. And solar power. Think of it--unlimited, free, renewable, "green" wind and solar. Let's get rid of that nasty oil and coal. Both Hillary and Obama have vowed to ruin the economy of West Virginia and shut down all coal plants. Refer back to the California story.

Problem is, people don't like higher prices for their power, and that is the only way you can produce wind and solar. Solution? Subsidize. You then have a hidden cost which is so much safer for politicians.

Subsidies for wind power in 2010 amounted to $5 billion and increased to $6 billion in 2013. In 2010, wind power produced 2.3% of the electricity generated and received 42% of federal subsidies. Wind power received $52.48/MWh; oil and gas, $0.63/MWh; coal $0.64/MWh; and solar a whopping $968.00/MWh produced.

 Enter another problem with the stuff we typically read--the difference between a Megawatt of capacity, a Megawatt Hour of production or consumption and the costs of those metrics. You add the fourth dimension of time and then complicate it with economics. Especially the liberal press (aka NYT) would rather we just deal with what we believe and feel. Sorry, physics doesn't work that way.

The federal government has subsidized wind power for the last 30 years. If you are a family of four, your contribution to the 2013 subsidy for wind power was $68.57. Think of that in terms of your electric bill and then think of receiving only 2.3% of the power from that source.

The authors and readers of the article mentioned above are well- acquainted with these facts, and the article then goes on to discuss how that energy produced tends to be either duplicated or wasted. One of the laws of physics that is really beyond my pay grade is that if those electrons are not used in the moment created, they disappear. Somehow. From an economic standpoint, easy to follow. Another reason that the less-dependable wind is duplicated by stand by and spinning reserve…because when you need the reserve, you need it in that moment.

We could go on, but let it be known that after 30 years of support, wind power and solar are not fulfilling their promise, but they keep spending your money.