Installing Windmills Doesn’t Make the Wind Blow

PA Pundits - International

By David Kreutzer, Ph.D. ~

A tweet from the Department of Energy (DOE) gives a link to a DOE webpage highlighting a graph from, and giving a link to, a study by the American Wind Energy Association.

Skipping the question of how appropriate it is for the DOE to flack for an advocacy organization, we can address the topic: the rapid growth of wind-energy installation.

For years, wind advocates have been bragging about the growth of installed wind-power capacity, which they compare to other energy sources. What they rarely (if ever) talk about is production.

Because windmills cannot be turned on at will—in industry jargon, they are not dispatchable—the power they produce depends on how much the wind blows. At 25 percent, the average capacity factor for wind power is well below those of conventional sources. So a better comparison, rather than the theoretical potential of windmills installed, is the…

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About Tom Harley

Amateur ecologist and horticulturalist and CEO of Kimberley Environmental Horticulture Inc. (Tom Harley)
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