Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Real Hockey Stick Graph - Wind Power

Subtitle: US Wind Power Increasing Rapidly 

There is a discredited graph in climate science that purports to show the past 1000 years of Earth's global average temperature was very flat, until the past 40 years more or less, when a large upturn occurred.  The long unchanging period is supposed to look like the handle of a hockey stick, with the upturned portion appears to be the blade.  

However, a valid hockey-stick graph is shown at right, which is the past few decades of grid-scale electric power produced in the US from hydroelectric dams (blue line) and from wind-
turbines (orange line).   The significance of this graph is that wind-turbines now produce a significant portion of the total power to the grid, an amount equal to that of hydroelectric dams.   Future wind-turbine installations will add to the wind's contribution, so that it exceeds the hydroelectric contribution.  

For those who say that wind energy is too small to matter, it is growing rapidly.  If wind is too small to matter, then perhaps hydroelectricity is also too small to matter.   Both represent approximately 5 to 6 percent of the total power generated in the US.  

For those who complain that wind energy is subsidized, the reality is that wind turbine projects receive only a small subsidy, of 2.3 cents per kWh sold for the first 10 years of operation. Wind-farm owners must put up their own money or borrow the money to purchase and install the turbines, lease the land, pay for operations and maintenance, and collect the electricity and connect to the grid.    In contrast, more than 70 percent of all hydroelectric dams and generation plants were built entirely with federal funds, a 100 percent subsidy.  Yet, nobody complains that hydroelectric power should be stopped.  

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California

copyrignt © 2016 by Roger Sowell, all rights reserved

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