For the last couple of weeks, a large portion of the US has been experiencing temperatures in the 80s and 90s. If you have air conditioning, you’re using it all day, every day. If you walk outside into the heat, you’ll notice something else, there’s no wind. This common occurrence every summer, high temps and no wind, is always overlooked by advocates of wind energy. The old saying about money applies to wind, “When you have it, you don’t need it and when you need it, you don’t have it.” But even as wind energy output falls, all of the nuclear, gas and coal fired power plants are humming along taking care of the demand for electricity, running our air conditioners and keeping us cool and doing a fine job of it. Yet wind advocates call for more wind turbines and the EPA is shutting down coal plants.
Power plants keep working as wind stumbles
Just across the lake in Ontario, Canada, they’re experiencing the same thing, high heat and no wind, and just like here, stationary power plants, especially nuclear, are keeping everyone cool.
Ontario’s nuclear plants were generating more than half of the province’s electricity: 11,148 megawatts. Gas, hydro and coal accounted for another 8,608 MW. Wind power, at 97 MW, barely moved the dial. Those mighty turbines (for which we will be paying dearly for many years to come) contributed less than half of 1 per cent of the total power output.
Ontario has been very aggressively building wind turbines, but no matter how fervently the true believers of wind keep expressing their faith, the facts keep getting in the way, when hot weather makes demand goes up, wind output goes down. Wind energy is a very expensive and unreliable addition to an energy grid that doesn’t need it or want it.
Romantic or reliable? You choose
The newest nuclear plants are extremely clean, safe and efficient while cheap and clean natural gas is lowering the cost of electricity nationwide and coal is still providing a huge portion of our base load requirements. All of these sources provide the reliable electrical power a modern economy needs. For all of the romantic talk of “green energy,” wind energy literally comes and goes with the wind, it’s not there when you need it and it simply doesn’t provide the “always on” electricity necessary to run the country.
Replacing things that work with things that sound good, rarely ends well.