by jlongo | 11:40 am, October 9, 2012
Environmentalists advocate wind power as one of the main alternatives to fossil fuels, claiming that it is both cost effective and low in carbon emissions. This study seeks to evaluate these claims.
Existing estimates of the life-cycle emissions from wind turbines range from 5 to 100 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt hour of electricity produced. This very wide range is explained by differ- ences in what was included in each analysis, and the proportion of electricity generated by wind. The low CO2 emissions estimates are only possible at low levels of installed wind capacity, and even then they typically ignore the large proportion of associated emissions that come from the need for backup power sources (“spinning reserves”).
Wind blows at speeds that vary considerably, leading to wide variations in power output at different times and in different locations. To address this variability, power supply companies must install backup capacity, which kicks in when demand exceeds supply from the wind turbines; failure to do so will adversely affect grid reliability. The need for this backup capacity significantly increases the cost of producing power from wind. Since backup power in most cases comes from fossil fuel generators, this effectively limits the carbon-reducing potential of new wind capacity.
The extent to which CO2 emissions can be reduced by using wind power ultimately depends on the specific characteristics of an existing power grid and the amount of additional wind-induced vari- ability risk the grid operator will tolerate. A conservative grid operator can achieve CO2 emissions reduction via increased wind power of approximately 18g of CO2 equivalent/kWh, or about 3.6% of total emissions from electricity generation.
The analysis reported in this study indicates that 20% would be the extreme upper limit for wind penetration. At this level the CO2 emissions reduction is 90g of CO2 equivalent/kWh, or about 18% of total emissions from electricity generation. Using wind to reduce CO2 to this level costs $150 per metric ton (i.e. 1,000 kg, or 2,200 lbs) of CO2 reduced.
by jlongo | 12:11 pm, July 26, 2012
A ban on fracking would not satisfy those who present general arguments against any kind of development. Acceptance of these arguments would require an outright ban on all oil and gas activities, new wind farm construction, electric transmission construction, residential housing developments, road construction, and the like. Before accepting any argument against fracking as sufficient grounds to restrict or ban its use, one should take that argument to its logical conclusion and consider the full set of repercussions. For if such arguments are granted valid status, they will be used again and again by whichever parties can benefit from shutting down any particular form of development.
by jlongo | 11:34 am, June 25, 2012
By Donovan Schafer
The Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH) at the University of Colorado recently published an article in Science of the Total Environment presenting results from a study on air pollution due to oil and gas development (including hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”) in Garfield County.
Benzene and other ”potentially toxic” chemicals were found at concentrations [...]
- PPC Training for Activists
UPDATE: Something apparently got messed up with the PayPal buttons during this past weekend’s database glitch – fixed now. Yes, it’s that time again — PPC will be conducting training classes for center-right activists on Saturday, April 20 and Saturday, April 27, at Independence Institute in Denver. The tentative class schedule is as follows: Saturday, [...]
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