Friday, February 10, 2023

Is Wind Energy Finally Meeting Its Day of Reckoning?

Turbines not turning in calm winds on a >100° day
in southwest Kansas. Winds are usually light during
extreme heat and extreme cold. 

Wind energy? For the sake of our nation and our energy security, it looks like -- finally -- the wind energy boom is over. The marketplace is working, even though it is up against huge government subsidies. The details are here. Giant wind energy companies are asking for yet more subsidies.

So, when your year-over-year orders drop by 46% while costs rise by 25%, that can indeed be a problem. And, when you’re a maker of offshore turbines and your offshore turbine business unit doesn’t receive a single order during that same quarter, that’s an even bigger problem, isn’t it?

Sure, it is, and I can easily sympathize with the fix Siemens Gamesa management finds itself in.

What I can’t figure out, though, is why I should have any sympathy at all with the argument by this massive corporation that right fix here is more rents from the government, meaning it will ultimately become the taxpayer’s duty to pay the price for what is at the end of the day its own poor management strategy.   

The first federal subsidies for wind energy were passed during the Carter Administration. If it was going to work, wind should be working by now. Instead, it fails when needed the most: when winds are less than 6 mph, stronger than 26 mph, and when the temperature is colder than -5°F. It drives up prices and destabilizes the grid. 

I also highly recommend this essay on our deteriorating electrical grid. Required reading. 

We need to keep the pressure on politicians as the wind energy lobby is especially powerful. If we do that, we just might win. 

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