More on Wind & Natural Gas
The following is a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal about the article referred to in my previous post on this issue.
To the editor:
The recent article by Edgar Gaertner on how wind energy leads to more gas consumption in Europe draws an erroneous conclusion about U.S. wind power’s potential. Wind power is not meant to replace all natural gas (or any other fuel) in U.S. electric power generation. As a clean source of electricity that is also stable in price, wind can provide 20% of U.S. electric power needs by 2030, thereby displacing other energy sources that are not as clean, and whose prices are volatile. According to Department of Energy estimates, 20% wind power would cut natural gas use in half from what it would otherwise be. Still, other fuel sources would be needed to generate the remaining 80% of our electricity.
As for the need for backup power: Wind is variable, but so is customer demand for electricity, which varies throughout the day. Utility system operators already turn power plants on or off as needed to balance supply and demand. With today’s forecasting models, a grid operator can accurately predict how much wind power is available to meet demand, and can balance wind with other power sources as needed. Wind power can supply 20% or more of the total electricity on a system without adding significantly to normal variability.
The net impact of 20% wind would be good for U.S. consumers, good for the environment, good for energy security, and good for the U.S. economy because about half of wind power components are made in the United States.
American Wind Energy Association