Wind Energy is a Key Wedge in the Fight Against Global Warming

Wind farms reduce green house gas emissions in the overall electrical grid on close to a 1:1 basis. Typical grids produce 800 g of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) per KWh generated by their mixes of fossil, nuclear and renewable generation, and wind energy displaces virtually all of that. It's difficult to imagine the mindset in which one would assert that black is white and that wind energy actually increases greenhouse gas emissions or does not reduce them. Yet many anti-wind commentary continues to make this claim based on an overlapping and baseless set of myths.

It's worth digging into the reality compared to the odd myths that are being spread, but before we get into the details, what does actual grid management data tell us? As the graph above shows, there is pretty much a one-for-one replacement of fossil fuel generation with wind energy, meaning that CO2e is also displaced on a one-for-one basis.

Front Groups Spread Disinformation in Attempt to Freeze Ohio Cleantech Laws

This column was originally published on The Huffington Post

Utility and fossil fuel-funded front groups are peddling disinformation to attack Ohio's Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) and Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) that should not be considered credible evidence as legislators debate a bill to freeze the pro-clean technology laws. Policymakers should instead consider unbiased research when evaluating the impact of Ohio's clean energy and energy efficiency standards.

The fossil fuel-funded Heartland Institute has been using flawed analysis to inflate the cost of renewable portfolio standards in states around the country. Heartland Institute's James Taylor claims that because electricity prices in Ohio have risen slightly faster than the national average since 2008, the state's clean energy standard is the culprit causing a spike in electricity prices. But Taylor ignores several additional factors that impact electricity prices.

Wind Energy: A Mature Business Challenging Fossil Generation Profits

Wind energy is a rapidly growing and profitable business worldwide, usually at the expense of fossil fuel generation revenue and, more importantly, profits. Unwrapping the conditions underlying profitable wind farms is useful when considering getting into the wind energy business or analyzing it, but also in terms of understanding motivations and tactics of those opposed to wind energy.

The factors determining the profitability of wind energy projects are the wind resources available, modern wind turbines, an effective economic regime to sell wind energy into, relatively cheap connections to the grid, highly optimized management and maintenance, and efficiency in getting to operational status.

 Source: Utility-Scale Land-Based 80-Meter Wind Maps

Source: Utility-Scale Land-Based 80-Meter Wind Maps


Property Values Not Hurt by Wind Energy

By Mike Barnard, Senior Fellow, Wind

Windmill generators in GermanyTen major studies in three countries of 1.3 million property transactions over 18 years of data have found no connection between wind farms and property values. Yet the fear of property value loss persists and is exploited by anti-wind campaigning groups in their attempts to turn local populaces against wind developments.

By comparison, only two moderately reliable studies with some statistical significance found property value impacts, and they are both challenged in different ways. Five other often referenced studies are merely case studies with no statistical significance, done by appraisers who show strong evidence of bias, and in one case there is clear evidence that they ignored the reality of the property they appraised. 

Table of wind farm property value studies

The evidence that wind farms don't harm property values is robust, methodologically sound and from reliable organizations. The evidence that wind farms harm property values is much weaker, methodologically challenged at best and usually from much less reliable organizations. 

Heartland Institute Pushes Flawed Analysis Attacking Kansas RPS

Yesterday, the Kansas Senate voted 25-15 to repeal the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS). The measure may be discussed during a session of the Kansas House of Representatives today. Update: The Kansas House of Representatives rejected the measure to repeal the state's RPS. 

The fossil fuel-funded Heartland Institute has been using flawed analysis to inflate the cost of RPS, in an attempt to eliminate pro-clean energy laws in states across the country. Kansas’ renewable portfolio standard has not led to the huge increases in electricity prices claimed by Heartland Institute, but has led to billions of dollars of investment in wind power and created thousands of jobs.

Heartland Institute’s James Taylor claims that because electricity prices in Kansas have risen faster than the national average since 2009, the state’s RPS is causing a spike in electricity prices. But Taylor ignores the fact that electricity prices are changing based on a number of different factors. 

In reality, Kansas uses much less natural gas (see Kansas Electricity Profile Table 5) than the national average (see United States Electricity Profile Table 5), which likely impacted the faster rise in electricity prices over the past few years. 

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