The Unfuture of Wind Power Generation

Wind power is (and will continue to remain) a hot topic here in the South Dakota. However, as I’ve noted in this space on several occasions, it seems as though we are wasting our energy by considering it a viable alternative. I’m not the only one who has noticed this:

Wind power, like nuclear power, has incorrectly been described as a key part of the solution to electric generation in the USA. T Boone Pickens, the famous wildcatter, had a plan to develop large wind generating plans across the central US. Back in mid-2009 he folded his tent, noting that there wasn’t any prospect of building transmission lines to bring wind power from where the wind is best to the cities where the demand resides, as I noted here. Anyone remotely familiar with the actual capabilities of financing transmission nowadays knew it was a fools errand, since routing a transmission line literally takes over a decade of permitting and routing is often very inefficient, such as in this case.

Since ancient times, production has only been one part of the equation for a successful sale. The other part is getting to market. Wind power generation is making some progress with production (as we maximise the efficiencies of the wind turbine technology) but the “getting to market” is proving very difficult and will continue to be the dealbreaker unless and until someone can figure out a way to cheaply and safely upgrade a whole lot of existing grid–and expand the grid at the same time.