Lawrence Berkeley Lab Definitive Study Pans Wind Power/Subsidies
May 25, 2020 (EIRNS)—Although it’s been repeated frequently, now the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab has released a definitive study proving that, without subsidies, wind turbines are a waste of time and money, not to mention unscientific and incompetent. Specifically, the study discovered that, after 10 years, the efficiency of a wind turbine generating unit falls off dramatically, and keeps going down thereafter. Highly suspected, is that as soon as federal subsidies (“production tax credit” or PTC in the report) expire, plant owners are ceasing vital, and expensive, maintenance because they can no longer afford it.
Published in the May 20 issue of Joule magazine, five researchers with the lab studied the lifetime productivity of the 917 onshore turbines currently extant in the United States, predominantly in the Plains States, from Texas north to the Dakotas. “Unique to the United States,” researchers said, in the initial summary section, “we find a significant drop in performance by 3.6% after 10 years, as plants lose eligibility for the production tax credit.”
Elaborating in the “Discussion” section, researchers continue:
“Like any engineered system, wind plants experience some deterioration over the course of their lifetime. For the wind fleet in the U.S., this degradation does not appear to happen smoothly over time, but involves a step-change in performance after 10 years of operation. The majority of wind projects in the U.S. have taken advantage of the PTC, which provides wind plants with a production-based tax credit for their first 10 years of operation. The results described here suggest that, in addition to potentially more frequent component failures and downtime as well as growing mechanical and aerodynamic efficiency losses as plants age, the U.S. plants are operated differently after they age out of the 10-year PTC window.”
That fact is born out by a comparison to European installations, which provide their subsidies differently, and did not show the sudden, nonlinear drop-off. showed. “In particular, European policies have not generally featured a short 10-year window of eligibility, such as that with the PTC,” they said, “which could be a reason they did not follow the pattern of the U.S. wind plants. This also implies that wind-plant degradation is not simply a physical process, but is also a function of weighing the costs of maintenance against the value of operation of a wind project.” In other words, without the subsidies, they are loss-making, bird-killing heaps of junk.