Time to make fun of green weenies again. This time, we head to Texas.
Writing in Slate magazine, Manhattan Institute senior fellow Robert Bryce reports that Texas electricity demand hit a record high 63,594 megawatts on August 4, 2010. Good thing the state has more wind turbine capacity than any other state, huh? In fact, Texans have 9700 megawatts of potential wind-generated electricity capacity.
So then, of the 63,594 megawatts generated on August 4, wind produced more than 15%–impressive, right?
The blades on Texas wind turbines were still or barely moving, generating only 500 megawatts of electricity. So then, a 15% wind turbine capacity produced less than eight-tenths of one percent of the power needed by Texans on the heaviest usage day ever.
When the weather is really hot, like summers in Texas, and electricity demand is highest, like summer demand in Texas, then the wind is calm-, pretty much like the wind is most of the summer in most of Texas.
Now, a basic principle in fluid physics goes like this: fluids (gasses and liquids) move from higher to lower pressure regions. When applied to the atmosphere, the principle explains the phenomenon that we call “wind.”
So when the weather is hot all over, no high or low pressure cells moving about, there is little wind. When Texas needs wind turbines spinning like crazy, Mother Nature is least cooperative.
Well alrighty then. Green weenie politicians probably should have asked real scientists a few questions before installing the largest wind power capacity in America.
Bryce explains that the miniscule amount of wind-generated electricity on August 4 was no fluke. Already back in 2007, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas had determined that only “8.7 percent of the installed wind capability can be counted on as dependable capacity during the peak demand period for the next year.”
Wind can only generate the ever-so-tiniest portion of our electric power. Reliable wind-generated electricity is a folly because of two insurmountable facts:
- Wind blows occasionally.
- People need electricity more often than occasionally.
Recall my post, here, in which I pointed out that…
…unless you live in the Kerguelen Islands of the extreme southern Indian Ocean, the most consistently windy place on Earth, you’d kinda sorta already know that winds are highly variable and unpredictable.
But will wind power zealots learn from fact and reason?
Wind power dogmatists are of the same species whose members drive Smart Cars. The 1,588-pound Smart Car would get crushed instantly when broadsided by a 10,000-pound Hummer traveling at 50 mph, snapping the neck of the Smart Car driver under a instantaneous sideways acceleration of 50 times the acceleration of gravity.
Now picture the facial expression that you’ve probably seen by now on one of those Smart Car drivers. You know, the superior, “I am enlightened and you’re not” smirk. Members of the species are not bothered by truth. As with all dogmatists, Smart Car drivers and wind power zealots alike are fixed on the feel-good that they get from believing in pretty theories.
Nasty realities mean nothing.