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Premium member Presentation Transcript Setting the Record Straight:The Benefits of Wind Energy for Colorado: Setting the Record Straight: The Benefits of Wind Energy for Colorado Reply to an Article in Intermountain Rural Electric Association’s March 2004 Newsletter, 'Watts and Volts,' Entitled 'Does the Wind Really Blow for Free?' Interwest Energy Alliance 15 March 2004, revised 9 September 2004 Background: Background In the Intermountain Rural Electric Association’s March 2004 newsletter, 'Watts andamp; Volts,' an article was published ('Does the Wind Really Blow for Free?') criticizing renewable energy technologies, and particularly wind energy. Written to oppose renewable energy legislation in the 2004 Colorado General Assembly (HB 04-1273), this article was chock-full of inaccuracies and misrepresentations about wind energy. These slides attempt to set the record straight on just a few of the many factual errors in the article. Article from March 2004 'Watts andamp; Volts,' also available at http://www.intermountain-rea.com/renewable.htm (Note: In each of these slides, the Myth appears automatically. To read each Fact, and to advance the slides, press the space bar or left-click your mouse.) Which is Cheaper to Build:Wind or Coal?: Which is Cheaper to Build: Wind or Coal? Myth: 'While wind advocates claim that wind is competitive with conventional generation, they fail to reveal its true costs. While the wind does blow for free, the initial cost of wind farms is much higher than other forms of generation. The cost per kilowatt of electricity is about $4,000—triple the cost of a coal-fired plant.' Fact: Intermountain’s cost figures are decades old. The U.S. government and the wind and coal industries report that the capital cost per kilowatt for new wind plants is typically $1,000 or less, while new coal plants range from $1,200 to $1,400 per kilowatt. Even with coal’s higher capacity factor, wind’s cost-competitiveness makes it a sound, safe investment on behalf of utility ratepayers and investors. The cost of wind is cited at: http://www.eere.energy.gov/power/success_stories/wind_cost.html The cost of coal is cited at: http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/Hearings/06242003hearing968/Ferguson1547.htm Does Wind Energy Rely on Federal Subsidies?: Does Wind Energy Rely on Federal Subsidies? Myth: 'Tax credits pay 1.8 cents/kWh for the first ten years of the life of a new wind farm. On top of that, electric consumers are typically asked to pay an additional 2.5 cents/kWh for the privilege of consuming wind power. If the production tax credit expires, consumers will pay the entire 4.3 cents.' Fact: Wind energy does not cost an additional 2.5 cents/kWh: this is the tariffed price for a voluntary program offered by Xcel Energy and does not reflect today’s cost of wind. In fact, Xcel testified in 2003 that its new windfarm near Lamar would save consumers about $4.6 million per year, and its cost for wind energy is fixed over the project’s 15-year contract at 3.26 cents/kWh [constant dollars], while Intermountain is paying Xcel Energy 4.52 cents/kWh (in 2002 - latest figures available) for wholesale power generated from coal and natural gas. Rural electric cooperatives, including Intermountain, were created by the federal government in the 1930s and continue to enjoy federal subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service. Is Wind Energy Efficient?: Is Wind Energy Efficient? Myth: 'Once wind farms are in operation they are typically only 25-30% efficient…' Fact: Efficient? Modern wind turbines are highly efficient and use state-of-the-art controls. In this myth, perhaps IREA is referring to the annual capacity factor of wind turbines. Colorado has some of the highest annual capacity factors in the nation. In eastern Colorado, a typical wind turbine will be producing some power 60-80 percent of the time. For the purpose of comparison, a typical coal plant has a capacity factor of 85-87 percent. “Who Will Pay for Wind Energy?”: 'Who Will Pay for Wind Energy?' Myth: '…Far from being sustainable, wind farms would cease to exist without taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies.' Fact: Xcel Energy reports that its new windfarm near Lamar will save consumers $4.6 million per year, and it is likely that wind energy will continue to save consumers money in Colorado year after year. All energy technologies enjoy various federal tax incentives and support Does Wind Energy Have Health or Environmental Risks?: Does Wind Energy Have Health or Environmental Risks? Myth: 'As wind farms proliferate around the world, health, safety and environmental problems continue to mount…' Fact: Modern wind turbines have not been proven to cause any ill health effects, and the safety record of U.S. windfarms is unsurpassed. Does IREA have documented instances of health or safety problems at any American wind project? “Cuisinarts of the Air?”: 'Cuisinarts of the Air?' Myth: 'In California, wildlife experts at the Center of Biological Diversity recently filed suit against the owners of wind farms at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area. Every year, 'turbines there kill about 60 golden eagles, 300 red-tailed hawks, 270 burrowing owls and hundreds of other protected raptors.' The lawsuit claims the turbines have killed 5,500 birds each year. Those numbers are just for one wind farm out of hundreds across the United States.' Fact: Just one project has caused most raptor fatalities in the United States: California’s Altamont Pass. This project, built in the early 1980s, is unique in that it has very high-year-round raptor foraging. Years ago, the wind industry recognized the Altamont project’s effects on raptors and has since improved environmental impact studies and turbine siting to address the issue. New projects have nearly eliminated wind turbines’ effects on birds to the point where if the U.S. got all of its electricity from wind, wind would kill less than one of 250 birds that die annually from human-related causes, even using the most extreme extrapolations of wind critics. Is Wind Energy Reliable?: Is Wind Energy Reliable? Myth: 'Engineers don't know how much fluctuating power can be introduced into the grid without undermining reliability. Many believe that any amount above five percent will cause the grid to fail.' Fact: Numerous government and utility studies have shown that backup generation does not need to be built when wind comprises 10 to 20 percent of grid power. Utilities are increasingly experienced at integrating wind’s variability into their overall generation portfolio. As for building new transmission lines, all new power stations require transmission lines. With Xcel’s new Lamar windfarm, transmission costs are included in the project’s 3.26-cent/kWh cost. More information on these studies is available at www.uwig.org What is “the Truth” About the Cost of Wind Energy?: What is 'the Truth' About the Cost of Wind Energy? Myth: 'The truth is that no one knows how much this legislation will cost Colorado residents.' Fact: The truth is, wind energy is already saving Colorado consumers money. Wind and other renewable energy technologies offer unprecedented new opportunities for rural economic development and ratepayer savings in Colorado. Low-cost wind energy generates more jobs per dollar invested than fossil-fuel technologies. As one of the nation’s largest rural electric cooperatives, Intermountain has a responsibility to its members to publish accurate and up-to-date information on its energy choices. For More Information: For More Information American Wind Energy Association: www.awea.org Coloradans for Renewable Energy: www.coenergy.info Intermountain Rural Electric Association: www.intermountain-rea.com National Rural Electric Cooperative Association: www.nreca.org U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Wind Powering America: www.windpoweringamerica.gov Utility Wind Interest Group: www.uwig.org Xcel Energy: www.xcelenergy.com Slides Prepared by Craig Cox Interwest Energy Alliance P.O. Box 272 Conifer, Colorado 80433 303-679-9331 www.interwestenergy.org You do not have the permission to view this presentation. In order to view it, please contact the author of the presentation.