Alex White, lawyer and Trotskyite Fred Udo, distinguished Dutch engineer
Ireland's Energy Minister, Alex White, was interviewed by RTE radio yesterday. It can be listened to here :
RTE Radio 1, This Week: Ireland and Wind Power
It was a groundbreaking interview in a way, as it was the first time the technical nuts and bolts of wind energy policy was discussed in the mainstream Irish media :
Richard Crowley, interviewer : What is the ratio of wind energy to CO2 emissions savings ?
Alex White, Energy Minister : We reduced CO2 emissions by 2.6 Megatonnes.
Lo and behold, our energy minister does not know this crucial ratio ! The answer (for 2012) is that for each kWh of wind generated, associated emissions and fossil fuel savings are 0.33 kWh* due to increased ramping and cycling of gas plants (well below 1MW wind to 1MW savings as often claimed). This ratio will get worse with very high penetrations of wind. Recent analysis by Irish Energy Blog shows that wind reduced gas imports by just 2% year on year in 2014.
His lack of technical knowledge was shown once again when the minister referred to two Canadian reports into health effects of wind turbines but could not say what the setback distances were that were used in these reports. If anybody knows which reports he was referring to please do let me know.
These are just a sample of our Energy Minister's lack of in depth knowledge of his brief displayed during the interview (e.g. comparing cost of biomass with wind). Have a listen yourself.
Fred Udo's excellent reports can be read here :
Oh and by the way it's Udo - not U.D.O !
*Correction to original ratio of 54% by Fred Udo
54% is the part calculated within the framework of SEAI.
Self energy plus extra HV lines: 10%
The SEAI calculation takes only the static behavior of the generators.
Indication: The CO2 emission calculated by SEAI/Eirgrid is 7% too low.
If one attributes one third of this to wind and the other ⅔ to the daily ramping, one loses another 10%
The total efficiency of wind is then 33%.