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View Diary: Wind power now CHEAPER for US retail consumers (71 comments)

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  •  Long run economics (none)
    "The gist of all this is that there is no rational reason today not to promote wind power today - it will be the most economic source of power in the long term - it already is in the short term."

    I'm not sure this will turn out to be accurate.  There are some major advances coming in solar power that could make it cheaper, or at least essentially the same cost as wind.  But for large installations I think wind is still preferable.

    I'm not anti-wind; hell, I'm about as pro-wind-power as people get.  But I think it's true that we're headed for a mix of renewables: Utility scale wind in the form of the typical 3-bladed turbines, institution-scale wind via vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWT's), and building-scale solar.

    See the entry "December 8, 2005: The aesthetics of wind turbines" on the front page of my site ( for my thoughts on the aesthetics issue and a link to some nice photoshopped images of simulated VAWT installations.

    •  Solar is certainly the long term future (none)
      but in the short and medium term, it will repain expensive (for now, still an order of magnitude more than wind or conventional power).

      Solar PV makes sense on a small scale, i.e. individual users that can benefit from retail prices and notwholesale prices or isolated areas where the cost of connection to the grid is significant.

      Solar as a source of centralised power (50 MW stuff or more) is happening, but need to be subsidised for now. As prices go down, its share will increase.

      The advantage of wind is that it is competitive TODAY for industrial scale power production - the 50-500 MW wind farms that are being built these days - and it can only get more competitive as technology improves and the competition faces increasing costs (fuel, whether gas or coal, and carbon taxes).

      In the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)
      Read more on the European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe

      by Jerome a Paris on Sun Dec 11, 2005 at 10:33:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A lot of people assume Solar == PV.. (none)

        And this doesn't have to be the case.  There is a company in California building two largish solar plants (~500MW and ~300MW) based upon the Stirling engine.  Essentially they capture the heat of the sun and convert to electricity.  They claim that the cost will be < 10 cents/KWh.

        Each individual dish is supposed to produce roughly 55,000-60,000 KWh per year.

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