Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Sec. Ken Salazar is Full of... Hot Air
President Obama’s Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar unintentionally illustrated the policy fissures running through these complex debates just yesterday. Speaking at the first of a series of environmental town halls — fast becoming this Administration’s chosen method for feigning interest in the opinions of the citizenry (a relatively inexpensive method suitable for Bailout USA, requiring only a lukewarm carafe of burnt coffee, a stack of powdered donuts, creaky metal-backed chairs just uncomfortable enough to end the questioning after 90 minutes or less, and a Mr. Microphone) — in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Salazar was faced with an angry crowd of environmentalists.[...]
[Secretary Salazar] raised eyebrows when he said offshore wind farms could replace 3,000 coal-fired plants. He contends that the offshore wind potential just in the Atlantic—the easiest region to develop–totals about 1,000 gigawatts.
Hold on there, Kitty Cat. Sr. Salazar has it exactly backwards; a single very large coal-fired plant will replace about 1,360 wind generators (even the big new Vestas V112-3.0 MW) and will be more reliable and cost effective, not the other way around. The US generates about 1,000 gigawatts with ALL of its generators--nuclear, hydroelectric, coal and gas fired--everything. There are only about 1,400 US coal fired plants, and they produce about a third of our electricity generated. There would have to be a lot of wind indeed to do what Salazar claims. Most of the potential wind energy in the Atlantic (about 77%) is over deep water. The rest of the world has built a lot of wind generators; all told, they produce 120 gigawatts, but only 1% of that is from deep water generators (sited in ocean water deeper than 200 feet). So Secretary Salazar is pushing the expenditure of more billions we don't have to construct hundreds of thousands of wind generators, each costing multi million dollars, most in deep water off our coast, in the hope they will provide us with rather fickle power that has to be backed up. It's just not going to happen. It's transparently untrue.
Any way the wind blows.