We were recently alerted to a lengthy attack on wind energy that was released by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in its “Energy and Environment Outlook.” There are many serious errors in the paper, including two major mistakes that completely bring down the central argument of the paper. In a surprising turn, once those errors are corrected, the data presented in the paper actually make a compelling case for why America should be increasing its use of renewable energy.
Study overestimates cost of wind energy by 500 percent
The central argument of the paper, that wind is not cost effective compared to fossil-fired generation, rests upon what we will charitably call a major math error. Author Benjamin Zycher drastically inflates the cost of wind energy by adding $368/MWh, or 36.8 cents per kilowatt-hour, to the cost of wind energy for a supposed need for “backup capacity,” increasing his calculated cost for wind energy by 250% to a remarkable $517/MWh (51.7 cents/kWh). As the citation for that added cost, Mr. Zycher references two Department of Energy (DOE) data tables. Unfortunately for him, neither the $368/MWh figure, nor any figure that would allow one to arrive at that number, appears anywhere in the tables he references.
Read full post at AWEA’s Into the Wind Blog