Limits of Wind Power Study (10/2012)

MPI and the Reason Foundation analyze claims about the cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits of wind power.
As Montana’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requires electric utilities to obtain more and more generation from “renewable” sources like wind, policymakers must reevaluate the economic and environmental benefits. Wind blows at speeds that vary considerably, leading to wide variations in power output at different times and in different locations. To address this variability, power supply companies must install backup capacity, which kicks in when demand exceeds supply from the wind turbines; failure to do so will adversely affect grid reliability. The need for this backup capacity significantly increases the cost of producing power from wind. Since backup power in most cases comes from fossil fuel generators, this effectively limits the carbon-reducing potential of new wind capacity. For full study, see below.

For PDF: Limits of Wind Power Study