Durango, Colorado is having economic difficulties. And what are they giving up to be able to pay for city workers? Green energy.
For two years, the city of Durango, Colo., bought electricity for all its government buildings from wind farms. The City Council ended that program this year, reverting to electricity derived from coal-burning plants and saving the cash-strapped city about $45,000.As long as wind and solar electricity cost more than conventional (coal, nuclear) electricity they are going to be a job killers. Now imagine what a plan to reduce fossil fuel use by 80% by 2050 is going to do if they are not replaced by low cost alternatives.
“It’s very hard for us to lay off an employee to justify green power,” City Manager Ron LeBlanc said. “Those are the tradeoffs you have to face.”
Plus, it seems wind is having reliability problems. Not just the intermittency of wind. The gear boxes connecting the turbine blades to the generators are falling apart.
Engineers at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory want to know why some gearboxes and other key wind turbine components wear out too soon. Wind turbines are expected to operate for 20 years. Early equipment fatigue threatens to reduce performance and drive up wind power costs. "The end users and the owner-operators say we're only getting five years, or in some cases, three years out of these gearboxes," said NREL principal engineer Sandy Butterfield, who is leading the Gearbox Reliability Collaborative. Initially, the gearboxes are being tested at NREL's National Wind Technology Center before testing at a Colorado wind farm under real conditions.Well that is going to raise the cost of wind power. A lot.
In good economic times the extra cost of wind electrical generation made some sense in order to develop wind to see how it worked in practice. Given the hard times we are having it makes sense to phase out the subsidy for wind so that wind turbines are installed only where they make economic sense. The same goes for solar and all the alternative energy subsidies. They are a job killers.
Cross Posted at Classical Values