I wonder if wind power would be cheaper than fossil fuels if it weren't so heavily subsidized. I'd say it definitely wouldn't be, but there are effective subsidies for the price of fossil fuels as well - for example, not taking advantage of the ANWR oil, and the artificial (and in my mind, criminal) restriction on the use of nuclear power.
Technologically, wind power is not economic except in some very special cases (locations with lots of steady wind), but in our far-from-rational energy system, who knows where the right answer will lie? If all the controls except true pollution restrictions (not including 'preserving wildlife eco-systems,' as though the caribou hadn't benefited from the Alaskan pipeline) were lifted, I think we'd find two things. First, there is plenty of energy, and second, most of the so-called environmentally friendly (and/or renewable) energy sources would turn out to be very bad polluters and so would fall by the wayside when people are making scientific decisions instead of sniffing the political winds. (Making batteries, for example on 'hybrid' cars, is an environmental nightmare, followed by the impact of making all those distributed motors on wind generators, etc.)
posted on 04/19/2006 1:26:36 PM PDT
I wonder if wind power would be cheaper than fossil fuels if it weren't so heavily subsidized
The answer is yes, when oil is at $70 a barrel, no when it is at $20 a barrel. Right now it is very profitable without subsidies of any kind. The break even point on wind power is about $50 a barrel. That would likely decrease as the market grows.
Technologically, wind power is not economic except in some very special cases
There is nothing more constant than the sea breeze. In during the day, out at night. What proportion of the population lives withing 100 miles of a coast? In the U.S. I think it is around 80%.
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