Friday, January 25, 2013

Stunning Fact: US Wind Capacity Reaches 60,000 Megawatts Or The Equivalent Of 22 Three Mile Island Nuclear Units

An incredible surge of 13,200 megawatts of new wind capacity built just in 2012 means that the US now has 60,000 megawatts of wind operating. Wind is about 6% of total US capacity. Wow! Wow! Wow!

I live in the evacuation area of the Three Mile Island nuclear unit 1--an approximately 800 megawatt nuclear unit. TMI normally runs more than 90% of the time and produces a lot of electricity every year. And so do America's wind farms.

America's wind farms will produce in 2013 an amount of electricity equal to roughly 22 nuclear units.
Each megawatt of wind will provide enough power to supply approximately 300 homes or 18 million in total.  That's a lot of low-production cost power for consumers that puts significant downward pressure on power prices in wholesale electricity markets.

While low wholesale electricity prices are a bonanza for electricity consumers, they pressure the economic viability of the least efficient existing power plants.  In fact, Dominion announced in 2012 the closure of a nuclear plant in Wisconsin, because market prices were so low that the plant was no longer consistently profitable.

1 comment:

  1. The 13,200 MW is nameplate capacity and is meaningless. Look at the capacity factor of wind - it is only about 26% in the PJM grid and really even less than that, as PJM downrates it to 13% for 24 hour ahead bidding. Texas allows only 8%.

    Wind produces electricity in our area when we don't need it and when we do need it (hot summer afternoons), wind just doesn't deliver.