Sunday, September 29, 2019

Doubling State’s 1,100 Wind Turbines Won’t Replace This One Coal/Gas Plant

If their plan is to kill people, I think this plan will succeed.

Because the wind only blows intermittently, wind turbines in Michigan have a 36% capacity factor. That is, they can produce 1,925.3 megawatts of electricity just 36% of the time, on average. This means that, theoretically, it would require building another 2,162 wind turbines to replace the Karn coal plant.

But even that would not meet the need, because there is not enough variation in weather across Michigan to ensure that if turbine blades aren’t spinning in one area, they will do so elsewhere. When the blades are not spinning, Michigan’s utilities and the customers who rely on them would have to hope that utilities in other states have extra power available to sell at reasonable rates.

Coal-fired generators provided 37% of Michigan’s net electricity generation in 2018, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. Renewable sources provided 8%, with more than half of that coming from wind turbines.

Consumers Energy retired seven of its coal-fired generation plants in 2016. In June, the company announced it was closing the two coal-fired units at the Karn plant as of 2023.

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