Key Points:

  • Intermittent renewable power, primarily wind and solar, is a major disruptive influence on operations and investments, and some of its costs are not being borne by those responsible for causing them.
  • The benefits of power produced without fuel are seemingly persuasive, but a growing body of research shows that wind power’s advocates in Texas have at best overstated their case.
  • If windy areas are remote from consumers, as in Texas, reaching a wind generator may require dedicated radial transmission that cannot be used to deliver power from alternative sources; its isolation from most of the energy grid also means that it contributes little to reliability.
  • Ratemaking practices for transmission that pass costs through to consumers take important intermittency risks away from wind generators and throw them on to non-wind producers and captive ratepayers.

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