Despite claims to the contrary, wind capacity factors have remained relatively constant over the years at about 1/3 (1). Over the first six month of 2015, the average U.S. capacity factor was 0.32 and that for Ohio was 0.34 (2).
(1) U.S. Department of Energy, 2014 Wind Technologies Market Report, http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/08/f25/2014-Wind-Technologies-Market-Report-8.7.pdf
(2) Electric Power Monthly, August 2015, Tables 1.17.B & 6.2.B
Testimony at the final hearing of the Electric Mandates Study Committee predicted dire economic consequences of resuming the timetable in 130-SB310. These warnings were based on two reports (I, ii) that used a computer model of a state’s economy. However there were two serious omissions in both studies:
- Neither report includes cost estimates for RECs. The renewable energy goals are being satisfied by the purchase of renewable energy certificates (REC), which are considerably cheaper than the electricity itself.
- The efficiency goals are not included in either analysis. Efficiency has led to a net saving for Ohio ratepayers.
There is a separate issue as to whether the reports give realistic results for the situation they are calculating. For example, ATI (ii) estimates a cost range of $67-100/MWh for 2016. The 2015 price is about $20 (iii).
(i) American Tradition Institute The Cost and Economic Impact of Ohio’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, April 2011
(ii) Randy T Simmons, et al. (Utah State University) Renewable Portfolio Standards: Ohio, April 2015
(iii) League of Women Voters of Ohio, et al. Report on Residential Green Electricity compliance Costs, July 16, 2015 (Table 2, using a typical residential usage of 750 MWh/mo.)
If renewable energy causes financial harm, the effects should show up in economic data. Since Ohio has the least renewable energy of any state in our region (1), compared to the other nine states we should have
- the lowest unemployment rate; Ohio actually has the fifth lowest. (2)
- the highest rate of job creation; Ohio actually ranks sixth highest. (3)
- the best recovery from the recession: Ohio actually ranks third. (4)
- the lowest utility rates: Ohio actually has the fourth highest. Having more renewable energy does not increase rates(1)
Apparently, there are no benefits to Ohio having little renewable energy.
(1) Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, February 2015 (annual data for 2014) http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/current_year/february2015.pdf. For the purpose of this comparison, Ohio’s region also includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.
(2) Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployment Rates for States, Monthly Rankings, Seasonally Adjusted
July 2015, http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm
(3) Gallup Latest News, N.D. First, Conn. Last in State Job Creation in 2014, http://www.gallup.com/poll/181520/first-conn-last-state-job-creation-2014.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_content=morelink&utm_campaign=syndication
(4) Recovery from the recession was judged by the percent increase in state gross domestic product from 2009 to 2014; Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Total Gross Domestic Product for Ohio: https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/OHNGSP; Data for other states can be accessed from this web page.