Wind Energy News


The full text of the WEEKLY is available in hardcopy form for $595/year and is recommended for those with a serious commercial interest in wind (the electronic edition contains only excerpts). A monthly hardcopy publication, the WINDLETTER, more suitable for those interested in residential wind systems is included with a $50/year individual membership in the Association. AWEA's goal is to promote wind energy as a clean and environmentally superior source of electricity. Anyone sharing this goal is invited to become a member. For more information on the Association, contact AWEA, 122 C Street, NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20001, USA, phone (202) 383-2500, fax (202) 383-2505, email Or visit our World Wide Web site at


AWEA has recently launched a new electronic discussion mailing list on small-scale energy systems that include wind as a component. It's the perfect place to find out more about the design, selection, installation, operation, and maintenance of small wind systems and other small-scale systems hardware such as photovoltaic panels and batteries.

To subscribe to the AWEA Home Wind Energy mailing list, simply write to


If you are a U.S. resident, please help us with our effort to keep Congress from making sharp cuts in U.S. federal wind and solar energy research programs. You can send a form e-mail letter to a member of the House Appropriations Committee with the click of a mouse button from The Committee is expected to act on the research budget within the next two weeks.



Deregulation may threaten greenhouse gas emissions cuts Externalities can impact power plant options, says Tellus


More Bergey small turbines bound for Indonesia sites


The current deregulation of the U.S. utility industry, by hampering energy conservation, renewable energy technologies, and nuclear power, may make it harder to achieve the greenhouse gas emissions goals in President Clinton's Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP), according to a study from Harvard's Center for Science and International Affairs.

ELECTRICITY RESTRUCTURING AND THE ENVIRONEMNT, published in December by Henry Lee and Negeen Darani, examines the potential environmental effects of reduced regulation of the utility system. Restructuring, it finds, may lead to increases both in air pollution and in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the leading greenhouse gas associated with climate change.

"While the numbers for SO2 [sulfur dioxide] and NOx [nitrogen oxides] emissions increases from lost DSM [efficiency and conservation] and renewable investments are small, the increases in CO2 emissions are larger," Lee and Nagani write. "A 40 percent reduction in the *growth* of ratepayer-subsidized DSM will result in increased CO2 emissions equal to five percent of the CCAP target [for emissions cuts]. A 40 percent reduction in projected renewable investments will result in slightly smaller increases in CO2 by 2000, but larger increases in the following decade."

The increases that would result from slower progress in efficiency and renewables development are "not trivial," the researchers said, but even larger boosts in CO2 emissions could result from greater usage of old, dirty coal-fired power plants and early retirement of nuclear plants.

Ramping up coal use, they said, will have substantial environmental effects: "In the early 1990s, coal generating stations were operating at capacity utilization rates in the low to mid sixties. Even a moderate increase of three percentage points [in capacity use] will have a substantial impact on NOx emissions--492,316 tons of NOx or 24.6 percent of the CAAA [Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990] targets [for NOx emissions cuts]. Such an increase will place substantial upward pressure on NOx abatement costs, as states will have to find other emissions reductions elsewhere. The figures for CO2 are equally large--43 million tons or 15 percent of the CCAP goal."

The use of older coal plants with higher emissions is a potentially difficult problem, because their cost of power is low, giving them an advantage in a cost-driven electricity market like the market restructuring proposes to create. Write Lee and Darani, "In economic terms, older facilities have enjoyed a subsidy in the form of avoiding the environmental costs they impose on society. This subsidy has been paid for by newer facilities. If all facilities must compete against each other, this inter-industry subsidy may reinforce the incentives to extend the use of these older plants and serve as a disincentive to invest in new, cleaner alternatives."

Early retirement of nuclear power plants would also push up emissions levels of pollutants and CO2. In a competitive market, according to Lee and Darani, nuclear plant owners will find it very difficult to pay for major repairs (those costing more than $100 million), because such repairs can no longer be added to the utility rate base and paid for over a 10-year to 20-year period. "If 6,000 MW of nuclear capacity is prematurely retired," the two write, "the subsequent increase in NOx emissions would equal five percent of the CAAA targets. The increase in CO2 would be between 14 million and 28 million tons or five to 10 percent of President Clinton's goal."

The study also notes that Integrated resource planning (IRP) is an artifact of the regulatory system and is unlikely to survive its passing. "Under cost-of-service regulation, market risk--the risk that demand for the product will be less than forecasted, fuel risk--the risk that fuel prices will fluctuate, and environmental regulatory risk--the risk that government will impose new and costly environmental regulations in the future-- all were borne primarily by the consumer. As a result, utilities had an incentive to overbuild, give less weight to future fuel price volatility, and discount the possibility of more stringent environmental standards in making their investment decisions. Integrated resource planning (IRP) processes were an attempt to counter some of the perverse incentives inherent in the allocation of these risks." Competition, however, places the risks on the investor, rather than the consumer, and makes central planning of any kind very difficult to enforce.

ELECTRICITY RESTRUCTURING AND THE ENVIRONMENT is available as CSIA Discussion Paper 95-13 from the Center for Science and International Affairs, Publications, 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA, phone (617) 495-1351, fax (617) 495-1635.


Bergey Windpower Co., Inc., of Norman, Okla., said it has signed a contract with Winrock International for 16 small wind turbines for various applications on islands in eastern Indonesia in a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank's Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

Company president Michael Bergey said the first 10 machines, five 1.5-kW and five 10-kW units, will be installed at sites on the islands of Timor, Sumba, Alor, and Roti. Six 850-watt turbines were also included in the firm's winning proposal to Winrock International, the project contractor, but Bergey said Winrock has not yet located "cost-recoverable applications" for the smaller units. The highest rate of return, he said, is for water pumping applications, and the 850-watt machine is only available for battery charging at present.

The program under which the machines are being installed is called the Windpower for Islands and Nongovernmental Development (WIND) project. Winrock issued a Request for Quotations (RFQ) for 16 turbines last spring.

While six of the 10 units that are ready for installation will be used for water pumping, Bergey said, four will provide electric power for other applications, including icemaking for a remote roadside market, icemaking for fish refrigeration, and lighting for a rural training center for non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

In addition to serving as the primary contractor for the wind installations, Winrock has carried out a related consulting project aimed at developing appropriate institutional arrangements for ownership and maintenance of the wind machines, according to Mark Huisenga, an associate with Winrock's Renewable Energy and the Environment Program. A draft document on Winrock's recommendations indicates that local NGOs would be trained to operate and maintain the machines, read meters and bill end-users for electricity, while banks or other local finance organizations would collect payments and keep records.

Notes the document, "The sustainability of the WIND Project's windpower applications . . . is likely to depend on the institutional arrangements under which these systems are owned, administered, and operated. . . . Incentives need to be incorporated into each application to . . . promote continued use and upkeep of the wind energy systems."

For further information, contact Michael Bergey, Bergey Windpower Co., 2001 Priestley Avenue, Norman, OK 73069, USA, phone (405) 364-4212, fax (405) 364-2078, e-mail


Researchers from the Tellus Institute, of Boston, Mass., using a new computer model, have found that externality values for greenhouse gas emissions can have a substantial impact on the costs of various energy options.

A recent WIND ENERGY WEEKLY article reported that A. Myrick Freeman of Bowdoin College and Robert Rowe of the consulting firm Hagler Bailly said externalities would have only a small effect on energy prices (see WIND ENERGY WEEKLY #685, February 19, 1996), but noted that the two had assigned very low or no costs in their two scenarios to carbon dioxide emissions. The two used a computer program, EXMOD, that was developed by Tellus and Hagler Bailly, and their scenarios assumed, respectively, costs of $0/ton and $1/ton for CO2.

An article by Bill Dougherty in the February issue of Tellus's "Energy Report" newsletter appears to agree with the criticism, and notes that even for a new coal-fired power plant, the impact of a $25/ton tax on CO2 emissions would be to raise the cost of power by 30 mills/kWh (3 cents/kWh), a substantial penalty.

Says Dougherty, "Some analysts have recently used EXMOD to conclude that externalities are either low or don't significantly affect the ranking of new electric resources (Hirst and Eto, 1995; Freeman and Rowe, 1995). These conclusions, based on the EXMOD default data, are not robust across a range of reasonable assumptions."

Tellus researchers developed some examples of EXMOD's use for a paper presented to the International Atomic Energy Agency last December. Looking at options for coal-fired power in New York's lower Hudson Valley, they found total externalities for a new plant to be over 4 cents/kWh. Adds Dougherty, "For an existing plant, with much higher emissions rates . . . the alternative assumptions result in a total externality cost of about 70 mills [7 cents/kWh]. These costs are high enough to affect decisions on plant additions, retirements, and operation."

EXMOD's default values, which provide low levels of valuation for pollutants and $0/ton for CO2, Dougherty continues, are based on market forces, or consumer willingness to pay. Such values are, however, difficult to determine and "particularly problematical . . . as the basis for policy on environmental and health conditions of broad public interest.

"For at least some types of human and ecological impact-- affecting near- and long-term conditions of life--the sustainability paradigm, in which constraints or targets are set for pollution or ecological preservation, would serve as a better basis for resource and environmental policy."

For further information, contact Tellus Institute, 11 Arlington Street, Boston, MA 02116, USA, phone (617) 266-5400.

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