Slightly to the Right in New Jersey

Conservative comments on New Jersey

Let’s Crunch Some More Numbers

As you guys know, I love to crunch numbers when something doesn’t quite make sense to me.  One of those things that does not make sense right now is Governor Stupidhead’s program for green energy, in particular, using wind power for electricity generation.  So lets crunch some numbers.

Let’s look at what it would cost to replace the two coal fired plants owned by PSE&G that are located in New Jersey, namely the Hudson and Mercer plants.   I used the Hudson facility in a post before, but just to refresh you memory, Hudson is located in Jersey City, is a base load station and generates 991 Megawatts at full output.  Mercer plant is located just south of Trenton, is a base load plant and generates 777 Megawatts at full output.  Just for clarification, a base load plant normally runs full out and provides the “base” electricity that the grid needs.  Other plants, depending on need might start up to provide extra electricity when demand rises, and these plants are known as “peaking” plants.  But enough of that, let’s get back to crunching numbers.

Right now, the most that just about any wind power plant will produce is 1.5 Megawatts.  So, to replace the output from Hudson, we will divide 991 by 1.5 and get 660.  That is, we will need 660 wind power plants.  For Mercer, we will divide 777 by 1.5 and the result will be 518 wind power plants.  Imagine that, to replace two coal fired power plants we would have to build 1178 wind power plants!  And let’s not forget, we will have to find a place to build them.

Now, how much will this be?  Fair question, here’s the answer.  To construct (not buy the land) the cost for a wind power plant is $2,500 per Kilowatt.  So, a 1.5 Megawatt plant would cost $2.5 million.  To replace Hudson, the cost would be $1.65 billion, plus land cost.  To replace Mercer, $1.295 billion, plus land cost.  Heck of a lot of money, and even more needed to buy land!  But, wait Rich, how about a wind farm “off-shore”?  Good question, here is the answer, multiply the construction costs by 4, so Hudson’s replacement cost $6.6 billion, and Mercer costs $5.18 billion.  Further, the cost of producing a kilowatt hour (normal method of calculating retail cost) is just about the same for both coal and wind generated on land, the cost to produce a kilowatt hour off-shore would be about two and half time more than that of a coal plant.  So just double you electric bill and add some more.

After crunching these numbers, I believe it shows that this way of generating electricity is going to cost a lot of money, both for the construction and also the everyday price.  But there is one more problem I have to bring up; it won’t work!  Remember how I described the function of both the Hudson and Mercer plants?  Yes, they are base load plants, that have to run 24 hours a day, 7 day a week, and as many weeks as possible per year in order to deliver to you the least expensive electricity possible.  They can do this, because the fuel source they use is coal, and therefore can be stored, ready to burn at any time.  Now, can you see the problem with the wind power plants?  Of course you can, it is the wind!  If it is not windy everyday, they can’t run.  Now, if the wind isn’t blowing, what are we going to do?  Close down the state?  Burn foreign oil? 

Now let’s sum this up, to close two coal fired plants that are reliable sources of electricity, we would have to spend at least $3 billion dollars (without the land) to build enough wind power plants that might or might not provide the same amount of electricity.  I don’t know about you, but I think I will stick to the old reliable coal powered plant, fueled with coal produced in the country.  Seems to me to be the only way to insure the future growth of this state.

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February 14, 2009 - Posted by | Alternative Power, Borrowing, Carbon Tax, Corzine, energy, Global Warming, Greenhouse Gases, New Jersey | , , , , , , , , , ,

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