Fact check: Bryce again misinforms on wind costs/benefits

Fact check: Bryce again misinforms on wind costs/benefits
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Robert Bryce, of the fossil-fuel-funded Manhattan Institute, is at it again. His latest piece of misinformation comes in the form of a new "study" which purports to give the true costs of wind energy in the often-cited 20%-by-2030 scenario (which found that wind could provide 20% of U.S. electric demand less than 20 years from now). Bryce's new study attempts to undermine the landmark 2008 study of the feasibility of large-scale wind development conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy under the George W. Bush Administration.

It is laughable to consider a couple of pages from Mr. Bryce as if it is as important as a 200-page report that the DOE spent several years researching and compiling.

For starters, Mr. Bryce’s assumptions for wind power costs are 20 percent higher than DOE’s own real world data.

The Bush Administration's report states on p. 19: "the 20% wind scenario could require an incremental investment of as little as $43 billion net present value (NPV) more than the base case scenario involving no new wind power generation. This would represent less than 0.06cents (6 one-hundreths of 1 cent) per kilowatt-hour of total generation by 2030, or roughly 50 cents per month per household." This is far less than what Mr. Bryce seems to be arguing.

Mr. Bryce’s calculations also suffer from flaws that illustrate a fundamental lack of understanding of economics. Mr. Bryce attempts to calculate a cost for wind completely ignoring the fact that building wind energy offsets electricity that would have had to be produced by building other power plants and burning expensive fossil fuels. The 2008 DOE analysis took those factors into account, which is why it found net savings for consumers.

In short, Mr. Bryce’s analysis contains so many flaws, many at a fundamental level, that it would be incorrect to draw any meaningful conclusions from it, particularly when the Department of Energy conducted its own 200-page analytically rigorous assessment that directly contradicts Mr. Bryce’s conclusions.

The Manhattan Institute also lacks credibility, as independent media watchdogs and journalists have found:


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