On January 20th. a website at Substack called Energy Bad Boys posted an article about the Nobles wind farm in Minnesota.
The article reports:
In 2007, Minnesota began its quest to power the state with wind turbines and solar panels when the Next Generation Energy Act (NGEA) was signed into law. This legislation mandated that 25 percent of the state’s electricity come from “renewable” energy sources by 2025.
These mandates, along with generous federal tax subsidies and monopoly utilities seeking to maximize their government-approved profits by building new infrastructure, led to a building boom in wind turbines and solar panels.
From 2007 through 2022, Minnesota built thousands of wind turbines totaling 3,690 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity and 1,143 MW of solar capacity en route to meeting the mandates in 2020, five years ahead of schedule.
However, many of the turbines built to comply with the 25 percent mandate are already being refurbished or “repowered” long before the end of their supposed 25-year useful lives. In fact, one of these wind facilities, the Nobles wind farm, has already been repowered after just 12 years in service.
But why was Nobles refurbished more than a decade before the end of its useful life at a cost of $240 million? The official reason provided by Xcel Energy for repowering Nobles was to spur economic activity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and extend the retirement date of the facility from the year 2035 to 2045.
This story makes for a good newspaper headline, but the data tell a very different story. Digging deeper into the reasons surrounding Xcel’s decision to repower the Nobles facility illustrates how our state and federal energy policies are causing America’s energy decisions to grow increasingly irrational.
The article also notes:
Currently, there aren’t enough transmission lines to move the power generated from these wind facilities to other areas of the 15-state regional grid that could use it. This is because the existing transmission lines can only transport so much power at a time, similar to how water flowing down a sink is governed by the width of the drainpipe. As a result, the oversupply of electricity frequently causes power prices to go negative, which sends a signal to wind turbine operators to scale back supply, at least it works that way in theory.
In reality, the PTC pays wind projects $26 for each MWh of electricity the facility produces, whether or not that electricity is needed. The subsidies mean that electricity generated from wind farms could potentially be sold into the market at a price of negative $25 per MWh and still turn a profit for their owners. This is why the areas with the most wind turbines see the most negative prices, which you can see in the map below.
Please follow the link to read the entire article. It is only one of many illustrations of the fact that the government is subsidizing the quest for a perpetual motion machine that will never exist.