NO… Iowa does not generate 20% of the electricity it consumes

From the Institute for Energy Research:

CLAIM: Already, Iowa and South Dakota produce enough wind energy to meet more than 20 percent of their electricity needs, and wind energy now produces more than 10 percent of the electricity in nine states.

FACT: Iowa and South Dakota may produce enough wind each year to equal 20 percent of their annual electricity consumption, but this does not mean that the electricity was actually needed and used when it was produced.

According to a 2012 study, the greatest amounts of wind generation occur when electricity demand is lowest—during the spring and fall and during the late evening and early morning hours—and coupled with the absence of storage, this means that wind generation cannot follow electricity demand. The same study’s analysis of wind availability across three key electricity markets showed that wind generation on the 10 highest demand days ranged from only 1.8 percent to 15.9 percent of total generation.[iv] As such, stating that gross wind production for 2012 was great enough to satisfy 20 percent of a state’s electricity needs is a less meaningful statistic for intermittent power than for traditional sources.

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11 thoughts on “NO… Iowa does not generate 20% of the electricity it consumes”

  1. Here in Missouri we had one of those reservoirs for back-up power which worked well until the dam broke. Multitudes of lawsuits, counter claims, and political shenanigans later. the spillway has been cleaned up, sort of, the Shut-ins (through which the man-made tsunami crashed) has been altered greatly, and we have no back-up.

  2. I would have thought the huge extensions to life expectancy were a pretty good reason to say that despite all the negatives we get hammered with daily, that we have achieved a better understanding of our environment and how to coexist with all natures challenges. And you are right in that this is not universal by any means, but certainly miles ahead of my childhood.

  3. I quite agree with you except that, historically, “The greens have to realise that mankind left caves years ago and through his initiative improved his quality of life” doesn’t seem to happen.

  4. The greens have to realise that mankind left caves years ago and through his initiative improved his quality of life – to the extent that at least in the Western world man is living longer on average than ever imagined. This has been achieved by exploiting the gifts of Mother Nature which unfortunately means the harnessing of her power – oil – minerals – wind – sea – and the power of lakes and rivers which ultimately sees dams to further control that harnessed energy – you can’t generally have progress without modifying the geology in some way or other – the argument is ‘Do we have that right’ I happen to believe we do. Judicial development of this planet goes hand in hand with the advancement of mankind – imagine the desperation of our world without oil – without electricity.

  5. Electric utilities have been using pumped water to better match supply to demand for decades. It works. the problem is there are very few places that are appropriate for storing the water. Even worse, it takes a dam.

  6. Wind only makes sense to pump water because it is easily stored. The Danes have run a high voltage DC cable under The Sound to Norway where it’s used to pump water up to a dam. When the wind is not blowing, the water is released to generate hydropower.

    My grandparents lived in Oklahoma and used wind energy to generate 120 volt DC electricity for the lights and six volt DC the radio. The had a bank of twenty discarded auto starter batteries to store the electricity. They were a pain to maintain but if you’re an avid sports fan the only alternative was listening in your car.

    There is a multi-reflector solar system in the Arizona desert which uses the sun to heat sulfur which is used to generate steam to drive a turbo-generator for six hours after the sun goes down. The main problem is keeping the reflectors clean of wind-blown dust which spoils their efficiency.

  7. “Wind generation – more spin in print than from the propellers!!” Well played.
    The rest maybe less so. It’s got a good sound at first and it may be genuinely practical; I’d like to see some demonstration projects. Then it has to get past the NIMBY gang; a reservoir that rises and falls frequently is going to seem like a strange thing to live with.

  8. Wind generation – more spin in print than from the propellors!!
    The french built a good system for harnessing tidal power which obviously would often be performing at real off peak periods. They simply used the power to pump water up to a storage lake and then used the water to drive hydro generators during power requirement periods. The same system could be used for both wind and photovoltaic cells (call the lake a battery)

  9. Apparently not – if it is being generated when it is not needed. That is the problem with a lot of these alternate energy systems. Solar peaks at 12:00 noon, or 11:00 am in Summer (with variability based on the exact location in the time zone) however peak demand is usually between 2 and 4 pm in the summer, when the solar panels are already providing less juice. and then when everyone goes home at 5 you get Wind power to power – nothing.

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