Massachusetts Renewable Energy Goals Fall Short
Massachusetts wants commercial wind energy to play a role in its clean energy future. Governor Patrick has committed Massachusetts to a goal of installing 2,000 Megawatts of wind energy before 2020.
Two reasons look to stop the renewable energy goal of land based commercial wind turbines. The residential property owners who live around them and the excessive operation and maintenance costs of the turbines. These two reasons alone must be deducted from the 2020 renewable energy goal.
First, each time a new megawatt commercial wind turbine gets installed another local citizens' group in that town quickly forms to curtail the operation of the turbines because of noise,shadow flicker,ice throw and real estate property devaluations.Groups of pro-wind residents living near wind turbines within weeks become anti- wind as soon as the 400 foot turbines start to spin. The operators of the turbines quickley find themselves in front of local boards and court.
Second, performance of wind turbines in New England showing that the economic life expenses of onshore wind turbines is very short in some cases between 3 and 5 years, not the 20 years projected by the wind industry and government projections.
The average load factor of wind turbines declines substantially as they get older, probably due to gear box failure. By as early as 5 years of age the contribution of an average New England wind turbine to meeting electricity demand has declined .
Many of the gear box driven megawatt turbines installed after 2008 will need expensive gear box replacements every 3 to 5 years. This raises the question of is it rarely economic to operate a wind turbine for more than 6 to 10 years? After 10 years they must be replaced with a new turbine or keep replacing major components .
Many investors, private owners and cities and towns expecting a return on their investment over 20 years will fall short of expectations. The gear box failures and the costs of a special crane to lift the gear boxes in and out contribute to the massive repair costs.