Energy consumption in wind facilities
Large wind turbines require a large amount of energy to operate. Other electricity plants generally use their own electricity, and the difference between the amount they generate and the amount delivered to the grid is readily determined. Wind plants, however, use electricity from the grid, which does not appear to be accounted for in their output figures. At the facility in Searsburg, Vermont, for example, it is apparently not even metered and is completely unknown [click here].* The manufacturers of large turbines -- for example, Vestas, GE, and NEG Micon -- do not include electricity consumption in the specifications they provide.
Among the wind turbine functions that use electricity are the following:†
it be that at times each turbine consumes more than 50% of its rated capacity
in its own operation?! If so, the plant as a whole -- which may produce only
25% of its rated capacity annually -- would be using (for free!) twice as much
electricity as it produces and sells. An unlikely situation perhaps, but the
industry doesn't publicize any data that proves otherwise; incoming power is
apparently not normally recorded.
Is there some vast conspiracy spanning the worldwide industry from manufacturers and developers to utilities and operators? There doesn't have to be, if engineers all share an assumption that wind turbines don't use a significant amount of power compared to their output and thus it is not worth noting, much less metering. Such an assumption could be based on the experience decades ago with small DC-generating turbines, simply carried over to AC generators that continue to metastasize. However errant such an assumption might now be, it stands as long as no one questions it. No conspiracy is necessary -- self-serving laziness is enough.
Whatever the actual amount of consumption, it could seriously diminish any claim of providing a significant amount of energy. Instead, it looks like industrial wind power could turn out to be a laundering scheme: "Dirty" energy goes in, "clean" energy comes out. That would explain why developers demand legislation to create a market for "green credits" -- tokens of "clean" energy like the indulgences sold by the medieval church.