The variable outputs of heavily-subsidized wind and solar are totally unusable, could not be fed into the grid, without the presence of a fleet of quick-reacting power plants, such as CCGTs, to counteract to ups and downs of these outputs, on a less than minute-by-minute basis, 24/7/365, year after year.


The more wind and solar systems tied to the grid, the larger the fleet of counteracting plants, that need to fueled, staffed, kept in good-working order. Such a fleet costs many c/kWh to own and operate.

Heavily-subsidized wind and solar are a black hole money pit, from day one, i.e., never profitable, except for the Warren Buffett folks with lucrative tax shelters, even at low penetration levels, on an A-to-Z, mine-to-waste-dump, basis.

A black hole getting wider and deeper, as more wind and solar are added to the grid.


Warren Buffett Quote: "I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire's tax rate," Buffet told an audience in Omaha, Nebraska recently. "For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit, if we build a lot of wind farms. That's the only reason to build them. They don't make sense without the tax credit."

Curtailments are a feature of wind and solar on the grid


The more wind and solar tied to the grid, the greater, and more frequent, the curtailments.

This can be readily analyzed, and predicted, using standard 15-minute grid operating data, and daily demand curves, and weather data


Wind and Solar Add Inefficiencies to the Entire Grid


Wind proponents often claim one kWh of clean wind generation displaces one kWh of dirty fossil fuel generation, which is true.

However, the inefficiencies introduced into the electrical system by variable, intermittent wind, results in wind being less effective at reducing CO2 than claimed.

The more wind percent on the grid, the more the inefficiencies.

Ireland’s Power System


Eirgrid, the operator of the grid, publishes ¼-hour data regarding CO2 emissions, wind electricity production, fuel consumption and total electricity generation.


Drs. Udo and Wheatley made several analyses, based on the operating data of the Irish grid in 2012 and earlier, that show the effectiveness of CO2 emission reduction is decreasing with increasing annual wind electricity percentages on the grid.


The Wheatley Study of the Irish Grid; A Devastating Verdict Against Wind (and Solar)


Wind energy CO2 reduction effectiveness = (CO2 intensity, metric ton/MWh, with 17% wind)/(CO2 intensity, with no wind) = (0.279, with 17% wind)/(0.530, with no wind) = 0.526, based on ¼-hour, operating data of each power plant connected to the Irish grid, as collected by SEMO. 

Each power plant has a performance curve of fuel used, Btu, vs electricity produced.

That performance curve is determined from plant test operation.

Thus, the fuel used and electricity produced are known for each 1/4-hour, for each power plant

More and more annual wind percent on the grid leads to less and less annual CO2 reduction effectiveness, i.e., the 0.526 gets smaller and smaller


During the Early Days Ireland Had an Island Grid


Ireland had an island grid, with a low-capacity, MW, transmission connection with the UK grid, until October 2012. 

As a result, the Irish grid provided an ideal opportunity for energy systems analysts to prove, the more annual wind percent on the grid, the lesser the annual CO2 reduction effectiveness

As a result of their analyses, and its widespread publication, the poor CO2 reduction effectiveness of wind came to the attention of EU bureaucrats in Brussels. 

This caused quite a lot of consternation and handwringing, but eventually Brussels found the "solution" 


The EU Solution for Ireland and the Rest of the EU

The EU “solution” was to give Ireland money to put in high capacity, MW, underwater HVDC transmission lines to the much larger UK and French grids.

The smallish Irish variations of wind output, while big on the Irish grid, disappear in the noise of the much larger UK and French grids, just like the smallish Idaho variations of wind output disappear in the noise of the much larger Illinois grid.

A major public relations embarrassment, adversely affecting the future of wind, was avoided, by a process of "dilution"


As a result, the Irish CCGT* plants are operated much more efficiently, because most of the burden of having to counteract the variable, intermittent wind outputs has been shifted to the UK and French grids.


* CCGT means combined-cycle, gas-turbine


NOTE: What applied to the Irish grid would apply to the New England grid as well; it also has minor connections to nearby grids.


NOTE: Europe is stuck with mostly CCGT plants for counteracting wind output variations, as it does not have nearly enough hydro plant capacity with reservoir storage.


If Minimal Wind Speeds in Ireland and UK


If winds in Ireland are minimal, that likely is also true for the UK, which lies east of Ireland. 
The UK cannot expect any wind energy from Ireland, and visa-versa.


As a result, Irish and UK CCGT plants will need to ramp up their outputs, or be turned on, to fill in for the lack of wind, as needed to meet demand.


That means, these CCGT plants will have to be staffed, fueled, and kept in good working order, to be ready to provide electricity to the grid, as ordered by the grid operator. Some of these plants will need to be in hot, synchronous standby mode.


None of that service would be for free.

It certainly would not be charged to the owners of the wind systems, who are not required to provide STEADY POWER OUTPUT, such as by means of battery storage systems.


The French grid could provide some electricity to Ireland and the UK, but not enough to make much of a difference, because the capacities of the grid connections were limited, prior to October, 2012 




Natural Gas and CO2 Reductions Less Than Claimed


If 0% Wind


This alternative assumes no wind turbines in Ireland. 
The CCGT plants merely adjust their outputs to follow the highly predictable daily demand curve.


Annual average CCGT plant efficiency is assumed at 50%

Production is assumed at 100 kWh, for analysis purposes. See note

Required gas to produce 100 kWh = 100 kWh x 3413 Btu/kWh/0.5, efficiency = 682,600 Btu

Emitted CO2 = 682600 x (117 lb CO2/1000000 Btu, per EPA) = 79.864 lb.


If 17% wind


This alternative assumes 17% wind generation on the Irish grid.

The CCGT plants have to perform two functions: 1) adjust their outputs to follow daily demand, and 2) counteract the unpredictable up and down variations of wind output, on a less than minute-by-minute basis, 24/7/365, year after year.

The greater the wind generation on any grid, the greater the quantities of electricity associated with the up and down variation of wind outputs.

The net result is: 1) much less-efficient operation of the CCGT plants, 2) more Btu/kWh, 3) more CO2/kWh, and 4) more wear and tear.


1) Wind proponents claim:


Required gas = (100 kWh – 17 kWh, produced by wind) x 3413/0.50, efficiency = 566,558 Btu

Emitted CO2 = 566558 x 117/1000000 = 66.287 lb

Claimed CO2 reduction = 79.864 - 66.287 = 13.577 lb


2) Real-time grid operating data shows:


Actual CO2 reduction = 13.577 lb x 0.526, effectiveness (see Wheatley URL) = 7.141 lb


Remaining CO2 = 79.864 lb – 7.142 lb = 72.723 lb CO2.

Required gas to produce remaining CO2 = 72.722/(117/1000000) = 621,562 Btu

CCGT plant efficiency = (100 – 17) x 3413/621562 = 0.4558, if producing 83 kWh using 621,562 Btu of gas

CCGT plant efficiency reduction = 100 x (1 – 0.4558/0.50) = 8.849%, due to power plants:


1) Counteracting wind output variations, MWh, and

2) Having increased start/stops, and

3) Being in increased hot, synchronous standby mode, to be ready, at a moment’s notice, to supply electricity to the grid


This means the CCGT plants have to operate less efficiently (more Btu/kWh. more CO2/kWh, more wear and tear) to counteract the variable, intermittent wind output.

That leads to less annual gas reductions than claimed by wind proponents, which was proven in Ireland and Australia

That leads to less annual CO2 reduction than claimed by wind proponents.


The above bold numbers are summarized in the below table.


Ideal World

Gas, Btu

CO2, lb

Turbine Eff., %

No Wind generation




17% Wind generation




Claimed Reduction




Real World




17% Wind generation




Actual Reduction




CCGT plant efficiency reduction




Lack of CO2 Reduction in 2013


The above example was for 100 kWh.

However, in 2013, natural gas was 2098 ktoe*/4382 ktoe = 48% of the energy to all generating plants; see SEIA report.


*1 ktoe (kilo ton oil equivalent) = 39,653 million Btu


The gas energy included 2098 x (1 - 1/1.0855) = 171 ktoe for counteracting wind output 

The CO2 emission of 171 ktoe x 39,653 million Btu/ktoe x 117/million Btu = 791.4 million lb.


At least 791.4 million lb of CO2 emission reduction did not take place, because of less efficient operation of the CCGT plants


Lack of Gas Cost Reduction in 2013


The cost of the gas was about 171 x 39,653 million Btu/ktoe x $10/million Btu (2013 prices) = $67.6 million; current prices are much higher.


At least $67.6 million of imported gas cost reduction did not take place, because of less efficient operation of the CCGT plants.


Fuel Cost/kWh for Counteracting Wind Output Variations 


In 2013, the fuel cost of counteracting wind was 5,872,100,000 kWh of wind on the grid, per SEIA report/$67.6 million = 1.152 c/kWh

This cost would become greater as more wind turbine capacity, MW, is added, and as gas prices increase.


It is likely there were other costs, such as staffing, operations and maintenance, increased wear and tear of the CCGT plants, and increased grid extension/reinforcement for having additional wind turbines all over Ireland. 
These annual costs are in addition to the annual gas cost


Ireland Natural Gas Imports Greater Than Expected


Ireland imports its natural gas. The Irish people had been told building wind turbines would reduce gas imports.

When the reductions of gas imports were much less than promised, the government, after much foot-dragging, finally conducted an investigation, which proved the efficiency degradation of the CCGT plants.


NOTE: A similar outcome is in store for New England, if it builds out wind on ridgelines and offshore.

The laws of physics apply on both sides of the Atlantic.

See Appendix: Hydro-Quebec A Much Better Alternative Than Wind and Solar.


Wind Proponents Lied to the Irish People


It must be a real downer for the Irish people, after making the investments to build out wind and despoiling the visuals of much of their beautiful country, to find out the reductions of CO2 emissions and the cost of imported gas, at 17% wind on the grid, are only about 52.6% of what was promised*, and, as more wind is added, that percentage would decrease even more!!


*Not included are the embodied CO2 emissions for build-outs of:


1) Flexible generation system adequacy

2) Grid system adequacy

3) Storage system adequacy to accommodate variable wind (and solar).

High percentages of wind (and solar) on almost all grids could not exist without storage system adequacy.

See URLs.


CCGT Plant Efficiencies are Less at Part Load Outputs


If CCGT plants perform peaking, filling-in and balancing, due to variable, intermittent wind and solar on the grid, they would operate at varying and lower outputs, and would experience more start/stops.


Such operation is less efficient than at steady and higher outputs, and with fewer start/stops, similar to a car.


CCGT plant operation becomes unstable below 40%.

Hence the practical limit is about 50%, which means the up/down ramping range is from 50% to 100%, which means the fleet of counteracting CCGTs needs to have a larger capacity, than is commonly assumed.


The table shows maximum efficiencies at high and low outputs; real-world efficiencies would be even less.







Simple Cycle






Combined Cycle








CO2 is reduced due to many reasons, as detailed in the 2021 report. See  image for 2021 and URL


The Australian electrical system has no connections to nearby grids, i.e., it is an “island system”. In that respect it is similar to the Ireland electrical system. Dr. Wheatley made studies of the grid operating data of the Australian system. See URLs. His report states:


- At 4.5% wind, CO2 reduction was about 3.5%, i.e., the effectiveness was about 3.5/4.5 = 78% in 2014.

- At 9% wind, CO2 reduction was about 6.3%, i.e., the effectiveness was about 6.3/9 = 70%, in 2021.

See pg. 3 of URL.


By straight line extrapolation,


- At 13.5% wind, effectiveness would be about 62%

- At 18% wind, effectiveness would be about 54%


The 54% would be similar to the 52.6% at 17% wind of Ireland electrical system.


Thus, the more wind, the less its effectiveness regarding reducing CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.

The laws of physics apply to Ireland, Australia, the UK, Germany, etc.

United Kingdom


The UK major electricity sources were 38.5% from natural gas and 26.8% from wind in 2022.


The variable output of wind caused major inefficiencies of the rest of the grid, which means the gas turbine plants, mostly CCGTs, which performed almost all of the counteracting of the variable output of wind, used more Btu/kWh, and emitted more CO2/kWh


In Ireland, at 17% annual wind, the effectiveness of wind turbines for reducing CO2 was 0.526

In the UK, at 26.8% annual wind, the effectiveness of wind turbines for reducing CO2 was about 0.40, or less.


That means the official CO2 data for 2022, and prior years, grossly overstate the effectiveness of wind for reducing CO2, because government book-keeping folks did not account for the inefficiencies of wind imposed on the entire grid



About 50% of Denmark’s total electricity generation is by wind. Its wind turbines are connected to the national grid. The national grids of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark are connected in a grid called Norpool.


During higher wind periods,


- Denmark’s wind turbines produce too much electricity; any heavily subsidized, excess electricity is exported (usually at low wholesale prices), mostly to Norpool.


- The hydro plants of Sweden and Norway merely pass less water through their turbines to perform CO2-free balancing of the Norpool grid. Denmark is in a unique case, and should not be used as an example regarding build-outs of wind turbines.


Germany and New England


Germany, the 800-lb gorilla in the EU, exports heavily subsidized, excess electricity to several nearby states, including the Norpool grid


- In New England, the balancing is performed mostly by CO2-emitting gas turbines, which creates operating inefficiencies, as above described.


Hydro-Quebec A Much Better Alternative Than Wind And Solar 


“Vermont has the option to purchase up to 200 megawatts, but Jessome said he doesn’t expect the state to take advantage of that option.”


Green Mountain Power prefers to buy much higher-cost wind (at about 10 c/kWh) and solar (at about 20 c/kWh, if net metered) from a variety of local suppliers.

The 200 MW could provide about 1.3 million MWh/y, at about 7 c/kWh, with minimal capital investments and government subsidies, replacing most of what Vermont lost when Vermont Yankee was pre-maturely shut down/hounded out of business by Socialist Dem/Progs in 2014.

By means of plant upgrades and new plants, Hydro-Quebec plans to have about 5000 MW of additional hydro plant capacity. See URL.

Here a list of the benefits of hydro electricity:

- Clean (no health-damaging particulates, no SOX, no NOx)
- Low-cost (5 - 7 c/kWh, plus 1 c/kWh for transmission), much less than wind and solar. See URL.
- Very low CO2/kWh emissions, much lower than wind and solar
- Steady, 24/7/365, i.e., NOT variable and NOT intermittent, unlike wind and solar, which are weather dependent, variable cloudiness dependent, night and day dependent, and season dependent
- NO federal and state subsidies and investment tax credits
- NO capital outlays by Vermont’s government
- NO enriching of in-state and out-of-state multi-millionaires and their lucrative, risk-free, tax shelters
- MINIMAL additional environmental impact in Vermont and Canada
- Private entities would own the transmission lines from Quebec to New England
- RECs would not need to be sold to out-of-state entities so THEY would be wearing the green halo, instead of Vermonters.
- Much less social discord than controversial wind on pristine ridgelines and solar in fertile meadows


Here are some URLs about increased hydro energy from Hydro Quebec.






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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

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