How Less Became More: Wind, Power and Unintended Consequences in the Colorado Energy Market

Wind energy promises a clean, renewable resource that uses no fossil fuel and generates zero emissions. Careful examination of the data suggests that the numbers do not add up as expected.
The “must take” provisions of Colorado’s Renewable Portfolio Standard require that other sources of generation, such as coal plants, must be “cycled” to accommodate wind power. This cycling makes coal generating units operate much less efficiently…so inefficiently, that these units produce significantly greater emissions.
This study reviews the data that supports this conclusion, outlines mitigation measures which can be used to realize the full potential of wind generation, and provides recommendations for policy makers.

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