Windpower Economics and New Technology

Issue 6 and Volume 104.

The article on windpower was good to see in Power Engineering’s February issue in that it recognizes this form of power production as a credible growing addition to our future power generation mix.

May I, however, mention the following?

First, the use of the “cost/performance ratio” in the article can be very misleading. It uses cents/kWh in a way that greatly skews it away from the way the utility industry at large uses cents/kWh (i.e., for energy cost). If one skims the article, as I would guess many people do, one would dismiss wind power purely on the basis of the cents/kWh values given for the various systems cited in the article, which are ten times those normally associated with electric utility energy cost.

Secondly, under “New Technologies” it would have been interesting and informative to point out new technologically credible windpower systems on the horizon, other than only those currently being developed under DOE/NREL support. One such technology is ENECO’s WARP windpower systems technology (Power Engineering, Sept. 1996). This technology is being adapted for offshore windpower applications in connection with hydrogen fueled power systems [fuel cells or gas turbines].

Alfred L. Weisbrich, PE
West Simsbury, Conn.

Air Regulations Correction

I believe the last sentence of the second paragraph of the article, “Air Quality Update: Staying Abreast of Changing Regulations,” (Feb. 2000) contained an error. It is my understanding that the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia stayed the 8-hour revised ozone standard, not the 1-hour standard. The revised National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) did not change the current 1-hour standard; therefore, the court had no reason to address the 1-hour standard.

The source of confusion may have come from the fact that the EPA had already chosen to replace the current 1-hour ozone standard (0.12 ppm) with the 8-hour standard (0.08 ppm). However, once the Court stayed the 8-hour standard enforcement, the EPA moved to re-instate the 1-hour standard.

Ben Ziesmer
The Pace Consultants Inc.
Houston, Texas

Editor’s Note: The article’s author, Marc Karell, confirms that it is the new 8-hour standard that was remanded by the courts to EPA. The EPA felt that the existing 0.12 ppm 1-hour averaging standard was not stringent enough to protect public health. As an olive branch, when it moved to 0.08 ppm, it liberalized the averaging time to 8 hours. The court felt that was not proper and, more broadly, is beyond EPA’s purview.