Thursday, May 19, 2011


In a frenzy of information management, I made statements of electricity transmission & distribution losses averaging 25 -30% of all electricity being generated. I referenced Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Energy Flow Charts

A close friend questioned my interpretation and noted that the numbers within the graph are Quads (Quadrillion BTUs of Energy), not percentages. My friend provided another document from the Energy Information Agency

The challenge and a little further digging leads me to restate what I'd previously said, i.e. that T&D losses average 6.5-11% in the US, not 25-30%. Previous postings have been corrected for this error.

Why does this matter?  First, because if we are going to increasingly rely on wind energy, the amount of energy lost in transmission and distribution matters.  The best land-based wind sites are in the West and Midwest.  The farther we transmit that energy, the more is lost.  The biggest markets for electricity are in the East and it is uneconomical and impractical to transmit electricity halfway across the continent.
Second, the debate over our energy future needs to be based on science and fact, not on misinformation and exaggeration.  That's why I need to be forthcoming and correct in these postings.  I only wish some of the proponents of the Poor Mountain Industrial Wind Farm would correct some of what they are putting out.  For example, how about the claim that this project will produce enough electricity to supply 10,000 homes (it won't); or the claim that it will reduce carbon output by 98,000 tons per year (it won't); that property and environmental values are not negatively impacted (they would be).