The Limits of Wind Power
"Environmentalists advocate wind power as one of the main alternatives to fossil fuels, claiming that it is both cost effective and low in carbon emissions. This study seeks to evaluate these claims," according to the Reason Foundation study authors William J. Korchinski and Julian Morris.
The report concludes, "The analysis presented here demonstrates that there is a tradeoff. At low wind penetrations, there is very little impact on CO2 emissions. As wind penetrations increase, the grid requires increasing amounts of spinning reserves to maintain reliability. At high wind penetrations, even large amounts of power storage cannot prevent significant (and expensive) wind dumping. The already high cost of wind power increases with the construction of storage facilities, and the cost to construct extra wind turbines, which will be dormant during periods of wind dumping."
The full report, "The Limits of Wind Power" (PDF, 2MB) is also available.