It is my belief that most utilities add wind (and to a degree solar) to their production capabilities because;
A. They are intimidated into it by leftist government and,
B. They are taking advantage of the heavy federal subsidies.
Remove either one and you'd never hear of wind power again.
You are quite correct on wind. Here are just a few of the problems:
1.) Wind power looks best with the first installations. Engineers are smart and pick the places with the most consistent/fastest winds. As number of installations goes up, the load factor goes down. (Load factor is the percentage of power delivered to customers vs the amount of power the installations are rated for).
2.) When environmental factors are the worst (the hottest part of the summer and the coldest part of the winter), wind power tends to be at its worst.
3.) Windmill gearboxes tend to have significant reliability issues. The vast majority of windmills 10+ years old have either had a gearbox removal and replacement or a major retrofit. Average time between major maintenance is approximately 7 years.
4.) Windmills either require backup power to compensate for their unreliability or they need to put the power into a storage mechanism such as pumped hydro.
5.) Power output is proportional to the cube of speed.
- Let me give an example: a windmill is rated to give 2 MW (2,000,000 W) at 20 mph. Rated power is 2 MW. Rated windspeed is 20 mph. If the wind blows faster, the windmill cannot produce more power. If it blows MUCH faster, the windmill has to be shut down to prevent damage. If the wind blows slower, the windmill produces much less power. If the wind blows 10 mph (1/2 its rated speed), the windmill would only make .25 MW (250,000 watts - 12/5% of its rated power). If the wind is blowing 5 mph (1/4 its rated speed), the windmill would make only .03 MW (31,250 watts - 1.56% of its rated output).
6.) Windmills cannot be spaced close together or they will interfere with each other
I think I will start a full blown "expose" post on the politics of wind power.
Solar power is also half baked.
(sorry, couldn't resist)