January 25, 2005

Okay, but why wind power, which doesn't work?

To the Editor, Burlington Free Press:

Mary Sullivan, spokesperson for Burlington Electric, scoffs that "some people" worry about the effect of giant wind-turbine facilities on our ridge lines while global warming and acid rain pose a much greater threat ("Let's not wait to reduce greenhouse emissions," opinion, Jan. 24). Her implication, one must assume, is that the giant wind turbines, occasionally spinning enough to generate more electricity than they use, are essential to reducing global warming and acid rain.

Despite warning us about ethically challenged pseudoscience, however, Sullivan does not explain her reasoning. How, in a state that gets no electricity from coal, would wind turbines reduce coal use? How, in a state where electricity accounts for only 1% of the greenhouse gas emissions, would wind turbines reduce global warming?

In fact, even if 100% of our electricity came from coal, wind power would not reduce its use. When researching the issue it does not take long to realize that there is no evidence anywhere that wind power on the grid reduces electricity generation other sources.

I support the challenge to reduce our energy use and make it cleaner. Nobody wants to see our mountains destroyed by pollution. "Some people" don't want to see them destroyed by useless wind facilities, either.

[Published Jan. 29, 2005, as "Turbines on ridgelines"]