June 2, 2005

Wind won't replace oil

A letter in today's Ipswich Chronicle:

Liz Krafchuk's piece about "Living Green" (Ipswich Chronicle, May 26) stated that a wind turbine in Ipswich would "offer some relief from the darkness of oil wars." Someone is surely mistaken here.

Oil is primarily used for transport. Only 2.3 percent nationally is used to make electricity. We export three times that amount. Reducing consumption of all kinds of energy is a worthy aim, but wind turbines -- no matter how big or how many -- have nothing to do with our use of oil. They don't have much effect on our use of current electricity sources, either.

Krafchuk reports an average wind speed of 11.5 mph. That translates to an average output from the 1.5-MW turbine of only about 150 KW, 10 percent of its capacity. Two-thirds of the time, the output would be less than that. Hull's "success" is not in the small amount of unpredictably variable electricity generated by wind, but in the profitable sale of "green credits."

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