May 28, 2010

Let's look at facts, not hot air, about wind power

Dot Sulack opines at the Asheville Citizen-Times (click here) in an effort to negate the problems with wind energy pointed out by another in an earlier opinion piece. Here are some quick notes about the issues she raises as not issues at all.

Intermittency: "if ... would ... would also ... would be ...." "If ... can ... when ...." How about a study of an existing system? Why so many "if's" when wind turbines are being built right now?

Cost: Most promoters actually want a feed-in tariff to force a higher price for wind. The target of 4 cents/kWh is required by competition and is only possible by taxpayers paying for three-quarters of the cost of building wind and by splitting off the "environmental benefit" as a separate product (i.e., "green tags" or "renewable energy credits"), a trick invented by Enron.

Birds: Birds killed by turbines aren't a problem because other things kill them, too? As pathetic (and potentially sociopathic) an argument as that already is, wind turbines uniquely affect raptors and bats (the latter to such a degree that even the industry shows concern) and tend to erected in migratory pathways, since that's where the wind is. And the more we build them, the worse the effect.

Good for the air and climate: Forgot to provide a link supporting that statement. How many fossil fuel plants have been shut down because of wind on the grid? How much less fuel is burned per unit of electricity consumed because of the addition of wind? I have been unable to find such evidence that wind is "good" for six years now.

Pickens Plan: Con job of the first order. When wind is added to systems without substantial hydro, it needs natural gas plants for the grid to be able to respond quickly to its fluctuations. Rather than replace natural gas for electricity, wind is a plan to use more of it.

The rest is a muddle of more wishful thinking and jingoistic non sequitur, which is par for such pieces.

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism