A consumer advice report in the July 7 News was headlined: “With new wind, solar projects, why are electric rates rising?” The Associated Press writer notes correctly that electric power from coal is still less expensive than from wind and solar. But he should have added that so is power from most other major conventional sources he mentions, and those sources provide power on demand, when it is needed, not just when the wind blows.
Land-based wind turbines produce their rated output only about 20 percent of the time, and coal plants in particular simply cannot ramp up and down their fires fast enough to take advantage of that power. Also, much wind power is produced at night, when the grid has a surplus of power, and is thus largely wasted.
I wish his remark about wind turbines being placed far from populated areas was true. Here we have 450-foot-tall turbines being placed 333 yards from homes, and 167 yards from property lines without compensation to those so affected.
15 July 2008
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