In a recent Billings Gazette article Jan Falstad gave an honest appraisal of wind power’s limited potential. I can’t say the same for some of the people she quoted. Invenergy executives were quoted as saying the power was “about $42 per megawatt.” Actually, that is just the cost of each megawatt produced … not each megawatt used.
Wind is a random source; so if it is producing when you don’t need it, you pay for it anyway. It produces electricity randomly, but consumption patterns are set. Add in the fact that you can’t buy electricity in advance with any certainty, and the cost of going to the very expensive spot market for basic needs must be figured in.
It should have been pointed out that we have never reduced the output of Colstrip even one kilowatt because of Judith Gap. If Judith Gap were shut down tomorrow we would not need to replace it to have ample supplies of electricity. Rather, our utility bills would actually go down.
Brad Molnar was the only public service commissioner with the courage to vote against this feel-good idea, and he has been proven right. We need four more commissioners just like him.
The Billings Outpost
24 May 2007
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