Once again the “wind facts” get distorted by the press. In the newspaper’s Dec. 19 issue, another story was written as if it were the truth. It was stated that 1 megawatt of wind energy would power 750 to 1,000 homes. One might be impressed by that ratio – if it were true.
What the writer failed to mention is that the capacity factor of wind energy is never more than 30 percent, even in the windiest of places. The wind doesn’t blow hard enough to get production higher than 30 percent of its nameplate over the course of a year. Applying the 30 percent factor to the author’s number gives us a more honest estimate of 225-300 homes per megawatt of installed wind power.
Was this a mistake of a reporter not doing his homework, or was it a deliberate attempt to mislead the reader?
The truth about wind power is even worse. On those many days when the wind doesn’t blow at all, no homes are powered by wind. Wind energy is not dependable, thus requiring a baseload source to be available and working at all times.
Wind is only an expensive, feel-good supplement, requiring an operating reserve.
Maine doesn’t need more electric energy; Maine needs cheaper electric energy. There are many less expensive and far more dependable solutions to Maine’s energy problems than wind.
When researching wind development, one learns that developers aren’t mining the wind as much as they are mining our federal tax dollars. The property taxes that towns and counties get back from the turbines are just federal taxes being recycled – only in much smaller amounts.
I call upon Gov.-elect Paul LePage and our new Republican-majority Legislature to practice the fiscal responsibility for which Mainers finally voted.
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