Mark Muhich’s Feb. 24 column recommending wind energy be the key to Michigan’s future is based mainly on wishful thinking.
He states all of Michigan’s electricity could come from wind without a hint at the cost. He states, “Storing electricity remains a challenge, but that is what imagination and invention are about.” He seems to like Consumers Energy’s Ludington Pump Storage Facility and is confident new batteries are at hand.
With wind generation available only about 20 percent of the time in the better Michigan locations, we will need a lot of excess windmills and a lot of storage to meet electric customer needs. The Ludington facility is very effective and efficient, but don’t plan on a similar facility anytime soon. The environmental groups have made the construction of such facilities a regulatory and legal nightmare. I strongly believe the Sierra Club that Muhich belongs to would be out front fighting a similar new facility.
Battery technology has a long way to go. Many smart people have been working on it for a long time. Think of how long your laptop computer or cell phone battery lasts. The batteries require frequent recharging even though they hold very little energy. They don’t last more than a few years, either.
Experimentation with new technologies is great, but having the Legislature require that 10, 20 or 30 percent of all electricity come from renewables (wind in Michigan) without cost-effective technologies in existence is a recipe for financial disaster. This is another form of subsidy, and Michigan can’t afford it.
By the way, almost none of Michigan’s electricity comes from oil, so wind turbines for electric generation will not affect Michigan’s oil consumption. Recharging electric cars at night might reduce oil consumption. Too bad that the wind doesn’t blow much at night.
— Dale Puckett
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