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Wind’s big footprint

Re: “Hydro power’s dirty side” (Gazette, April 9).

In the article, you state: “Land that would be occupied by a wind farm producing equivalent energy to Romaine River project: nine square kilometres.”

Actually, it requires the installation of at least 4,650 megawatts of wind power to achieve an average output of 1,550 megawatts, with a capacity factor of 33 per cent to match the output of Romaine.

At an average of 0.8 square kilometres of land area per megawatt of wind power, because wind power is very dilute, the wind turbines will be spread over approximately 3,700 square kilometres, or 13 times the area of the Romaine reservoirs. There will be wind turbines as far as the eye can see. The direct footprint on the ground would be approximately 200 square kilometres for roads, pylons, maintenance buildings, substations, etc.

Most importantly, Romaine still has to be built to provide electricity for the periods when the output of the wind farm is zero. That is, if the objective is to have a reliable electricity supply for the benefit of the people of Quebec and the industries that provide jobs.

When the cost of the support for wind power is included, using The Gazette’s figures, wind-power cost is 14.8 to 18.3 cents per kilowatt hour.

H. Douglas Lightfoot

Baie d’UrfĂ©