August 23, 2011
Letters, New Jersey

Wind is too unreliable as a power source

MORRIS PLAINS 23 August 2011

On the Aug. 17 opinion page, Brandi Colander of the Natural Resources Defense Council wrote glowingly about the potential benefits to New Jersey of off-shore wind farms. A considerable body of experience exists regarding these supposed benefits. It would be worthwhile to examine these experiences before we commit massive amounts of New Jersey taxpayer money to similar projects here.

In Great Britain, a study performed by the conservation charity John Muir Trust examined two years of real operational data from United Kingdom wind farms and found that wind generation was below 20 percent of capacity more than half the time and below 10 percent capacity over one-third of the time. Their study found wind to be so highly variable that “…wind cannot be relied upon to provide any significant level of generation at any defined time in the future.”

Of course, when the wind isn’t blowing, we need to have fossil-fuel-driven backup power ready to go or in a near-ready standby state. But that, of course, defeats the whole purpose of renewable energy, namely, the reduction of emissions. In fact, another study concluded that wind farms actually lead to increased CO2 emissions due to the reduced efficiency of fossil-fuel-driven power sources when operating in a “standby” mode.

Well, what about the jobs benefits? In Spain, a comprehensive review of the long-term effects of Spain’s renewable energy policy on jobs and the economy found that Spain lost 2.2 jobs for every “green” job created.

Simply put, wind power is not a viable solution for New Jersey’s energy needs and is a waste of taxpayer money.

F. E. Slojkowski

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