November 15, 2011
Letters, Wisconsin

Wind turbines can end up being costly 14 November 2011

I’m writing in response to Duke Behnke’s Oct. 30 column on Kaukauna High School’s wind turbines. Often when wind turbine or solar energy projects are reported, the cost is given but rarely any information on economic payback or recovery of cost. In this case, the two turbines cost $150,000 and generate 24,000 kilowatt hours of power. We don’t know the regular cost of power to the school. If it’s in the likely range of 10 cents per kilowatt hour, it will take 62 years to recover the cost, without including cost of interest and maintenance.

This money from utility rates used locally or federal tax money used nationwide should cause us to consider the costs, not just “green energy.” The really big and unsuccessful federal grants we hear about are most disturbing.

Some will say we must do this to develop the industry and reduce costs over time. However, there have been square miles of windmills and a considerate number of solar projects in California for years, so the early costs have been somewhat reduced.

We also must remember that wind and sunlight are available only part time.

Some will say we must reduce our dependence on gas and oil. If the reports are accurate on the reserves of both, especially recent gas discoveries, this is a poor time for “green.”

Duane R. Gabel,


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