James D. Garry, in his letter “Wind an infinite source of power,” Aug. 20, makes a weak case in his support of wind power.
Garry states wind power is an infinite source of energy and can be produced with small federal subsidies. But, according to the U.S. Department of Energy and Institute for Energy Research, wind and solar in 2010 got the most taxpayer help for the least production.
In terms of dollars per megawatt hour, oil and gas was subsidized at 64 cents, hydropower at 82 cents, coal at 64 cents. nuclear at $3.14, solar at $775.64 and wind at $56.29. Subsidies for wind in 2010 were $5 billion, which was a tenfold increase between 2007 and 2010.
Earlier this month, United Technologies sold its more than $300 million investment in wind power with the CFO stating, “We all make mistakes.” We also just learned the New York Power Authority finds wind power too cost-prohibitive.
There are numerous downsides to wind power. Among the worst are bird strikes. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates 33,000 birds are killed annually by spinning rotor blades, many of them on the endangered species list. Wind farms in California are killing 80 golden eagles per year.
Wind power is no panacea for cheap energy or protecting our precious wildlife.