On Aug. 4, the Journal Sentinel published an op-ed from the Sierra Club headlined, “Clean energy, not coal, is Wisconsin’s best bet” (Crossroads).
While we have no love for coal and do not have any interest in energy corporations, we would have to argue that the high cost of wind power generation is anything but a good bet for Wisconsin ratepayers and taxpayers.
First of all, every kilowatt of installed wind energy does not translate into the equivalent amount of energy derived from fossil fuels or hydro power – because wind does not blow all the time. In fact, in Wisconsin it blows only about 20% of the time, making Wisconsin one the worst states in the union for placing wind turbines.
It was stated that putting up wind turbines in Iowa (which is much windier that Wisconsin) has brought down its electric rates, when a study by the Institute for Energy Research shows that just the opposite is true: States with a mandate to use wind power have electric rates 40% higher than states without them.
Wind power costs between two and three times as much per kilowatt generated as does coal or natural gas, and that is after very substantial federal tax credits have been paid to the wind developers. It is estimated that two-thirds of the cost of a wind turbine’s manufacturing and construction is borne by taxpayers.
Thankfully, the tax credit is set to expire at the end of the year and wind energy has shown no ability to survive without the massive infusion of government money.
No matter what your view on climate change, there should be no doubt that building more wind turbines in Wisconsin is a sucker’s bet.
Coalition for Wisconsin’s Environmental Stewardship
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