- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

When you do the math, green energy isn’t free

Small wonder the state of Illinois is broke – no one in Springfield seems capable of doing a 5th-grade math word problem. I have been a fan of our present governor, but …

1. Gov. Pat Quinn announced spending $195,000 on a wind turbine. (Great.)

2. His news release says the turbine will generate 40,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. (Impressive.)

3. The ILCC says the two largest electricity generators in Illinois (ComEd and Ameren) presently are selling electricity for about 5 cents per kwh. (A critical bit of info not contained in the news release.)

With that information, and assuming no maintenance costs and good site wind forecasting, how long will it take for the turbine to pay off? Show your work.

— 40,000 kwh per year times $.05 per kwh equals $2,000 per year.

— $195,000 divided by $2,000 per year equals 97.5 YEARS.

Quinn says the wind energy is “free” and this “will reduce costs.” Both statements will become true, in about a century. (This project must have been developed by the same financial “experts” managing state employee retirement funds.)

Wind energy may in the long run be the right thing to do, but stop lying to us about costs, benefits and payback. Green ain’t free.

William Ellis,