I wish to second Mr. Gipson’s 2/24/14 letter rebutting Mr. Feehery’s statement that wind power is affordable.
Because electricity must be used the instant it is generated, utilities perform a complex balancing act matching generation to shifting demand.
While peak loads fluctuate, base load is constant, requiring jumbo power plants such as coal and nuclear running 24/7. Wind turbines produce too little power for Base Load. It would take several thousand just to equal Brown’s Ferry. But even then, wind couldn’t replace Brown’s Ferry because the huge fluctuations inherent to wind are unacceptable for Base Load.
To balance peak demand, utilities use Peak Load generators, which are small, usually gas or oil fired boilers or turbines that can be brought online quickly and throttled up and down easily. Wind is unsuitable for Peak Load generation, again, due to the instability of wind, as well as throttling difficulties.
This means wind power doesn’t offset fossil fuel even when the wind is blowing because fossil fuel Peak Load units have to be kept spinning in order to rapidly come online to pick up the slack when the wind drops, not only wasting fuel, but greatly complicating management of the grid.
Windmills also kill endangered birds, ruin scenic views, throw ice half a mile, cause thrumming noise and shadow flicker, and make spectacular fires.
Greedy, green corporations make a killing from government wind subsidies and tax breaks while we get stuck with higher rates, higher taxes, and less reliable power.
J. Kennon Ledbetter
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