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PGE claims about windmills are lot of hot air

Portland General Electric claims its new Tucannon River wind farm near Dayton will generate, on average, 38 percent of its capacity.

Consider the following facts and decide for yourself whether that claim is credible.

There are two ways for average generation to be 38 percent of capacity: the windmills either must generate at 38 percent of capacity for 100 percent of the time; or must generate at 100 percent of capacity for 38 percent of the time.

For PGE’s Siemens windmills, the wind speed must be 19 mph to generate at 38 percent of capacity; or 32 mph to generate at 100 percent of capacity.

Therefore, PGE’s claim means the wind at Dayton either must blow 19 mph all the time, or must blow 32 mph for two-and-a-half days every week.

A wind of 19 mph is very uncomfortable. You must hold onto your hat if you go outdoors. You cannot ride a bicycle unless you are an Olympic-class athlete, because that’s too much headwind for an ordinary person to make any progress.

A wind of 32 mph is a dangerous storm. You cannot stand upright if you go outdoors. Shingles are blown off roofs. Substantial limbs break off trees.

So, if the Tucannon River windmills are to average 38 percent of capacity, then the people of Dayton must be subject to one of the following two conditions: either they can never ride a bicycle; or every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday there will be tree branches crashing onto the stripped-bare roofs of their houses.

Those are the only two choices to support PGE’s claim. Which is it?

But PGE spent $500 million to build these worthless windmills; and, in addition, it is paying leasing rights of $1.3 million per year to each of the largest Columbia County landowners.

Put on your thinking caps and figure out where that money is coming from.

Jim Thorn

Dayton