Consumers want to believe wind energy is cheap because the wind is free. However, harnessing the wind is an expensive proposition.
First of all, the cost of the towers in $2-to-$3 million each. The power then has to be moved, which requires overhead transmission lines at $1 million per mile. In addition, a gas or coal powered generator usually must be built to power up when the wind stops. Developers will base their projections on 100 percent capacity. The problem with that is wind power generally averages 30 percent capacity.
Wind energy isn’t cheap to China. Mining and refining rare earth minerals required for the 1,000-to-2,000 pound turbine magnets leaves large areas of productive land toxic for residents.
It isn’t cheap for participating land owners who have given-up their land rights for 50 years or more. They may or may not profit from this arrangement which will likely change every five years or so.
It isn’t cheap for the communities where heavy equipment damages roads and fields, fractures relationships, and residential property values decrease the tax base.
Finally, wind energy isn’t cheap for consumers. According to our local electric cooperatives, the more wind energy they add to their portfolio, the higher your electric rates go.
When you read or hear all the hype about how great wind energy is just remember it’s being generated by investors and developers who hope to profit from this industry.
Deanna Brouwer, Beresford
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