Blow wind, blow | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Blow wind, blow

Posted: February 1, 2013 - 10:09pm

The
recent article by long-time wind energy opponent Rolf Westgard
(“Obama’s chilly approach to global warming,” Jan. 29) recycled
previously refuted myths.

Wind energy has already proven a
reliable energy source by providing significant amounts of electricity
across major parts of the U.S. Iowa produces more than 20 percent of
its electricity from wind, and when wind energy recently provided more
than 25 percent of the electricity being used across 11 Midwest states,
including Minnesota, the regional grid operator MISO commented, “Wind
represents one of the fuel choices that helps us manage congestion on
the system and ultimately helps keep prices low for our customers and
the end-use consumer.” A 2012 report from Synapse Energy Economics
found that wind energy can save the the average Midwestern household up
to $200 per year.

In
2011, wind power contributed 12.7 percent of Minnesota’s electricity
generation, supported up to 3,000 jobs, and contributed $8 million in
land lease payments.

Data and analysis from utilities, the
government, and independent utility system operators confirm that
adding wind energy displaces large quantities of fossil fuel use and
carbon dioxide pollution. That’s because when the wind is blowing, the
electricity generated displaces the output of the most expensive, least
efficient power plants. In Minnesota, as wind grew from providing less
than 4 percent of the state’s electricity in 2006 to almost 10 percent
in 2009, electric sector carbon dioxide emissions fell by more than 10
percent, or 4 million tons. Utility operators accommodate gradual and
predictable changes in wind output with the same tools they use to deal
with fluctuations in electricity demand as well as sudden outages of
large fossil and nuclear power plants, which are far more costly to
deal with.

Despite critics’ spin, the facts demonstrate that wind
power is a vital component of an “all-of-the-above” national energy
policy.

Michael Goggin

American Wind Energy Association

Washington