Blow wind, blow
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 25percent 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 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
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% of the state’s electricity in 2006 to almost 10% in
2009, electric sector carbon dioxide emissions fell by more than 10%, 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.
American Wind Energy Association