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

Blow wind, blow

Posted: February 1, 2013 - 6:12pm

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

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% 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.

Michael Goggin

American Wind Energy Association

Washington