A recent letter by long-time wind energy opponent Rolf Westgard (“Makes no
sense,” Aug. 19) misstated facts and ignored relevant real-world data. Wind
now generates over 10 percent of the electricity in nine states, and meets
over 14 percent of Minnesota’s electricity needs.
Minnesota’s consumers have directly benefited from that added wind energy.
While recently announcing his company’s plans to purchase more power from
wind farms, Northern States Power CEO David Sparby commented that wind
projects “offer lower costs than other possible resources, like natural gas
plants. These projects offer a great hedge against rising and often volatile
Utility grid operators are able to rely on a significant share of wind plant
capacity for meeting peak electricity demand. That’s because changes in
wind output occur gradually and predictably, unlike the abrupt and unexpected
failures of conventional power plants.
Also, electricity generated by wind farms directly displaces the least
efficient, most expensive power plants first. As a result, adding wind energy
displaces large quantities of carbon dioxide pollution, according to all data
and analysis from utilities, the government, and independent utility system
The Bentek study cited in Mr. Westgard’s letter was written for a fossil
fuel lobbying organization and contains a number of salient errors. Most
notably, the authors’ crude methodology cherry-picks data and blames wind
for grid variability not caused by wind. A year later Bentek directly
contradicted its first report with a new analysis - even adding that wind’s
pollution reductions in the Midwest are greater than expected.
Affordable, clean, and domestic, wind power is already providing numerous