I’m easily confused! Let’s get that out of the way first. So, maybe someone can help me understand the following:
An article published January 7, 2009 at the Cumberland Times-News contained this quote: “I think the important thing is that this is developing another resource in the region that is beneficial for the environment, but also communities that are struggling right now,” said Frank Maisano, spokesman for the wind energy industry. “It’s not a matter of displacing or replacing coal or nuclear or things like that. But it’s a matter of taking a project that you can develop where it makes sense … and adding it to the grid to make that pool of power a little bit cleaner.”
That comment struck me as a little odd, since the AWEA (American Wind Energy Association) states in its Wind Energy and Environment section: “whenever the wind is blowing, it displaces the most expensive conventional power plant that is generating. Typically, this tends to be the oldest and dirtiest gas plants on a utility system, but in some parts of the country (notably the mid-Atlantic states such as Maryland, West Virginia, or Virginia), wind power may displace coal.”
So, is Mr. Maisano tailoring his comment to fit the mood, since the WV Supreme Court of Appeals cautioned the PSC during the Laurel Mountain hearing last year that decisions to permit cannot show preference to replacement of another resource, or is he acknowledging what many knowledgeable individuals have already stated – “With nearly 100,000 huge wind turbines now in operation throughout the world—35,000 in the USA—no coal plants have been closed anywhere because of wind technology. And there is no empirical evidence that there is less coal burned per unit of electricity produced as a specific consequence of wind.“ In other words, Will industrial wind replace fossil fuel? Just do the math!
So then, if “It’s not a matter of displacing or replacing coal or nuclear or things like that,” and all you really want to do is make the “pool of power a little bit cleaner,” can’t that be done more sensibly and economically with investment in clean coal technology, natural gas and nuclear?
Wouldn’t it be more sensible to upgrade existing power plants that have already consumed the spot of land they’re on, rather than building a huge set of power cranks which will require additional vast land and air consumption?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to invest in improvements in power sources that produce 24/7/365 rather than add thousands of temporary spinning devices that operate, at best, to 30% of their nameplate capacity, if the Goldilocks wind happens to be blowing not too soft-not to hard-but just right?
After all, if you’re just looking to improve the economic status of our area, how about investing in technology that allows our community to really grow. Not by consuming many square miles of mountain top with some temporary and unreliable contraptions for the sake of perhaps 6 jobs and some tax revenue, but in real return for the taxpayer dollars.
Again, the environmental improvement you mention as “make the “pool of power a little bit cleaner” could be accomplished with a more sensible and economical approach by investing in clean coal technology, natural gas and nuclear.
Eighty percent of the Stimulus dollars thrown at the wind industry didn’t land here in the US. Were that money spent instead in the United States on infrastructure and improvements of proven sources of electricity, permanent jobs would have been created, here.
Investors seeking quick return flock to the heavily subsidized wind schemes popping up across the country. From the rush to plop your constructions anywhere a tax subsidy exists to the “renewable energy credit” deals, the Public, mostly in an effort to do the right thing for the planet, sacrifice their tax dollars to the drive-by LLCs. Perhaps a better choice would be to if the same taxpayer dollars were invested in the existing reliable power producing structure until the energy grid can be rebuilt to accommodate new forms of energy from new ideas. Not from some old world, gust driven romantic technology that went out with the steam engine, but real innovation.
So, I hope you’re right Mr. Maisano. I hope it’s not about closing coal and nuclear fired plants, because wind can’t handle the load. Since industrial wind seems to fall short of providing reliable energy; is not reducing our requirement for fossil fuel; will increase rates to consumers and the subsidy hungry LLCs will continue to dip at the tax trough, it strikes me that we really don’t need industrial wind! It seems to me that the only thing industrial wind is contributing to, is the bank account of folks like yourself.
I’ve rambled on long enough. It’s up to nearly 25 degrees here in the middle of the day here in the mountains, and the wind isn’t blowing. But, thankfully my electric furnace is working just fine. Maybe I should really take a moment to send a thank you note to my neighbors who keep that coal fired power plant running 24/7/365, just in case I get a little chilly. You see, I’m the customer and they give me electricity when I need it, not just when they have it! Pretty cool concept, don’t you think?