Cohocton Wind Watch: Congress wrong in providing "stimulus" money for wind energy
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Congress wrong in providing "stimulus" money for wind energy

Investment in energy efficient light bulbs would save more than 5 times as much electricity in 5 years as an equal $ investment in a wind turbine would produce in 20 years.

This fact is clearly demonstrated with simple arithmetic!

First, calculate the potential output from a wind turbine. A wind turbine with capacity of 1 Megawatt (or 1,000 kilowatts) would cost about $2 million. [i] If that turbine achieved a capacity factor of 35%, it would produce 3,066,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in one year or 61,320,000 kWh over 20 years. [ii]

Second, calculate the electricity savings from energy efficient light bulbs. With energy efficient light bulbs now selling for about $2 each, $2 million would buy one million light bulbs. Replacing a 60-watt incandescent bulb with a 15-watt energy efficient bulb providing similar light would save 45 watt-hours in 1 hour. If used 4 hours per day year around for 5 years, savings from that one bulb would be 328.5 kWh. One million bulbs would save 328,500,000 kWh over 5 years. [iii]

Apart from the absolute savings shown, keep in mind that:

• Electricity that is saved doesn't require building expensive transmission lines.
• Not all the electricity from a wind turbine ever reaches electric customers because of line losses.
• The $2 million for a wind turbine doesn't include costs for 20 years of operations, maintenance, repair, and replacement.

Further, building “wind farms” creates very few jobs because an overwhelming share of the cost capital of a “wind farm” is for turbines, blades, and towers that are built elsewhere and imported. Construction lasts only a few months and is done by temporary workers from outside areas. Few permanent jobs are created. Electricity produced is high in cost and low in value because it is intermittent, volatile, unreliable, and unlikely to be available when electricity demand is highest. Wind turbines do not replace the need for reliable generating capacity. They provide few environmental benefits and cause significant environmental, scenic, and property value damage.

Glenn R. Schleede, 18220 Turnberry Drive, Round Hill, VA 20141-2574. 540-338-9958

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