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Letter

Wind Energy

, September 8, 2006

Re: Wind Energy: An Overview

To the Editor:

Your promotion of industrial wind energy is misplaced. Wind is neither a viable energy source nor an effective means of reducing emissions.

Wind is intermittent, uncontrollable and unreliable. As such, it cannot replace conventional sources (coal, nuclear power and natural gas) of base-load electricity either now or in the future.

Because wind is intermittent, uncontrollable and unreliable, it must be backed-up by dispatchable generation (usually natural gas) for other than very modest amounts of production. As wind energy penetration grows, the need for backup and the associated emissions largely offset the purported emissions savings.

The often claimed 'number of homes served' is misleading. Not a single home is served unless the wind is blowing within specific velocity ranges — and even when doing so the actual amount of electricity generated varies greatly depending on the actual velocity. In short, wind does not respond to electricity demand.

State and local programs supporting wind power are promoting an energy source whose: (1) energy doesn't contribute to base-load capacity; (2) whose cost, notwithstanding generous subsidies, is higher than production from conventional sources of base-load electricity; and (3) whose contribution to reducing emissions is negligible at best.

This may help explain why opposition to industrial wind energy is growing so rapidly — not just in Australia but throughout the world. Opposition is about more than aesthetics and wildlife, though these are, of course, important issues. Wind energy's benefits are paltry and it makes no sense economically.

Those concerned with meeting energy demand reliably and reducing emissions should focus on nuclear power and 'clean coal.' The current hype surrounding wind energy is just that and is a costly distraction from securing clean energy that is also reliable.

Hugh T. Kemper
Londonderry, Vt.

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