Anna DeGarmo’s recent opinion piece (“OPINION: Despite opposition, renewable energy should come to Ohio”) concluded that despite local opposition to utility scale wind development, Ohio should continue to force more wind energy into the utility mix. She even goes so far as to label local opponents to wind energy as “close minded” .
While extolling the dubious local economic benefits of turning entire counties into 50, 60 and even 70 story power plants, Ms. DeGarmo ignores certain immutable facts regarding Ohio wind energy.
First, she ignores the fact that wind energy is an absurdly expensive means of reducing CO2 emissions. The Obama administration valued the economic harm from CO2 emissions at $40 per ton emitted. But when regional transmission operator MISO, which manages wind-rich states like Iowa and Minnesota, analyzed the Obama Clean Power Plan, they concluded that reducing CO2 emission by deploying wind energy reduces CO2 emission at a cost of $237/ton, nearly 6 times the economic harm of just absorbing the cost of CO2 emissions.
Secondly, she ignores the fact that Ohio has an anemic wind resource. A regional analysis of wind power contracts shows that states like Ohio and Michigan are at a steep price disadvantage relative to much windier western states like Iowa or Nebraska. In fact, Ohio wind is 2-3 times the price of wind contracts out west.
Finally, she ignores the fact that wind energy is a high cost/low value source of intermittent energy. Unsubsidized wind energy in wind-poor states like Ohio and Michigan cost far more than energy from existing coal, gas and nuclear plants. But since wind energy arrives on its own schedule and historically at times of low demand/low market value, it is worth far less than conventionally generated electricity. And high cost energy harms every Ohio industry except wind companies like Virginia-based APEX or Spanish utility giant Avangrid/Iberdrola.
A “close minded” person is defined as someone who has “ a mind firmly unreceptive to new ideas or arguments”.
The three facts above are sure to create cognitive dissonance in the mind of wind energy enthusiasts like Ms. DeGarmo.
Only time will tell if truth is powerful enough to pry open their minds.
Mr. Martis is the director of the Interstate Informed Citizen’s Coalition, an organization aiming to inform citizens of Ohio and Michigan about the “potential impacts from the construction of industrial wind turbines.”