Windaction.org has been tracking a number of controversial wind energy stories that we will be commenting on in future Wind Alert! newsletters.
WindAction Editorials filed under General
It is fundamental that the benefits of any proposed wind energy facility outweigh its impacts. Since there are no intrinsic environmental benefits to erecting wind turbines on ridge lines, prairie lands or coastal areas, the benefits of wind-powered electricity are expected to accrue through the displacement of fossil fuel generation, and the offsetting of associated CO2 emissions and other pollutants.
Last June, Windaction.org commented on the US Department of Energy's report "20% Wind Power by 2030" touting wind power could supply 20% of the US electricity needs by 2030. Buried in the document was a remarkable admission - that wind power cannot replace the need for many "capacity resources", i.e. those generators that supply electricity during periods when we need it. In other words, while utilities are obligated to provide electricity, instantaneously, when customers demand it, wind does not, nor can it ever, do that.
Pressure is mounting in the United States to construct new and extensive transmission lines necessary to transport wind energy from remote areas where it's generated to markets where it will be consumed. Power lines hundreds of miles long are proposed to criss-cross the country costing billions of dollars. While wind generators are willing to commit to building projects (heavily subsidized by federal tax credits), the cost of new transmission is expected to be borne by ratepayers and taxpayers in the different regions.
The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), a quasi-public agency tasked with encouraging renewable energy technologies in the State, is funded through a monthly systems benefit surcharge to all electricity users statewide. MTC has spent millions speculating on wind proposals, including $250k on the out-of-state Redington, Maine project which was denied a permit.