Mar 03

We’re told that wind is free energy.  130,000 Google search results prove that this is an incontrovertible fact, right?

Wrong:


The newspaper’s web edition of this story didn’t contain the wind farm photo that my dead tree edition did (as pictured above), which juxtaposes so inconveniently the truth about the cost of wind power.

Company officials acknowledged that it’s a terrible time for rate increases, but said the investments were in many cases being driven by state and local mandates for more renewable power and pollution controls.

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Jul 29

energy use vs wind gen_Oregonian

The Oregonian reports yet another inconvenient truth:

Utility customers gulped power at record levels Monday and Tuesday as the Portland area entered the longest stretch of 100-degree days in nearly three decades.

Supply is another story.

Hydropower accounts for about 40 percent of the region’s electricity, and global warming could have a significant impact on river flows. The consensus among scientists is that climate change will cause more of the Northwest’s precipitation to fall in the form of rain versus snow. A lesser snowpack means a smaller bank of stored water, and an earlier spring runoff, when the resulting hydropower is less valuable.

Greenhouse gas limits may also force utilities to close some of their coal-fired power plants, which provide a cheap and reliable source of power year round. Meanwhile, utilities are investing heavily in renewable resources such as wind to meet state mandates. But they can’t count on that power when they need it most, as the same high-pressure systems that create heat waves tend to come with low wind.

“There seems to be a lot of evidence that when you get extreme cold or heat events, you don’t see very much wind generation, at least at the east end of the gorge,” said Wallace Gibson, a generation and transmission analyst with the power planning council. “Right now, we’re pretty much not relying on wind to meet peak loads.”

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May 31

From The Oregonian:

Though I was pleased to read your article on the destructive possibilities of wind turbines, the upshot of your report on wind energy is that paying mind to the sage grouse and following the state permitting process will lead to what will be known as the otherwise “ethical” expansion of the wind turbine industry (“Chase for wind turns to public lands,” May 24).We have set such a low standard for the technologies we strap to the earth to extract fuels to feed our collective addiction to energy. Mark my words: In 25 or 30 years we will look back on these wind turbines with as much disdain as we do dams. They are a scourge on our land.

I would like our politicians to be visionary enough to see our future regrets and help us understand how to quench our energy thirst through responsible usage rather than continuous depletion.

EDWARD SAGE
Southeast Portland

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