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Old Gray Lady: No gusto for wind power

An article in the New York Times looks at the costs involved in trying to make wind power a major factor in power generation along the east coast of the United States.  It turns out that it’s going to cost an enormous amount, require back-up coal or gas generation to accommodate intermittent winds, a truly gi-normous investment in new transmission lines, and after all that, amount to a scant few percent of the total energy demand.

This of course reflects what AVFTA has been saying for a long time.  Wind and solar sources sound good to uninformed people who have an emotional attraction to doing something good for the environment.  But the simple facts of physics are not amenable to feel-good arguments.  It takes millions upon ten-millions of horsepower of electric energy to drive the machinery of America.  To generate this much power from wind farms is possible only after crippling expenditure levels, and even then, the baseload power plants driven by coal, gas, and uranium will still be necessary.

The author in the Times story cites some figures from a study saying that an investment of $125 billion could supply about 6 percent of power needs in the northeastern corridor.  I only note that a resumption of economic growth in the United States would completely absorb this amount of new generation and still require more nuclear or fossil-based energy.

Somehow, some way, this message has got to penetrate the heads of policy makers who are slowly resuming “terror chatter” about cap-and trade.  Green gadget energy simply cannot carry the freight, not even when you throw money at it by the billions.  If private investors want to build wind farms and solar rooftops, I’m all for that.  But setting up a government-mandated policy structure with EPA and IRS enforcement for wind and solar will break the bank while it puts us in the dark.  Bad move.

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