By: John Anderson |
Editor Rex Smith’s column (“Uneasiness as renewable energy grows,” July 20) on wind power and other renewables overlooks the facts when it comes to costs, public support and wind power’s overall practicality.
Polls show quite the opposite of what Mr. Smith claims; there’s strong public support for wind power. A recent Gallup poll shows 71 percent of Americans want more wind power developed and a Washington Post poll shows a majority of Marylanders support the development of offshore wind power there.
Adding both onshore and offshore wind power will help reduce energy prices, as the electricity it generates will displace the most expensive, least efficient power plants first. For example, a power system analysis of the Midwest, Texas, Mid-Atlantic and New York by independent utility systems experts using standard power modeling methods shows that market prices with wind have been significantly lower than if wind had not entered the market.
In terms of land use, only 2-5 percent of the land area of a typical wind plant is actually taken up by wind turbines and related infrastructure, while the remaining 95-98 percent can continue being used for farming, ranching, or whatever its prior use was. Very little topographic change occurs and very little earth work occurs when wind turbines are installed on ridge lines.
Wind power and other renewables aren’t stagnating. The International Energy Agency reported just last month that “renewable energy is growing fast around the world and will edge out natural gas as the second biggest source of electricity, after coal, by 2016.”