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August 1, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Wind energy is win-win for all

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“We’re so overleveraged on natural gas. If we’re not doing enough on renewable energy, then we’re really going to be caught.”

These recent comments by Assemblyman David Bobzien in the story “Why do you pay what you do for power?” capture the valuable protection wind energy and other renewables are providing to Nevada consumers. Much like how fixed-rate mortgages protect homeowners from fluctuations in interest rates, zero-fuel-cost energy sources such as wind energy protect consumers from fluctuations in the price of fossil fuels. This is more important with 70 percent of Nevada electricity needs met by out-of-state natural gas.

However, the cost of moving to a cleaner, more balanced power mix has been overstated. According to NV Energy’s April 2013 rate schedule, the state’s renewable energy program is responsible for around $2 (or about 2 percent) of an average monthly utility bill, far less than other bill adders. Moreover, data filed with the state Public Utilities Commission and linked in the article confirms that wind energy purchases are decreasing the power company’s costs.

Also, unlike conventional power plants, generating electricity from wind does not require any water. Wind energy also offsets the most expensive and least efficient fossil-fired plants, improving air quality by reducing emissions of mercury, sulfur dioxides and other pollutants.

In short, wind energy is a win-win for the state’s consumers and environment.

The author is the western regional representative of the American Wind Energy Association.

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  1. The author is full of hot air. Wind is an impractical, high cost, inefficient means of energy. Besides the propellers kill and maim hundreds of thousands of birds every year. The efficiency of these wind machines hasn't improved in all the years of trying and won't in the near future.

    Carmine D

  2. Denmark generates about a quarter of its electricity via wind turbines. Conventional fossil fueled power plants have an energy efficieny of about 33% that hasn't omproved since the 1950s.

    Most studie have concluded that we could generate as much as 20% our electricity with wind turbines without major changes to the power grid.

  3. You know that the argument is lost when the anonymous trolls shed a tear for the environment. But hey, it's just past Earth Day so let's be a little charitable!

  4. Ignore Carmine's usual uninformed rant in favor of this:
    http://energy.gov/science-innovation/ene...

    "The American wind industry had its best year ever in 2012, with more than 13,000 megawatts (MW) installed. In the fourth quarter alone, more than 8,000 MW were deployed -- an all-time record for the industry and twice as much wind as the previous record set in the fourth quarter 2009.

    Thanks to this growth, the wind industry was able to achieve another milestone in 2012: achieving 60 gigawatts (GW) of cumulative wind capacity in the United States. To put it another way, the United States today has more than 45,000 wind turbines that provide enough electricity to power 14.7 million homes -- roughly equivalent to the number of homes in Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, and Ohio combined.

    To underscore how quickly wind power is taking root in America, consider this: it took 25 years to reach 10 GW, which occurred in 2006. But it only took four years to grow from 20 GW (2008) to 60GW (2012). And last year -- for the first time ever -- wind power provided the largest share of new electric capacity (42 percent) in the United States. Of course, more wind also means less carbon pollution that contributes to climate change. With 60 GW installed, its like taking 17.5 million cars off the road."

  5. Just drove through Silicon Valley last week with several houses having six Solar Panels (3 - Story Houses - so about 5000+ sq') and a small windmill. I see no reason why it would not work in Vegas, especially with NVE paying exhorbitant rates to solar producers. And wiping out a few pigeons with my windmill I see as a win-win situation.

  6. "But it only took four years to grow from 20 GW (2008) to 60GW (2012). And last year -- for the first time ever -- wind power provided the largest share of new electric capacity (42 percent)"

    Mark:

    It's called government [read taxpayers] energy subsidies. Economics 101: Subsidize something and you get more of it. But it comes with a huge cost. Taxpayers pay more, governments get more in debt, private investment is discouraged, and the money spent on hot air machine farms use up the monies that could better be spent on social issues like health, education and welfare. Outside of these, government energy subsidies work fine.

    Carmine D

  7. Also worth mentioning and I don't believe was here, the illnesses caused to humans who have to listen to the drone of these wind machines and live with them.

    Carmine D

  8. "The problem is something called "Wind Turbine Syndrome."

    "My health concern is because I have a motion disorder, the research we've been researching has a possibility linked to having problems with [the turbines]," said Mike Eaton, who was an artillery man in Vietnam and has inner ear damage from all the blasts. He suffers from debilitating vertigo, which is similar to being seasick. He walks with a limp and a cane for assistance.

    "In other words, I don't know what [the turbines] will do to me," he says. "To be honest with you" I don't want to be the guinea pig to find out."

    Certain noises set off his vertigo, and he wonders if the sounds made by the whirling blades and churning turbine motors will be constant triggers.

    That's why a soon-to-be-published book has them so alarmed. It's called "Wind Turbine Syndrome: A Report on a Natural Experiment."

    It's the work of New York physician and ecologist, Dr. Nina Pierpont.

    Among the problems associated with Wind Turbine Syndrome are "a debilitating, complex of symptoms" including sleep disturbance, headache, dizziness, vertigo, nausea and panic episodes "associated with sensations of internal pulsation or quivering which arise while awake or asleep."

    Dr. Owen Black is one of the experts asked to critique the research in the book. He is an expert in disorders of the inner ear.

    He's also the Director of Neurology Research for the Legacy Research and Technology Center in Portland.

    "Judging from the studies done, particularly by the Navy on low frequency sound pressure levels and given the symptom patterns that are described here, I definitely think it needs to be investigated," Dr. Black told KATU News. "What the cause is, I have no idea."

    Dr. Pierpont's hypothesis says wind turbines produce vibration, low frequency noise and their moving shadows create visual stimulation known as "flicker."

    All of those things that can affect the body, especially if you're someone with a "pre-existing migraine disorder, motion sensitivity, and inner ear damage" like Mike Eaton.

    Near the Eaton's home, another company was cutting the ribbon on a newly-built wind farm.

    Dr. Black concedes that "this area is very difficult because very few people have expertise in the areas that need to be studied" when it comes to the health affects of wind turbines.

    He said that proving Wind Turbine Syndrome would require a comprehensive and very expensive study.

    Dr. Pierpont's book says there should be a buffer of at least a mile and a quarter - maybe more - to protect the public.

    "It's sickening, the pit of your stomach, you're whole life is going to change, and you have no control over it," Sherry Eaton says as she looks toward the temporarily still turbines.

    Health concerns have not been part of the permitting process for wind farms in the Northwest. In fact, the state of Oregon touts it has "adopted an expedited siting processes for wind farms".

    Carmine D

  9. "Wind turbines are QUIET and pose no health danger.

    And republican desparation is out of control.

    Wind power WILL BE part of our future power.

    You republicans need to stop crying about it."

    Teamster:

    Your facts are as bad as your spelling and grammar.

    Carmine D

  10. Sounds like Mike Eaton Has Meniere's disease a inner ear disorder which can come from a explosion at a early time in one's life.

    I know about this disease, I've had it for 45 years it's not a easy thing to live with.There is no cure for Meniere's disease

  11. Well then like you he would know.

    Carmine D

  12. Sorry Sam about the hearing aids comment on another thread. I didn't know about your hearing loss and disease. Explains why you never served in the U.S. military.

    My sincere apologies, Sam.

    Carmine D

  13. Carmine, I did serve in the military,active duty and army reserve for a total of eight years.Mostly reserve time. 1958-1966,I enlisted at age 17.

  14. People here give and take equally. You included.

    I apologized to you after I learned. That's all I can do. I can't make you accept it

    Carmine D