Wind-Centered Economy Response

Dear Carol,

I work in a control room monitoring nine wind farms across North America. I have 5 years of experience in the field both operationally and in the market. I like the enthusiasm in this article (“Building a Wind-Centered Economy,” Winter 2012) but they completely glossed over maintenance costs. That’s a big issue. These things break down daily. Sometimes a quick reset will fix it; sometimes they go down for a week. I’m sure that with enough wind farms in the country this could be resolved, but you can’t go off talking about the low cost. It is more expensive than what this article is saying. As turbines age, there is more maintenance costs involved.

A big reason why wind energy is so cheap is because of the production tax credits we receive from the government as well as renewable energy credits we sell on Green-e and voluntary markets (basically cap and trade). Don’t get me wrong; I am all for more wind energy as it’s way better than the alternative fossil fuels, but they should bring up maintenance costs and low efficiency. I believe 50% is considered very good efficiency and it’s impossible to get higher than that. Just makes it seem a bit biased. — Regards, Johan Oudheusden

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