Comments about ‘Letter: Wind power hot air?’

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Published: Friday, April 25 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

Before you go negative on the power coming from the wind farms, have you toured them? Been to Milford and their Solar Days? Been and seen the geothermal plant Rocky Mountain has in the area that produces power day or night, wind or not?

Granted, we have removed too many hydro power plants in the US over the recent years, and we are not using all the natural gas plants we can.

The wind farms are impressive. You don't see stacks of birds or bats at the base of the units by Milford. There are wind droughts, which is why we need solar, geothermal, natural gas, and yes coal for now. I am not opposed to nuclear in the future.

We should not plan on importing any energy from overseas, and to do that, yes, we need wind, along with the others.

Durham, NC

Amos - you are correct. I bet the report also left out the 3.5 to 4.5 billion environment clean up cost that Duke Energy is going to be passing to their North Carolina users to cover the cost of cleaning up their Coal Ash ponds... and that these cost are not included in average but cost in most reports.

Funny how it works that way. What ever group that is promoting what ever technology leaves certain cost out.

Listen, some of your arguments are just silly. For example the use of land. If you put up a farm of 20 turbines, you can still farm that land. If you put up a coal or natural gas power plant, that land is single purpose only. to say we should not do a particular type of energy because if too has an environment cost to it is also a false argument.. since all energy production has a cost. Lastly, the argument that it doesn't produce energy when the wind doesn't blow is a bit of an obvious statement, but no one is recommending a single source strategy, but rather a portfolio approach.

Durham, NC

Did the report also mention the up to $4.5 billion that Duke Energy rate payers are going to be asked to pick up in increased rates to clean up the coal ash ponds - one of which broke free here in North Carolina recently? Did it happen to mention that?

Of course there are other factors not included in the report. You site land usage. Ok… If a 20 unit wind turbine frame is put up in the middle of farm land, that land can still be used for agriculture. If a coal or natural gas plant goes into the same space, can that land still be used for other productive uses?

Rhetorical question of course…. but the over simplified nature of the challenges shows the author has no intention of objectively looking at how to balance out the US energy portfolio. That somehow this is a zero sum game, and that we must choose one or the other, not a multifaceted portfolio approach.

The honest answer is as the rest of the world industrializes, we are going to need to figure out technologies that allow for growth that don't come with a heavy environment burden. Its not if, but how.

Salt Lake City, UT

Great letter. Yes, alternate forms of energy should continue to be explored. But we must be totally honest about their true costs and benefits, rather than blindly pursuing a so-called “green” agenda. The truth behind some of these “green energy” projects is dismal and should spark concern.

embarrassed Utahn!
Salt Lake City, UT

But trillion dollar wars to secure oil and billions in subsidies to oil companies are easy to ignore, right?

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I've been looking for other ways to go off grid. There are a lot of fascinating things. From heat to magnets to self generating generators. I figured that wind or sun needs a battery. I'm looking for something that is easier to maintain. like water or magnets.

t-ville, UT

The costs? Suddenly non-environmentalists are interested in true costs? That's rich. There's no need to continue the climate change debate past the issue of cost. Take the climate data and extrapolate the monetary damage to our land, air, and water and the case is closed. Shifting to renewables is pennies on the dollar compared to the cost of continuing to burn fossil fuels at expanding rates. Fossil fuels, by the way, have more than a century of technological innovation behind them. Perhaps a bit of virtuous patience for burgeoning technologies, please?

clearfield, UT

Have you all ever seen a real wind farm? If not check out the one near Palm Springs, Ca. You talk about the environmentalists not liking land being used for oil production. These things make thousands of acres of land unusable, and unless you like the image of big propellers slowly turning in the wind, they are pretty unsightly too.

Sandy, UT

It's too bad we keep hiding our heads in the fossil fuel sands but it's probably because we can't breath the air it produces, or drink the water it pollutes or maybe even pay for the subsidies we give it.

embarrassed Utahn!
Salt Lake City, UT

We are all citizens of this planet.

We should all be very determined to do everything possible to preserve quality of life on this planet.

In Utah, the term "environmentalist" is used as a put-down; I just don't get it. We are blessed with some of the greatest geography on the planet, yet some seem to argue in favor of more pollution, more destruction, and turning Utah into a moonscape.

For your children's future please become an "environmentalist".

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Before we bury our heads in the sand about wind, why don't we ask these exact same questions about oil and coal?

Oh yeah, because then the choice between dirty fuel and clean energy would be obvious.

I'm afraid that the letter writer is pretending to act concerned over wind yet is actually just trying to bash wind and create paranoia to which big oil will continue to exploit.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

Iowa gets 27 percent of its electricity from wind. Kansas? Almost 20 percent. Texas? About 10 percent. Renewable energy is booming in red agricultural states, but Utah seems to be lagging. Why?

Our dominant utility monopolies in the state own coal-fired power plants and don't want to lose the profits of those assets as the nation shifts to cleaner, price stable energy.

Here's the risk we have in Utah: Looming carbon taxes and "adders" related to clean up costs.

Because our utility monopolies can pass those costs and risks of their current coal-fired power onto consumers, there's little incentive for them to be working in the best interest of rate payers to shield them from that risk of their burning coal and natural gas. Wind and solar will not face carbon taxes, so those conservative risk-averse states noted above will enjoy not only cleaner air and water, but lower costs going forward.

How to force utility monopolies to move to lower risk, cleaner sources? Encourage our legislature to enact a Renewable Energy Standard and encourage the Public Service Commission to seek ways to push those monopolies to act in the interest of rate payers.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

I'd like the letter writer to go to a military cemetery.
Visit the families of those lost in Middle Eastern Wars for Oil.
Visit the families of those killed in mining accidents.
Spend so time at the Hospital dying from Utah's polluted air.
and ask WHY oil corporations making $Billions in quarterly profits -- STILL get $Billions of dollars from the Federal PORK handouts...
Then -- Let's talk about the high "costs" of wind...

Thid Barker
Victor, ID

If wind power is so wonderful why can't the public know the real costs? All we ever hear is how "bad" fossil fuels are and never any truth about how bad the alternatives are! The truth: There is no such thing as "clean energy". They all have bad effects, all of them! Environmentalist are just selective on what they are willing to ignore, that's all.

clearfield, UT

Here's an answer. Go nuke. Just don't build the plants directly on fault lines or in sunami prone areas. For all you anti-nuke types, just google nuclear power plants worldwide. I was amazed at how many are operating and have been operating for decades. Many have even been decommissioned now. I'll bet a lot of you think that nuclear power plants are only a handful around the country and world. There are lots of them. And they have been operating safely worldwide. France practically runs everything on them. And, our U.S. Navy has been successfully running them for decades now too. As for the waste. Well, dump the stuff into the bottom of the Marianas trench. Yeah, maybe someday Godzilla will swim out and threaten Tokyo and New York City, but we can always nuke him too.

Wally West

I'm all for alternative energy sources.

We need to...

1) Seriously consider Hydrogen & working on the infrastructure for it
2) Then, bio-fuels synthesized from used vegetable oil. Tax credit for Mickey d's? ROFL!?

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Thid Barker – “Environmentalist are just selective on what they are willing to ignore, that's all.”

Good point…

So let’s make a deal – from now on let’s make sure every energy project accounts for ALL the costs involved, not only production & operations, but the cost of all externalities including environmental damage, pollution mitigation, health effects, etc., etc., etc…


J Thompson

According to the World Nuclear Association, "There are currently 435 operable civil nuclear power nuclear reactors around the world, with a further 71 under construction. (This under construction total includes recent changes including Tianwan 4, Yangjiang 5, Yangjiang 6, Shin-Hanul 2, Barakah 2, Ostrovets 1, V.C. Summer 2&3 and Vogtle 3)."

- Eleven percent of all electricity, world wide, is generated by nuclear power plants.

- France gets 75% of its power from nuclear power plants.

- Coal provides 40% of all electric power

- Gas provides 21%

- Hydro (water) provides 16%

- Oil provides 5.5%

- All other (wind, solar, geothermal) provides 2.8%

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

IMO Wind-power is good. So is GeoThermal, and solar, and hydro, and nuclear.

IMO we need them ALL. And we need a bridge to the new technology of the future that will get us gradually more and more away from power generated by burning stuff.

But we need to be a little like monkeys. We don't let go of the branch we have until we have hold of the new branch. IF we just let go and HOPE something comes along that we can grab before we hit the ground... we're probably going to wish we had grabbed the new branch before we let go of the old one.


We should continue energy sources we have currently... while we develop the new ones.

We don't have to vilify people for using the old ones (we can't all afford the new technology even when it becomes available). It takes time... for the technology to mature, and to become affordable to the masses (not just the wealthy).

Therefore... we don't need to vilify people for building a pipeline, or exploring for new pockets of the old energy sources, or driving a conventional car.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

"- France gets 75% of its power from nuclear power plants.

- Coal provides 40% of all electric power

- Gas provides 21%

- Hydro (water) provides 16%

- Oil provides 5.5%

- All other (wind, solar, geothermal) provides 2.8%"

Your math seems a bit off there bud. Last I checked, if something is 75 percent then that means there's only 25 percent remaining. Perhaps you should redo your math or reformat your post in order to make more sense.

Wouldn't it be nice if big oil and coal were held to the same level of scrutiny that wind is? I want to know all the answers to these questions right now about the dirty energy we use here in Utah today. Before we even consider letting Stericycle or Energy Solutions stay, I want to know all of these answers. Before we let the Holly refinery expand, I want to know all the negative impacts it will have. Finally, I want to know about our power plants. What negative impacts are they producing.

Let's hold dirty industry to the same level of scrutiny that we hold wind to. Otherwise, wouldn't we just be acting hypocritically?

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