The recent approval of a 40-megawatt (MW) wind project in Sheffield, Vt., occasioned this
outburst from the Newport, Vt., Caledonian-Record. Now, I have nothing against folks who dislike wind--well, OK, maybe I do have a little something against them--but everyone is entitled to their own opinion, no matter how misguided. But I do take exception when that opinion is published in print and is obviously based on falsehood, which is unfortunately the case here.
I'll set aside several questionable statements and quote just one outstanding passage:
Next, the wind towers will produce power for only about 11 percent of the time. The rest of the time, the wind isn't there, and the power that isn't produced by them will have to be replaced by current, allegedly inefficient, global-warming plants. Net benefit to energy efficiency? None.
First, 11% just ain't so, and any reporter or editor worth her or his salt would be able to find that out. A wind project at a Vermont site should be producing electricity 50-80% of the time, which is consistent with the wind developer's projected production for the Sheffield wind farm (115 million kilowatt-hours annually). (To be more specific, generating 115 million kWh would require the wind farm to operate a minimum of 33% of the time. Since it will often be operating at less than full power, it will have to run a higher percentage of the time to achieve that output.)
Second, when the wind turbines generate, fossil-fueled power plants will throttle back and use less fuel, emitting less global warming pollution. If the wind turbines were not there, the same plants would be running more and emitting more CO2. This is a straightforward concept that shouldn't be hard to grasp.
The Caledonian-Record, not surprisingly, declares its determination to stand behind a local anti-wind group in efforts to block the project. It's a good thing that the Vermont Public Service Board, which approved the Sheffield wind farm, is more open to the facts in this case.