To the editor:
A recent editorial ("Obama energy plan is huge new tax," Sept. 23) misstated the facts on American wind power. Already the largest source of new generating capacity added in 2012, wind has proven itself a competitive and rapidly growing form of generation as older fossil fuel plants becoming increasingly more expensive to maintain.
Wind power is a significant contributor to economic development and operates on very competitive terms with other forms of energy. The wind industry has been especially valuable in promoting economic development in rural areas, and supports communities across the nation with more than $400 million in annual lease payments to land owners and property taxes.
Landowners can realize lease payments of up to $120,000 over a 20-year period for each wind turbine installed on their property. According to a 2013 report from the Energy Information Agency (EIA), newly built wind generation is cost-competitive with all forms of electricity, second only to natural gas.
Wind power also acts as an important hedge against price volatility in the chaotic natural gas market. Adding wind to a portfolio of different energy sources helps to insulate consumers against the risk of rising fuel costs over the long term. While natural gas prices remain potentially volatile, wind power helps to stabilize prices on the grid, a critical part of supplying electricity at the lowest possible cost.
David Sparby, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota, has spoken out in favor of wind energy's competitiveness and its ability to reduce market volatility, saying "Wind prices are extremely competitive right now, offering lower costs than other possible resources, like natural gas plants. These projects offer a great hedge against rising and often volatile fuel prices."
Furthermore, wind power has already established its value in the most demanding grid environments. At one point in 2013, Texas wind power set a new record by providing 35 percent of the state's electricity needs. In Colorado, there are several instances where more than 55 percent of the electricity on the grid came directly from wind power. These states are not low-demand environments.
America needs wind as a key part of its energy mix. Clean, competitive, and homegrown, wind power is already providing significant benefits to American consumers.
Travis H. Clendenen