Wind energy is one solution

To the editor:

Much thanks to the Daily Mining Gazette for taking misinformed opponents of wind energy to task, in particular, Mr. Kevon Martis, who recently spoke in the area.

Mr. Martis is a self described “senior fellow” of a prominent right wing, Washington, D.C., “think tank” that specializes in denying science and attacking real researchers, while promoting the coal, oil, and tobacco agenda.

Data from Lazard, one of the world’s largest and oldest financial management firms, shows that cost of wind energy ranges from $30/MWhr to $60/MWhr, compared to $42 to $78 for the nearest competitor, natural gas.

Here in Michigan, wind purchase agreements have been trending downward in price, with some of the more recent ones in the $45 MW/hr range — highly price competitive, if not cheaper, than gas turbines.

The Lazard survey shows that coal and nuclear have effectively priced themselves out of the running in the United States.

Michigan’s own Dow Chemical is one of the largest industrial purchasers of wind power, having contracted wind electricity to entirely power its Freeport, Texas, facility, which is Dow’s largest plant, and the largest of its kind in the western hemisphere.

A big reason Dow chose wind energy in gas-rich Texas, is wind power has a completely predictable fuel cost (zero), which budget planners like. They don’t have to guess what their costs will be a decade in advance — creating what the company calls a “long-term competitive advantage.”

Leading companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, and others are buying wind and solar energy, as a way to hedge against future cost increases, and decrease pollution.

Many of these companies will not even consider a location unless there they have access to 100 percent renewable, non-carbon energy.

One state that has benefitted greatly from this has been Iowa, which is now the state with the greatest penetration of wind generated electricity, a very reliable 36 percent.

The Des Moines Register recently reported that Iowans currently pay about 5 percent less in 2015, adjusted for inflation, than they did in 1998, when wind energy got its start in the state (an average of 8.35 cents per kilowatt hour).

Wind energy is of particular interest in Michigan, because it does not place burdens on our precious water resources.

Michigan should be leading, not lagging, in this new industrial revolution.

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