Letter to the Editor: More response on offshore wind

Published 11:30 am Sunday, November 10, 2019

To the editor:

I found an August 12, 2019 letter to the editor from two local chambers of commerce, concerning American Wind Week in North Carolina, both inspirational and misinformed.  However, the subject letter tacitly invited public comment by stating: “we look forward to learning more about offshore wind” and understanding “benefits offshore wind could bring.”

In keeping with such encouraging broadmindedness expressed by both the Edenton-Chowan Chamber of Commerce and the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, I offer the following information:

  1. Windmills on land have yet to produce net benefits anywhere in the world while simultaneously punishing ratepayers, taxpayers, and the environment.
  2. Offshore wind requiring huge derrick-barges, near-perfect weather, and minimum wave heights for construction will cost at least three to four times the cost of land-based machines not counting routine in-place maintenance, repairs, and replacement, all tens of miles out into the ocean.
  3. In spite of utility company and Virginia newspaper propaganda, wind-generated electricity is neither “clean” nor “green”. In fact, chambers of commerce could perform a valuable public service informing the public that nothing about wind-generated electricity is “renewable” the mantra of the day.  For example, a two-megawatt windmill with its tower and its base, requires mining 300 tons of iron ore, burning 170 tons of coking coal, producing 200 tons of steel all of which is transported by oil or natural gas.  Consequently, mining, production, and transport, per windmill, requires more energy than what a windmill will produce in its 15-year lifetime (calculations by Professor Larry Bell).
  4. While a windmill might add some energy to the grid when the wind decides to blow, a windmill adds no capacity to a system since electricity produced is not dispatachable; in other words, one can never count on wind to blow on demand. Wind simply decides, on its own, when it will start or stop producing electricity. Since there is no such thing as wind energy by itself, windmills have to be backed up by dependable, fast-acting, non-intermittent sources, typically natural gas.  Thus we end up paying for electricity production twice: first for high-cost, low-value, electricity from windmills and then from reliable hydroelectric, hydrocarbon, or nuclear sources.
  5. To add insult to injury, [recent] emergency alerts in Texas were the result of that state’s infatuation with unreliable wind. It turns out that on hot days in Texas, home to our country’s largest number of global warming scarecrows, there is often little wind.
  6. In summary obsession with windmills, an ancient largely-discarded, dead-end technology, foolishly resurrected decades ago in the United States to aid rent seekers and other environmental predators selling tax shelters to garner lavish subsidies, has been one of the greatest blunders of our time.
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M.S. Medeiros, Jr.

Kitty Hawk