LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Paying for energy that's not produced?


You are already paying for the energy that windmills are not producing, but supposedly you don't know it. Now you have been told, and the people who told you are being sued.

Bonneville Power Administration has (U-B May 19 -- "NW wind farms cut back") implemented a program called Environmental Redispatch, wherein heavy spring runoff means all the Northwest's energy needs are supplied by hydroelectric dams, and all other energy producers are taken off the grid.

The American Wind Energy Association is threatening lawsuits over this action (U-B May 18 -- "Group responds to potential NW wind power shutdown"), claiming it should be compensated for loss of revenue when their windmills are shut down.

What revenue would this be, that AWEA claims to be losing? Sales of electricity that windmills could have generated during the mandated shutdown?

No. The month of May has been a time of very little wind, and the change in wind-generated energy as the shutdown periods begin and end has been an unnoticeable blip in an already nearly straight-lined wind production graph.

The revenue that AWEA is afraid of losing is, in fact, tax credits that wind developers receive on the basis of nameplate capacity of windmills constructed in the

Northwest, wind or no wind.

Windmill owners are being paid on the perception that wind is a thriving industry, creating jobs, making farmland lucrative, and supporting community tax bases. In fact, the Environmental Redispatch program proves that perception false: nobody is without electricity when the windmills shut down, because nobody gets their electricity from windmills. AWEA hopes that if it screams loudly and creates a big fuss, nobody will figure it out.

Jim Thorn


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