Letters To The Editor - Paying for windmills' imaginary losses?


Suppose it is your business to make and sell a product. Suppose someone else had some extra of that same product, and gave it to you for free, to sell to your customers at your usual price. Of course, you would be delighted.

For a while, at least, you would have the same income as usual, but without the usual expenses and without wear and tear on your equipment. You certainly would not be upset with your benefactor.

Suppose someone gave you a product, again for free, that wasn't what you usually sell. Well, you might be a bit surprised, but of course you would be perfectly happy to sell it for extra income. You certainly would not be upset with your benefactor.

What would make you upset with your benefactor? There really aren't many choices. The one that comes readily to mind is that you are not only in the business of making that product; but that you are actually in the business of fraudulently bilking your customers by exorbitantly charging them for pretending to make that product. Understandably, you might then be upset that the widespread availability of that product exposes your lucrative pretense.

And so it is with the windmills. Clearly, windmills in this area are not in the business of generating electricity. How long has it been since there was enough of a breeze for windmills to even power their own light bulbs?

Clearly, these windmills did not have to cut back their generators during the so-called "shutdown" last spring, since measured windspeed during most of the critical hours (as published on BPA's website) was insufficient to generate anything at all.

The only possible reason wind developers could be upset with BPA (who gave the developers free electricity to cover the windless dead times) is if the windmills could actually make more money doing something other than generating electricity. And there simply are no honest ways for windmills to do that.

Now BPA is going to pay for the windmills' imaginary losses, and that money will come out of your pocket as higher electricity rates, according to "BPA offers deal on wind" (U-B Feb. 8). In a rational society, there are not many businesses that stand to gain on an overabundance of somebody else's product.

Jim Thorn


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