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Letter: Wind power saves money

A recent column, “Green energy hits ratepayers’ pockets hard” (Monitor forum, March 28) got the facts wrong on wind power.

New England ratepayers have already realized tangible benefits from wind power being added to the utility system. Developing wind power has meant millions of dollars of new economic development and environmental benefits in the form of cleaner air from the displacement of dirtier forms of energy.

Adding wind power and other renewable energies to the New England energy portfolio is also making the energy market more competitive, benefiting consumers. Power system analyses of the Midwest, Texas, Mid-Atlantic and New York by independent utility systems experts have found that market prices in areas with wind power have been significantly lower than if wind had not entered the market.

In fact, a 2010 New England Wind Integration Study found that wholesale electricity prices would decline anywhere from $5 per MWh to $11 per MWh if the region generated 20 percent of its power from wind, depending on which sites were used for wind production.

By having its state’s renewable portfolio standard in place driving additional renewable energy, New Hampshire ratepayers can benefit from similar types of savings and insulation from fuel price spikes in the future.

Regarding levelized cost, the letter’s author must have his numbers backwards. According to Lazard, a preeminent financial advisory and asset management firm, renewable energy is already cost competitive with new conventional energy resources in many markets.

Finally, because wind power is a clean energy source that displaces harmful emissions from other energy sources, it is a valuable part of a diverse and balanced energy mix.

Wind energy emits no air or water pollution, requires no mining or drilling for fuel, uses virtually no water, and creates no hazardous or radioactive waste.


Washington, D.C.

(The writer is chief economist for the American Wind Energy Association.)

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