Letter: Answer is in the wind
Re “Vt. Yankee shutdown makes matters worse” (Monitor Forum, Sept. 5):
While Marc Brown acknowledges the New England ISO identifies over-dependence on natural gas as a “strategic challenge,” he ignores the solution that’s already readily available: adding more wind power.
Wind provides more than 20 percent of the electricity needs in several states, according to the Department of Energy, and the main grid in Colorado has relied on wind for up to 55 percent of its electricity. While transmission upgrades in New England are needed to accommodate wind resources of similar scale, other regions are adding new power lines to get the benefits of wind. Wind power is making headlines for its increased affordability (costs have dropped more than 50 percent over the last four years) and because it offers long-term, stable prices, which act as a hedge against fossil fuel prices in the same way a 30-year mortgage provides protection from interest rate spikes.
Oklahoma Gas & Electric says adding “wind energy provides OG&E customers with a hedge against higher and volatile fuel prices. . . . (A newly planned wind project) will provide an estimated $268 million of production cost savings over the first five years.” Those savings are passed on to ratepayers.
For example, 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. Because of the reliability and affordability wind power provides, it’s the right solution right now for New England.
(The writer is senior director of federal regulatory affairs for the American Wind Energy Association.)