Letter - Despite denier’s claims, windmills aren’t failure


The recent letter to the editor from a local wind power denier (LWPD) is in response to another reader’s response to one of the LWPD’s letters.

In the letter the LWPD thanks the reader for “getting windmill’s embarrassing failures into print a second time.”

The LWPD is being modest in suggesting “a second time” as the LWPD surely has one of the highest Union-Bulletin letter-to-the-editor “in-print” averages of all time.

The most recent letter offers a variety of reasons why we should suspect what windmills are up to whether they are turning or not. He suggests in times of no wind it is often necessary to keep those blades turning or the innards will self-destruct.

But hold on! Our LWPD recently pointed out after the recent polar vortex season that it was pea-soup fog at his house and the windmills were silent; thereby proving they were a flop.

If one reviews the entire world of operating machinery, regardless of what it does, it all does better when used regularly. We all know the term “use it or lose it.” Consequently, LWPD’s discovery that windmills require regular use or exercise is not the vast conspiracy he suggests. It’s Machinery Use & Maintenance 101.

I learned years ago that electricity is like water, you can’t quite keep track of any one drop yet it’s out there “somewhere.” Somehow, someway when we need it we find it comes out of our faucets/outlets.

When it’s hot in the summertime, the Northwest typically doesn’t use as much power as the hotter Southwest, consequently the extra on hand up here is diverted south from points such as The Dalles Dam (the Big Eddy transfer station high above the dam on the Oregon side) down to the Southwest.

In the winter, when temperatures are mild in the Southwest and Northwest electric heat demand is high, the Southwest shares its surplus with us.

So what is my point? Well, just because there’s pea-soup fog at LWPD’s house and those blades are silent (or are they exercising ever so quietly and LWPD just can’t hear them?) that does not mean wind power is a failure.

Electrical availability is like water availability, it’s hard to know where it comes from as you can’t quite track each and every drop or watt, but more often than not it’s there (at least for now) to use when we demand it.

R.L. McFarland

Walla Walla



dogman12 says...

I have looked to no avail for Florida Power net generation statistics, that would end LWPD's claims. It would be simple for them to make their point. I did find gross, not net, total figures for all of Oregon, from the DOE:

Oregon Wind Generation (GWh, Million kWh)

Year Total Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

2009 3,470 224 111 341 360 329 410 296 405 314 273 233 98

2010 3,920 172 101 326 486 460 476 432 431 274 251 240 202

2011 4,775 316 339 317 520 465 546 448 531 263 378 427 221

2012 6,066 402 450 569 487 621 666 687 608 398 391 254 539

2013 6,422 458 631 568 954 697 675 836 605 644 351

6,422 Gwh in 10 reported months in 2013. Must be a positive net.

Posted 15 April 2014, 6:52 a.m. Suggest removal

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