Letter: Wind energy growing, effective

September 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

A recent letter (“Fossil fuels are the world’s reality,” Aug. 25) ignores the benefits of energy diversification. Renewable energy is now cost effective — more so than other traditional resources.

Last year saw record-breaking amounts of new wind capacity added to the grid as more wind was installed than any other electricity source.

As a result, the U.S. is now on pace to receive 20 percent of its electricity from wind energy by 2030, consistent with a scenario set out in a George W. Bush administration Department of Energy report.

In states such as Alabama and Georgia, major utilities are purchasing large quantities of wind energy from the Plains because it’s the cheapest new generation resource they can get.

In Iowa, where wind farms generate about 20 percent of the state’s electricity, average customer utility bills are about 20 percent lower than here in Louisiana.

Several wind farms have been proposed for Louisiana. These wind farms would not only help diversify our electricity portfolio, but also our economic portfolio. Blade Dynamics in New Orleans manufactures wind turbine blades for the wind industry. SEMCO in Lafitte has manufactured ships specifically designed as turbine installation vessels for offshore wind farms in Europe. Over-reliance on a single industry to drive economic development is a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, many of the jobs available in the oil and gas industry may be able to expand into the wind industry.

Besides economic benefits, adding wind power also helps protect human health and preserve the environment for future generations. Unlike conventional sources of electricity, generating wind power does not release harmful pollutants into the air or water, consume valuable freshwater supplies, or generate hazardous waste requiring permanent storage. Offshore wind farms may also provide recreational fishing opportunities.

Louisiana would be wise to tap its renewable energy resources. Wind energy could help the state diversify its electric resources and economic development.

Simon Mahan, renewable energy manager

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy


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