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4) Wind power is not a major source of human-related bird fatalities--it is dwarfed by such everyday hazards as buildings, automobiles, house and feral cats, and more. Also, the wind power industry works closely with government agencies and wildlife groups to find ways to reduce its already low impact. 5) Wind power is not costing consumers more. Between 2005 and 2010, retail electricity prices in the 30 states with the least wind power installed rose by 27%, those in the 20 states with the most wind power by 16%, and those in the 10 states with the most wind power by just 11%.--Tom@AWEA
3) With no fuel costs, wind energy contracts can lock in energy prices for a 20-year term or longer, similar to the stability that a long-term fixed-rate mortgage offers to homebuyers. Wind energy protects consumers from the fuel price volatility that must be passed on to consumers and is the largest source of consumer electric rate increases. When Xcel Energy, a large Midwestern utility, secured a wind power purchase in 2011, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission stated that “the contract will save ratepayers $100 million on a net-present-value basis over its 25-year term under a base-case natural gas price scenario” while providing the opportunity to “lock in” a price for 25 years.--Tom@AWEA
There are a number of errors in this column, so I'm not going to try to go into them all. A few in particular: Backup generation is kept running at all times on our utility system, not so much because of wind, but because large traditional power plants often suffer unexpected outages within a few seconds and must be instantly replaced. Wind generally changes slowly, and its changes can be forecast in advance. It adds very little to existing system backup needs. The cost of wind power has been falling. A January 2012 study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory shows that it costs between 24 and 39 percent less to produce wind energy on a per-kilowatt-hour basis today than it did in 2002-2003.--Tom@AWEA
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