Tom Harris overlooks studies and data from across the country that clearly show tremendous economic benefits from adding wind power to our electric grid (“Obama’s path toward energy poverty,” Commentary, Jan. 30). These benefits include driving up to $25 billion a year in private investment and lowering consumers’ electric bills by billions of dollars annually.
All those private dollars have created tens of thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs, made lease payments to landowners and created a tax base for vital infrastructure projects such as roads, schools and hospitals.
The average Midwest homeowner is saving up to $200 a year from low-cost wind power, according to a recent report by Synapse Energy Economics. That’s because wind farms have low operating costs, as their “fuel” — the wind — is free. Electricity from wind farms displaces the most expensive and least efficient power plants on the utility system, saving consumers more money and cutting air pollution that harms people.
An “all-of-the-above” national energy policy has broad bipartisan agreement, as does upgrading our power lines for a clean energy grid that will become, in magnitude, the 21st-century equivalent of the interstate highway system. Wind energy belongs at the center of those policies, which is why in 2012 it became America’s favorite source of new electric capacity ahead of all other sources.
PETER L. KELLEY
Vice president, public affairs
American Wind Energy Association