- The Washington Times - Monday, March 25, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In his letter to the editor titled “Wind power endorsed by private sector” (Friday), John Feehery notes the $25 billion of private investment, the 90-percent drop in “the cost of wind power” since 1980 and the 75,000 jobs that the wind industry has produced as a way of lauding wind power’s achievements. There should be a realistic evaluation period and analysis of several economic factors applied to this “engine of growth” in the private sector.

Without government subsidies in the form of tax credits and infrastructure development costs (connections to the grid), the likelihood of private investment in wind power would be minuscule. The large “pole in the tent” for wind-power generation has been and continues to be the maintenance costs over time. The maintenance costs dramatically reduce the recoupment of investment costs and drive future investment considerations.

The older wind-generation fields in California have fewer than 50 percent of their wind turbines in operation, as the repairs necessary to put them back into power-generation shape are cost-prohibitive. The newer windmill towers must have special equipment to make repairs because of their height. The limited studies of the dramatic fires that occur in the newer, larger mills have determined that the failures resulted mainly from the breakdown of the critical lubricants.

Like any newly espoused technical advancement, a period of skepticism should be observed before applauding this “American success story” and the coming of age of wind power.

NEIL ARNOLD

Hanover, Md.

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