I would like to respond to the May 15 [Democrat & Chronicle] letter "Support local wind projects." Like the author, I once naively believed that wind was the answer to our energy problems. I believed it would free us from the more conventional energy producers, the most important of which is coal. I was then appointed to the Hamlin Wind Tower Committee, charged with the investigating this very topic. This is what I learned:
Wind generators have a very "big" problem. It's called "intermittency" (they do not produce a consistent flow of electricity.) The end result is that no coal-fired generating facilities can be eliminated. In fact, coal facilities need to run at full capacity to maintain efficiency. As more wind turbines are built, more fossil fueled generators will need to be brought online as "backups." As the letter writer notes, negatives for existing energy sources abound, and wind energy is no exception. He says the main issue is aesthetics. He is wrong. Other issues are health, distance from homes, and misinformation — they don't work as advertised.
Jerry L. Borkholder, Hamlin