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opinion Brainerd,MN 56401
Brainerd Dispatch
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Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401


recent article by long-time wind energy opponent Rolf Westgard

(“Obama’s chilly approach to global warming,” Jan. 29) recycled


previously refuted myths.

Wind energy has already proven a

reliable energy source by providing significant amounts of electricity

across major parts of the U.S. Iowa produces more than 20 percent of

its electricity from wind, and when wind energy recently provided more

than 25 percent of the electricity being used across 11 Midwest states,

including Minnesota, the regional grid operator MISO commented, “Wind

represents one of the fuel choices that helps us manage congestion on

the system and ultimately helps keep prices low for our customers and

the end-use consumer.” A 2012 report from Synapse Energy Economics

found that wind energy can save the the average Midwestern household up

to $200 per year.


2011, wind power contributed 12.7 percent of Minnesota’s electricity

generation, supported up to 3,000 jobs, and contributed $8 million in

land lease payments.

Data and analysis from utilities, the

government, and independent utility system operators confirm that

adding wind energy displaces large quantities of fossil fuel use and

carbon dioxide pollution. That’s because when the wind is blowing, the

electricity generated displaces the output of the most expensive, least

efficient power plants. In Minnesota, as wind grew from providing less

than 4 percent of the state’s electricity in 2006 to almost 10 percent

in 2009, electric sector carbon dioxide emissions fell by more than 10

percent, or 4 million tons. Utility operators accommodate gradual and

predictable changes in wind output with the same tools they use to deal

with fluctuations in electricity demand as well as sudden outages of

large fossil and nuclear power plants, which are far more costly to

deal with.

Despite critics’ spin, the facts demonstrate that wind

power is a vital component of an “all-of-the-above” national energy


Michael Goggin

American Wind Energy Association