Wind vs. nuclear power

March 30, 2011

While Jay Hancock documents the uncompetitive cost of offshore wind farms, there is one aspect of the cost equation that is not considered "Offshore wind farm is a bad idea that ought to be killed, March 27).

Wind power generation actually does not replace other sources of energy, which must be operationally available when there is insufficient wind to generate useable amounts of power.

When electrical energy requirements increase in response to economic and population growth, virtually every planned megawatt generated by future wind installations must be matched by an increase in reliable power generation capacity to insure a dependable supply system capable of meeting demand at all times.

Therefore, the cost of this additional capacity should be included in the cost of the wind power installations. This would render wind power uneconomical even with massive, unaffordable and economically disruptive government subsidies.

As has been noted previously in letters to The Sun, only nuclear power or fossil fueled installations can provide the scale and reliability required to support growing modern economies. Natural gas, with its lower greenhouse gas emissions and domestically based supply, provides a timely and cost effective bridge to nuclear power, the ultimate foreseeable environmentally responsible source.

It is obviously crucial to extract the correct lessons from the current Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant failures in Japan. But if global warming caused by human activity is to be a decisive factor, making nuclear work will be the only viable option.

William D. Sauerwein, Phoenix

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