The Electric Reliability Council of Texas noted one day last summer that out of 10,400 megawatts of its wind-power capacity, wind was only producing 37 megawatts. Wow! 10,400 mWs of wind construction to get just 37. How the hell do you guys expect to power the nation with no coal- or gas-fired power plants when wind is so expensive and unreliable? I don't know about you, but I like my power on all the time.
—Andy in Texarkana, Arkansas
podner. Nobody claims we’ll instantly get by without coal or gas. The Sierra
Club’s goal is a bit more modest and realistic: retire a third of the coal
plants by 2020. Besides, your knock on windmills relies on fudged numbers, because
you’ve singled out an unusually calm day. If you’d picked, say, March 28, 2012
that wind power topped 7,900 megawatts that day—24 percent of Texas’s total load. Already, 8 percent of the
electricity generated in that massive state is from wind. Wind power isn’t pricey, either. It costs about
the same as electricity from new coal plants, averaging around $100 for your
precious mWh, according to the Energy Information Administration. Iowa, for
example, which gets almost 20 percent of its electricity from wind, enjoys a
relatively low residential rate of less than 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. Even
some nuclear-energy disciples have expressed surprise at the fast-dropping cost
of wind power.