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An overview of wind power

To the editor: Does wind power fail scrutiny? Wind's variable; does its harnessed energy vary? The GE 1.5 MW SLE wind turbine's onboard computer, informed by the turbines weather station (with anemometer [i.e. wind speed indicator] and weather vane), varies blade pitch with wind speed, and keeps the rotor facing the wind. Rotor speed (therefore power) is constant. Some potential is lost from faster winds. The grid receives only 100 percent rated capacity, or 0 percent. Wind speed matters because few Northern New York sites have enough average wind speed for viable projects, making sites with it urgently precious. Winds production tax credits, always temporary, assist no idleness. Not only can wealthy investors benefit; middle class people like you and I, can too. In summer, leafy trees resistance stills ground-level air, leaving tower-tops windy. Though appearing implausible, most turbines aren't stopped. Sometimes any turbine slowly stops as wind wanders, bypassing it, leaving the rest turning Wind's variation, slow and predictable, permits warning time of shutdowns. For safety, and after warning grid operators, intentional total shutdown may occur while connecting new sections of a partially complete installation sharing a substation. Never, while operational, has an entire large wind farm, let alone our whole states deployment, been idled. As every generator always has, wind needs spinning reserve. It also provides some. Steam, hydro, and wind all need preventive maintenance, and can unexpectedly fail. Europe and Texas had recent blackouts; coincidentally deploying significant windpower. In our 1965 Northeast blackout, windpower was absent; our 2003 interruptions wind contribution was insignificant. Insufficient spinning-reserve, and/or too slow circuit-breaking did these. Enough wind deployment, appropriately sited, provides enough spinning-reserve. Wind turbine manufacture and installation is less polluting the cleaner the grid powering it. Pristine or not, wind is the cleanest energy known. Even at one percent of all our energy, growing wind usage has displaced some fossil-fuel use. It leaves landscape or communitys ruination only to unverifiable opinion; its left habitats unaffected. Winds facts withstand scrutiny. David E. Manwell Beekmantown

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