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Mailbag: Wind Versus Dams

by Gary Hartman
Democrat Herald, December 27, 2011

After reading Tom Means' account on wind power as "the future" (Mailbag, Dec. 19) I need to comment.

Wind power is fine as long as it isn't used as an excuse to destroy other far more significant means of power.

Misguided environmental interests (even Governor Kulongoski) have subscribed for years to breaching the Snake River hydropower dams and substituting wind power in their place.

The huge wind farms in Northeast Oregon and Southeast Washington are their example. Original plans called for over 400 units to be built on the hills in the area.

Each of the four hydropower dams on the snake have several generating units; almost any TWO generators at one of those dams can produce as much power as that entire wind farm -- under perfect wind conditions.

Those dams provide 2,500 million watts of peaking power in critical times.

Dams are a form of very clean energy, and the Columbia and Snake dams also have additional purposes. They provide irrigation to the farmlands and barge traffic clear into Idaho.

The daily barge traffic is about equal to over 1,000 semi-trucks on I-84. Can you imagine that increase in trucking if there were no dams?

And on occasion they have likely prevented flooding in Portland. All you need to do is remember back to 1996.

Further, many of those wind generators are not even built in the U.S. They are foreign made with no benefit to American jobs, in fact often shipped up via Mexico to avoid being delivered to U.S. ports.

Before we jump onto wind energy as if it were a glowing answer to power needs, we need to take a careful look at reality.

Gary Hartman, Lebanon
Mailbag: Wind Versus Dams
Democrat Herald, December 27, 2011

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