April 9 2014
One News Now: Limitations on wind energy? For one, there's a supply problem
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)
An expert on energy and environmental issues thinks wind energy is something that has promise in the future, but with a lot of problems that exist right now.
Jillian Melchior with the Independent Women's Forum says there is a supply problem with wind energy.
"Even the best wind farms only operate 45 percent of the time," she explains. "I think a more standard operation is one-third of the day or less, because it's entirely dependent on wind – and that's not something that you can harness or control or predict, necessarily. The other significant problem with it is storage."
Melchior adds that birds and bats have been killed by windmills, an issue she says "challenges the assumption that this is something that is good for the environment."
Nevertheless, Republicans and Democrats point to states like Iowa, where wind energy is providing more than 20 percent of that state's energy supply, with proponents saying it creates jobs and curbs emissions.
Still, Melchior says efforts in Iowa and beyond are propped up by things like the wind energy production tax credit, something Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) just recently managed to bring back for a package of tax extenders from the Senate Finance Committee.
OneNewsNow also asked Melchior about the argument by alternative energy proponents that the oil and gas industry gets tax breaks.
"I actually looked at the Energy Information Administration (EIA) numbers and they said that wind and solar energy require at least 20 times more in government subsidies per unit of electricity generated than the average for coal and natural gas," she replied. "You can flip that argument and say they're generating less, but they get a lot of money."
The IWF spokeswoman adds that it's important to note that the more traditional energy sources – such as natural gas and coal – can stand on their own "because they're meeting a real market demand."