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Off the Editor’s Desk – 2-18-2015


We recently published a story by Robert Romano about the federal government not extending the wind production tax credit. That credit expired at the first of this year, and an amendment by a South Dakota Senator to extend it was defeated by the senate.

This may bring joy to the residents in the St. Croix County Township of Forest who are opposed to having those turbines in their backyard. They have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on attorneys and expert witness fees in an attempt to keep the wind farm out of the township.

A firm has apparently received state approval to construct forty plus, five hundred-foot tall wind turbines in Forest. The town board that approved the turbines was kicked out of office in a recall election and the new board tried to hault the progress, but the wind firm sought state approval.

At stake was the 2.3 cents per-kilowatt-hour tax credit for electricity generated by turbines that were constructed before January 1, 2015.

In my mind that alone may put a stop to construction of the wind mills in Forest or other sites in the country.

But, wait a minute, I have written before about the president blaming fossil fueled power plants as creating global warming, something that I think is not happening. The president, by executive order, has already shut down several old coal burning power plants and is looking to attack others. The government has spent millions if not billions on the attempt to create energy from solar, wind and other renewable resources, all of which carry a very big price tag.

If the president gets his way, we will need that wind and solar to make up what is lost by the closing of the fossil fuel plants. Getting off the coal or gas burning power plans will raise the cost of electricity and we will have that to tend with.

But, I should not forget about the nuclear power plants, which generate 20 percent of our needs in the United States. But the bad news is that of the 100 reactors in use, all were built before 1977. Four old ones were closed in 2013 and at present five are under construction. Of those 100 reactors, 65 are pressurized water reactors and the other 35 are boiling water reactors. The pressurized water reactors are the safest, I believe.

However, there is danger in nuclear. Remember Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and the recent accident in Japan. But, for generating power, it makes the other forms look like lightweights. According to Wikipedia, one ton of natural uranium will produce as much electric as 16,000 tons of coal or 80,000 barrels of oil.

Thanks for reading! — Carlton