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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

March 29, 2009 at 10:52 AM

Klickitat wind farms

A too-optimistic assessment

The article on the Klickitat County wind farms [“Wind farms generating jobs,” Local News, March 23] gives readers a far-too-optimistic impression of what these wind farms will actually do.

It said that they will “have the capacity to produce 2,661 megawatts, enough to power potentially more than 1 million homes.”

Perhaps. But over time, because wind plant capacity factors seldom exceed 30 percent, their average production will be only about 800 megawatts — a valuable contribution to be sure, but much less than readers of that article might infer.

How much electricity (in megawatt or kilowatt hours per year) the various kinds of generators will actually produce is far more important than how much they can produce when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining.

— Clark B. McKee, Anacortes

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