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October 9, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 40


Letters to the editor

Wind power

Credit: Covestro
Covestro shows off a prototype polyurethane blade in front of its research center in Shanghai.
A long, white wind turbine blade is in front of a building.
Credit: Covestro
Covestro shows off a prototype polyurethane blade in front of its research center in Shanghai.

The initial statement that wind power is generating electricity in Europe in, what I assume, is the equivalent cost in U.S. dollars ($59 to $125 per MWh) sounds enticing (C&EN, July 24, page 20). Apparently, that is competitive, according to the European Commission.

In the U.S., that amount would not compete with anything. It is, in fact, two to five times the nominal cost of power from baseload units in the U.S. The competition in the electricity market is driving costs to $20 per MWh and below. Current market pressures from natural gas generation are driving many other fossil units as well as nuclear units into bankruptcy, or [they are] decommissioning. It is surprising that the anxiety over global warming gets pushed aside in this instance in the light of lower cost generation.

In the current U.S. market, neither solar nor wind can be considered baseload. Using bigger turbines, 80 meters versus 60, can produce as much as 9.5 MW, stated later in the article. Based on this, the sheer number of wind generators needed to equal a single, larger fossil or nuclear unit is still huge, well over 100.

The concept that bigger blading makes for a better electrical supply situation is at best optimistic. It may work for Europe, but in the U.S., it simply would not fly. Or generate competitively.

Bruce A. Luthanen
Perry, Ohio

From the web

Re: Chemistry poetry

A reader contributed poems of his own after reading about other chemistry-related poems.

Using both left brain and right
Mary Soon Lee used all of her might
Writing scientific haiku
On elements old and new
In verse that was both terse and tight

Stacy Daniels, an engineer at Dow
Wrote a poem on the merger right now
Using Dw for Dowium
And Dp for Dupontium
Made intermediate DwDp. Holy cow (Hc)

Andrew Roxburgh McGhie
Wilmington, Del.



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