E-mail this article to
yourself or a friend.
Enter address:


More thoughts on power industry

Dear Editor:

Reading Sally Herrin's article (Powers of power blow against farmer friendly alternative energy; http://www.cropchoice.com/leadstry.asp?recid=645) brings up some thoughts from my days working with public utilities. Public utilities in the Midwest do not want to see deregulation, private power, or alternative energy.

Development of alternatives, especially wind power, are such a contrast to the nasty and inefficient vintage coal fired plants. The per kW hour costs for wind energy would soon show that the customers have been paying higher rates because of a lack of competition in the wholesale power markets in the Midwest. The power industry is not much different than agriculture when it comes to vertical integration (monopolies) and profit placements.

Public utilities such as Nebraska Public Power District are the epitome of feather bedding with a workforce, paid by the rate payers, which is times larger than is necessary or efficient. NPPD also lacks in planning and contracting, spending millions of rate payers monies unnecessarily. Recent examples are exhibited by the retrofit work at of their coal fired units. Currently, NPPD is expanding into the natural gas market with combustion turbines which will be costly investments in the long run. The fuel efficiency of a simple cycle combustion turbine is one of the least efficient methods of generating electricity.

Any comparable independent power facility would have to operate with 1/5 overhead and support that NPPD uses to operate and maintain facilities. And the end user has already paid a portion of the operating costs in rail subsidies to keep the black gold rolling to the power plant Wind power is an excellent method of generating electricity especially in the Midwestern crop lands. Wind energy may help to keep some farmers on the farm in the business of farming!


RD Hopkins
Marionville, MO