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Government more flexible with renewable energy

BY YOUR NAME Staff Writer Published: December 14, 2013

Regarding “U.S. to allow eagle deaths to aid wind-power industry” (Associated Press, Dec. 7): The news that the federal government, which claims to be protective of scarce species, has given the wind industry license to kill bald and golden eagles for 30 years is disheartening. The government is hypocritical when it's entirely inflexible concerning any kind of fossil fuel energy systems, but criminally tolerant when it concerns renewable energy. The government is allowing the wind industry the excuse that they should be allowed to continue the bird slaughter until the end of life of existing or planned wind generators, when end of life isn't considered when it's about existing coal plants.

It's also frustrating when there are sound engineering solutions to the problem. Switching the wind turbines from the horizontal axis generators with huge propellers to vertical axis drum type generators would eliminate the bird hazard. Horizontal axis machines have become the chosen equipment for the industry on the basis that they're more efficient than the vertical axis machines, but that's only on an individual generator level. Vertical axis machines can be placed closer together than horizontal axis machines, and can generate more power per acre — at roughly a five-to-one ratio.

Vertical axis machines also have the generator machinery closer to ground level, making maintenance and repair safer and easier. The wind speed capabilities of vertical axis machines are effective over a wider range, able to start at lower wind speed, and tolerate higher wind speed more easily.

Charles P. “Pat” Kelley, Oklahoma City

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