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Why all the theory and generalization, Mr Science? Where are the data showing that 8% less fossil fuel is being burned in the Midwest because of wind?
@JohnGreenberg: Komanoff extrapolates from a few selectively interpreted theoretical statements. He does not use data of actual fossil fuel use.
As to wind's carbon emissions, they also continue, with maintenance, oil and coolant changes, parts replacement, groundskeeping, etc. No, it's nowhere near as bad as nuclear, but it doesn't take much to weigh against wind's negligible – even in theory – benefit.
None of the reports cited by JohnGreenberg actually look at fossil fuel use. They look only at electricity generated by fossil fuels or, at best, fossil fuel use only while generating electricity. They completely avoid the question of fossil fuel burned in plants while they're not generating electricity.
The rest of the reply is just silly. Of course nuclear power involves carbon emissions. So does wind. And of course, hydro is most likely to be displaced by wind only where there is hydro. The rest of the comments about hydro seem not to consider the fact that water can go through a dam without being used to generate electricity.
As JohnGreenberg notes, a relatively small amount of wind on the grid enjoys the backup that's already built in to the system. That's the main reason wind has so little, if any effect, on carbon emissions. In every place where wind represents a more significant percentage of generation, large interconnectors to other grids are required to essentially bring that percentage down again. The comment seems further confused: nuclear (which does not emit carbon) is always on, and natural gas plants emit more carbon when forced to frequently ramp in response to wind's variable production. And hydro, the most likely source to be ramped in response to wind, is already carbon free. The simple fact is that actual data do not show meaningfully less fossil fuel being burned per unit of electricity on the system because of wind. That makes industrial-scale wind hard to justify anywhere, and most certainly on ecologically sensitive and spiritually valued ridgelines.
@robertfarnham: Since Annette Smith lives off grid, she can hardly be called "anti-renewables". She is against erecting giant wind turbines heedless of their impact on the environment and communities. She is also aware of their sorely lacking effect on climate change.