Industrial Wind: The Great American S-WIND-LE: Not Clean, Not Green, Not Free!
~ Industrial Wind turbines are being sold under the pretense that they will significantly reduce CO2 emissions, and thereby help avoid Global Warming. Yet, 30 years into subsidizing the building of wind factories off the backs of taxpayers and ratepayers has proven otherwise.
~ Due to the unreliable, erratic, and volatile nature of wind, industrial wind turbines provide virtually NO Capacity Value, or firm capacity (specified amounts of power on demand). Therefore, wind needs constant “shadow capacity” from our reliable, dispatchable generators – that is, if you want to be sure the lights will come on when you flick the switch. Thus, as Big Wind CEO, Patrick Jenevein candidly admitted, “Consumers end up paying twice for the same product.”
~ With approximately 250,000 industrial wind turbines installed worldwide today (45,100 turbines totaling over 60GW of installed wind projects in the USA, according to AWEA), CO2 emissions have NOT been significantly reduced, nor has a single conventional power plant been decommissioned anywhere thanks to industrial wind. As energy analyst Robert Bryce aptly stated, “Wind Turbines Are Climate-Change Scarecrows.”
~ Energy analyst, Glenn Schleede, ran the numbers, and figured that just ONE (1) 450 MW gas-fired Combined Cycle Generating Unit, operating at a 60% Capacity Factor, located at New York City (where the power is needed in New York State), would provide more power than all of New York State’s installed wind factories combined, at 1/4 of the capital costs — and would have significantly reduced CO2 emissions and created far more jobs than all those wind farms – without all the added costs (economic, environmental, and civil), and of all the additional transmission lines that must be run across the state to New York City.
~ Wind, paired with natural gas (the most flexible generating system), can offset a mere fraction more CO2 emissions than could be achieved with the gas unit alone – without any wind at all. Wind represents redundant generation, although it would generate capital costs more than triple the cost of the gas unit.
~ The center-left Brookings Institute reports that “Wind and Solar are the Worst” way to reduce CO2.
~ Wind can neither be a functional alternative, nor additive energy source. Wind energy is so diffuse that no machine can convert it to modern power. (See: Understanding E = mc2)
~ Industrial wind supplies electricity, and therefore, has nothing to do with our “foreign oil dependence” created by gasoline and diesel fuel needs. Less than 1% of our nationwide electricity generation comes from oil.
~ In many low-wind areas of the country (ie: New York State), Industrial Wind Turbines do NOT produce enough power to pay for themselves over their very short, 5 – 13 year lifespans.
~ The average output of many wind factories is less than 25% – many days, providing nothing at all.
~ Studies from those long-invested in wind power in Spain and elsewhere have shown that 2 – 4 jobs are LOST in the rest of the economy, in large part due to the associated “necessarily skyrocketing” electricity rates President Obama forewarned would accompany his ‘green’ energy policy. Lawmakers who support wind welfare programs are in effect complicit in the president’s plan.
~ Consider GE’s Shepard’s Flat Wind Factory, at which each ‘job created’ was shown to cost taxpayers $16.3 MILLION – exorbitantly expensive jobs for a product which is neither “reliable,” nor “efficient” – two professed requirements of the “sustainability” movement.
~ In Wisconsin, the negative health effects associated with living too close to industrial wind factories have caused many people to actually abandon their homes, leading the Wisconsin Board of Health to declare Duke Energy’s wind turbines a “Human Health Hazard.”
~ New York State officials admitted they knew ‘infrasound’ from wind turbines was a problem worldwide at the 2009 NYSERDA meeting specific to wind, yet 6 years later NYS officials still have NOT called for any independent studies to assure the protection of New York State citizens from its ill-effects. Excerpts from that meeting:
Former Noise Control Engineer for the New York State Public Service Commission, Dr. Dan Driscoll, testified that “infrasound” (sounds below 20 Hz) are the sounds you can’t hear, but that the body can feel. He said ‘Infrasound’ is NOT blocked by walls of residences, and it can very negatively affect the human body – especially after prolonged, continuous exposure. He said symptoms include headache, nausea, sleeplessness, dizziness, ringing in the ears, etc.
NYS Dept of Health official, Dr. Jan Storm, reported that they know infrasound associated with wind turbines is a problem worldwide, but that they hadn’t done any studies on it in NYS yet (even though they were/are continuing to plaster the state with them), and that there was money available via the Stimulus.
~ 4,000 – 6,000 pounds of rare earth elements are required per turbine, producing disastrous ecological results in China, where the rare earth elements are being mined.
~ All things considered, including demand levels and import/exports – the more wind installations we add, the more we must add fossil-fueled generation.
~ The TRUTH: Wind generation locks us into dependence on fossil fuels.
~ Adding wind as a supplement to our conventional generating system requires so much supplementation that in many areas of the country, adding wind actually causes increased CO2 emissions in the production of electricity than would be the case with no wind at all. Iowa exemplifies this — As Iowa’s installed wind capacity has increased over recent years, so has their coal use and CO2 emissions.
~ Studies have shown that MILLIONS of birds and bats are being killed every year by these giant “Cuisinarts of the air,” as a Sierra official dubbed industrial wind turbines in a moment of candor.
~ President Obama recently gave industrial wind developers a 30 year free pass to slaughter eagles without penalty, while all other energy sources are fined tens of thousands of dollars and more per bird death.
~ The Habitat Fragmentation caused by the massive, sprawling footprints of industrial wind factories is causing irreparable harm. Habitat Loss is sited as major cause of species decline.
~ Mathematically, it would take more than 3000 wind turbines rated at 2 MW each, spread over 800 kilometers (approximately 500 miles), to equal the energy from one 1600 MW coal or nuclear plant. But even after covering 500 sq miles with industrial wind turbines, it still would NOT replace the need for those conventional generating units since wind turbines produce no effective (or firm) capacity.
~ Industrial wind installations significantly interfere with both military and weather radar, severely compromising both homeland security and weather advisory systems that would otherwise serve to protect American citizens.
~ Big Wind Corporations looking to cut corners have been caught using old Bethlehem Steel brown-field slag as fill in access roads which run amongst croplands in western NY.
~ Wind technology has proven to be effective only as a tax shelter generator for large corporations in need of an increased bottom line – just as it was originally designed to do by ENRON, the trailblazer for industrial wind in the U.S.
~ Two of the largest wind holding corporations – GE and Florida Power & Light – have paid NO federal income taxes in the U.S. in years, in large measure because of their “investment” in wind.
~ Critics and supporters agree – Wind turbines are ugly! Billionaire Texas gas and oilman, T. Boone Pickens, was a strong proponent of building a wind energy facility with over 2000 wind turbines in the central United States. Fast Company magazine interviewed Pickens about it.
Fast Company: “And you’ll do all this on your beautiful 68,000-acre ranch?”
Pickens: “I’m not going to have the windmills on my ranch. They’re ugly. The hub of each turbine is up 280 feet, and then you have a 120-foot radius on the blade. It’s the size of a 40-story building.” (Note: Turbines being proposed today in rural-residential areas are MUCH bigger – as high as 600 feet, with blades weighing over 11 TONS each.)
~ Personal health and property value losses by those who end up stuck living within the massive footprints of industrial wind factories ARE significant and growing world-wide, yet are being ignored by most of the media, ‘green’ enthusiasts, and over 80% of the U.S. population who live within big city limits and are oblivious to the detrimental effects being wrought on rural America thanks to the ‘green’ “Emperor Who Wore No Clothes.”
~ Suggesting proper ‘siting guidelines’ for wind factories is akin to suggesting building larger closets for the “Emperor With No Clothes.”
~ Let’s be real – Would you buy and move YOUR family into a home surrounded by 400 – 600+ foot tall industrial wind turbines, with their 164 foot-long, 11-TON, bird-chopping blades spinning overhead – only hundreds of feet from YOUR home on all sides? I have yet to meet anyone who would.
~ Studies have shown, and any realtor worth his oats will tell you, there are significant property value losses (10% – 25% and more), depending on the proximity to the wind turbines. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! Could you and your family afford to take that kind of loss on YOUR home?
~ Why would anyone in their right mind support imposing this torture on their fellow Americans??? It is shameful, criminal, and un-American! These peoples’ most expensive life investments – their homes, have been rendered virtually worthless.
~ Would you take your family to vacation amongst the footprint of industrial wind factories? Neither would most anyone else – which ruins the tourism trade many scenic rural areas across rural America depend on, especially in this flailing economy. The only ones getting rich in this scenario are the multi-national wind developers. The rich are getting richer at the rest of our expense for a useless product.
~ Besides rendering these folks’ homes virtually worthless, the fact that American citizens are being assaulted with their own taxpayer and ratepayer dollars (which are subsidizing the building of these wind factories to the tune of 80% of the total costs), is blatant theft of both their money and their Constitutional private property rights. Again I say – It is shameful, criminal, and un-American!
~ Corporate cronies push the “All of the Above” nonsense, while what U.S. taxpayers and ratepayers really need is an “All of the Sensible” energy policy. Industrial Wind does NOT make the cut!
~ Robert Bryce: “Wind is one of the biggest scams of the modern age.”
Mary Kay Barton
Mary Kay Barton is a retired New York State-certified Health Educator, a Cornell-certified Master Gardener, a New York State small business owner, and a tireless advocate for scientifically-sound, affordable, and reliable electricity for all Americans. She has served over the past decade in local Water Quality organizations and enjoys gardening and birding in her National Wildlife Federation “Backyard Wildlife Habitat.”