Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Great American Wind Power Fraud


By Alan Caruba

In July the Fairhaven, Massachusetts Board of Health voted to shut down the town’s two wind turbines at night between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. after dozens of residents had filed more than 400 complaints. Testing had demonstrated that the turbines exceeded state noise regulations and those specified in their operating permits.

In July the Heartland Institute’s Environmental & Climate News reported on the announcement by Nordex USA, a manufacturer of wind turbines that had accepted millions of dollars in subsidies while promising to create 750 jobs that it had shut down its Jonesboro facility. In 2008, Gov. Mike Beebe (D) had given Nordex $8 million from the Governor’s Quick-Action Closing Fund and the Arkansas Development Finance Authority had given Nordex another $11 million. The decision, said the company, was its uncertainty about receiving federal subsidies. At the time, only fifty people were employed there.

In early October, the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Healthcare, and Entitlements held a hearing on the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC). The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) was there to argue for an extension of the subsidy. According to lobbying disclosures, in 2012 the AWEA had spent more than $2.4 million to protect the subsidy which was set to expire, but which received a one-year extension as part of the deal struck to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”

Arguing that wind energy is an important element of the mix of energy provided by coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric facilities, the facts are that in 2012 coal accounted for 37 percent of total generation, natural gas represented 30 percent, and nuclear contributed 19 percent. Wind power accounted for just 1.4 percent of U.S. energy consumption in 2012 and only 3.5 percent of the nation’s electricity generation.

Since the PTC was first enacted two decades ago, it has cost taxpayers $20 billion dollars.

One of the primary arguments for wind energy is that it is “renewable” and does not contribute to the so-called "greenhouse gas emissions" that are the cause of a “global warming.” However, the latest warming cycle ended some fifteen years ago. Not one student in our nation’s schools has ever experienced “global warming.”

Wind energy is “green” say its supporters, but it is hardly “green” to kill an estimated 573,000 birds every year, including 83,000 birds of prey according to a study published in the March edition of the Wildlife Society Bulletin. It also kills countless bats, a species that reduces the vast number of insect pests that prey on crops and transmit diseases.

A permit is being sought by the Shiloh IV Wind Project in Solano County, California, that would grant it the right to kill up to five golden eagles over a five-year period despite their protected status under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

So wind energy is justified as reducing greenhouse gases that are not causing global warming which does not exist, is receiving millions in subsidies, and wants to kill protected species, an environmental objective. This is hypocrisy on a galactic scale.

Testifying before the congressional committee, Dr. Robert Michaels, a senior fellow of the Institute for Energy Research, noted that the subsidy which was supposed to end by now has been renewed five times. The wind industry is essentially non-competitive when it comes to energy generation from traditional sources and has also been around long enough to amply demonstrate that. In a market economy, such industries are allowed to fail.

The wind industry, however, doesn’t even need to be competitive because utilities in some thirty states are required by law to include it in their “renewable portfolio standards” that set quotes for its use. This mandate is expected to see the installation of more than 100,000 renewable megawatts over the next twenty years and wind, said Dr. Michaels, and “seems certain to get the lion’s share.”

Adding to the idiocy of wind energy is the need for such production facilities to have a back-up from traditional coal, natural gas, and nuclear facilities because wind is not available with any predictability. The consumer not only pays for the electricity these facilities provide to ensure that they will always have electricity, but pays in the form of the subsidies the wind industry continues to receive.

There is no need for renewable energy mandates. Both wind and solar are unreliable sources of energy and produce so little as to lack any justification for their existence.

The wind industry exists because it spends millions annually to convince legislators that it should not only be subsidized and because many states require its use. Take away the interference of government entities and the industry would have no real basis to exist. It is a fraud.

© Alan Caruba, 2013


  1. very nice post
    two thumb up for you ^___^

  2. Yeah.. Good post , I agree.

    Here some aspects of the so called "successful transformation to durable energy" in Europe.
    Wind and solar are fluctuating sources and they cause the deterioration of the conversion efficiency( from fuel to power). There is need of SUPPLY load following of fossil plants, like the situation is in Germany and the Netherlands even at low contribution of wind and solar to the total electric energy produced for the national grids. Only hydro and fluctuating "renewables" is a good combination, as the energy stock in the form of water-basins for storing energy can be used to compensate for high efficient compensation of the fluctuations (but not limitless!). High conversion efficiency electric power generators cannot run in a very fluctuating power supply/demand environment, so base-load is substituted with mainly "fast starting low efficincy simple" gas plants. Germany makes 12% of its electric power from wind+solar. But by doing so it lowered the conversion efficiency that could have been like 50% and more to around 43% NOW ,and dropping. So what you save in windmills and solar by not using fuel, is lost for the biggest part with extra fuel-consumption in compensating power-plants. That problem becomes worse with rising fraction of fluctuating power sources in the power-production mix. Everybody knows that a fluctuating grid needs a storage system.. There is no outlook for an economic solution for that..12% "solar and wind" does not mean 12% fossil fuel saved.. Actually it is near ZERO. That is the price for fluctuation in production..Only a limited number of fluctuating capacity, can be put into a grid without influencing it.
    Germany is CLOSING down baseload power-plants (60% efficient) and is BUILDING fast start gas power-plants (33%) at huge extra cost and capital destruction in destruction of the nuclear plants and relative young baseload capacity.
    Here an example the high efficiency block is going te be closed down
    in Irsching PP-


  3. The huge sea-based wind-turbines use lots of basic materials in their creation .. Like 3500 tons of concrete and steel for the foundation and mast for a 5MWp (peak) wind-turbine. That is very inefficient use of basic materials . Their energy use is like 8-15 times that for equivalent rated nuclear power, even disregarding the fluctuating aspect of the product renewables make and the short lifespan of windturbines and solar panels compared to nuclear. If lifespan of 1 turnine ifesaon would be in the equation (no re- usage of foundations, mast and upperpart of turbines) , it becomes 22-60 times more basic materials intensive in resources like steel and concrete . These numbers are obtained by comparing an EPR reactor and existing windparks near Belgium in the Northsea) ..

    Windmills are feeble.. Winter-storms and floating ice-walls on sea can destroy a big part of the power-system at sea. Imagine when Germany would rely for 60% for its electric energy from the Northsea based windmills and half of it would be lost?
    In the winter the German solar production is just a fraction of the total need. Only in summer there is ample power from solar.
    Nobody looks at that problem.
    Even conventional military conflict like war can take out the power of Germany in a simple way with low tech military means against windmill infrastructure as cables, relay-stations and windmills themselves even mines against maintenance vessels . No military planner looked at this aspect.There is naivety al around. That system on sea, is unprotectable.
    Germany is over relying on gas from Russia. The heartland of European industrial production can be blackmailed with power cutoff. Renewables will always use backup from fossil plants mainly gas. So Germany that was reasonably safe with nuclear power in the context of electric capacity like once 45% will be always in danger in a crisis. Any country that does the same, will suffer the same consequences. Japan tries to repeat the same errors in Germany. Do not forget that once these countries went to war in WW2 to accomplish energy and raw materials supply security.

  4. A 1 hour total black-out in Germany (that could populse itself into the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Denmark + part of France ) could make damages of around 600 million Euro for the FIRST hour in in Germany alone! Grid operators have now a daily average of 3 events (quickly rising) to have necessary startop of emergency generation and power import at huge cost. Some emergency statiticans calcualte that total blackouts could cost considarable loss of life. Germany is closing its nuclear PP's in the hope it saves some life based on theoretic not widely accepted radiiation risk theory. The risk of total blackout becomes a certainty, not "IF" but "WHEN". It depends on meteorological conditions, a freak incident like a link-cut, or shortage of natural gas and becomes more and more likely with rising proportion of fluctuating "renewables"..A "worstcase scenario", with people freezing to death in a weeklong superwinter without electricity generation available, could cost tens of thousanths of casualties in a 80% renewable Germany. The chance is not in the one milionth like with of a nuclear incident . It is foreseeable and a reasonable PERCENTAGE. Small iceage alike periods (Maunder) have occured and will occur again. Renewable is unlikely to survive something like that.

    (Read these German articles with Google translate. They are worth it !)

    Green parties lied about the cost of "renewable transition": the cost is HUGE They proposed it like :"barely noticeable". (like the "one portion of ice-cream per month for a family" remark by ex minister Juergen Trittin). In Germany there are hundredths of thousandths of consumers that cannot pay the electricity bill and are cutoff from the service. Powerprice in Berlin is like 27 Euro.ct /kWH including taxes .The price is mainly borne by small consumers (which is illegal by GATT and European trading law, but it prevented a direct collapse of industry under electricity cost) Extreme rising electricity prices are to be expected for the general industry, making Germany in the future uncompetitive for industrial production.

    1 Until now "renewable" did not save fossil fuel , it just makes the impression it does so, in the eyes of the average "energy amateur" because of the lack of insight in netstability in electricitygrids and overseeing the total picture . THe way energy statistics are compiled in Germany hides a most side effects.
    2. Life risk in largescale accidents of nuclear power like Chernobyl and Fukoshima (zero radiation deaths) is substituted for economic catastrophe and meteorological catastrophe in superwinters or large windy storms that wipe away the generating capacity.
    3. Cost of these "renewables" is astronomic. Energy storage of fluctuating sources is prohibitive expensive. Capacity of wind at sea cost 15x more and solar panels under German solar conditions in Germany 50 times more then equivalent nuclear power in INVESTMENT. It will drive down living standards under "the expected value" for most civilians. It can lead to mortal social upheaval and crisis collapse of society with as consequence, dwindling life expectancy. Out of poverty!.