First, let me say up front that I hate the sight of ‘wind farms’, so I’m definitely biased.
That said, here are some ‘facts’ about wind power:
- Electricity from wind cost substantially more than electricity from ‘conventional’ sources. Up to 3 times as expensive.
- Wind is not available when most needed. In 2012, a series of 100-degree days in Chicago put the area’s grid to the test. At one point, the power companies of the area were producing an incredible 22,000 megawatt hours of power. Wind, which generally produces less than 10 percent of its capacity during peak demand times, produced just 0.2 percent during this particular heat wave. “A 99.8 percent failure rate,” Brown deadpanned. Unfortunately the need is highest on really hot days and the wind blows most dependably at night.
- Misguided states require a portion of the electric supply to come from ‘renewable’ sources. The wind energy industry has been very active and thus make up the bulk of those ‘renewable’ sources. At a huge cost to users.
- The bulk of government subsidies for ‘renewable’ energy has gone to wind. The wind industry consumes nearly 80 percent of all federal subsidy dollars for renewable energy and 55 percent of all federal energy subsidies, according to David Brown, senior vice president for government affairs for Exelon, a nuclear power company. From 2009 to 2012, when the Wind Production Tax Credit was in full force and a program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was dispensing handsome cash incentives to companies to build wind farms, wind power added 30,000 megawatt hours, more than doubling U.S. capacity. In 2013, with the cash program dead and the PTC on the way out, it grew all of 1.6 megawatts.
- The American wind industry was built on the backs of the people of Baotou, China, too. There, a series of government-operated plants process the rare earth metals used to produce neodymium, which is used to make the powerful magnets in wind turbines. In an area where waves of wheat and corn used to thrive now sits an “immense lake of bubbling toxic waste covered in black dust,” according to the Daily Mail of London.
- Jim Weigand, who studies avian mortality from wind energy, says turbines kill as many as 39 million birds per year and the industry hides 90 percent of the problem. Where are the environmentalists?
Thankfully the growth of wind seems to have slowed. I wonder how many turbines will die a slow death of neglect when it becomes apparent that they can’t sustain their maintenance costs without significant government subsidies.
These eye sores should be removed from our landscape, not because they damage the view, but because they are not economical and not truly ‘green’.