Table of Contents
- Wind Farms Severely Harmful to Wildlife, New Study Finds
- Wind power not the perfect answer
- The Natural Right of Private Property: The Proper Use of Eminent Domain
- Why Property Rights Matter
- Global Wind Scam Day
- What’s the True Cost of Wind Power?
- It’s time for wind power to stand or fall on its own
- Wind Farms: Tax Payer Money To The Wind
- Government Is Just ‘Breaking Wind’ On Alternative Energy
Wind Farms Severely Harmful to Wildlife, New Study Finds
A new study from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, combining an impressive six hundred other studies, describes the severe effects wind turbines can have on wildlife. Not only are the disturbances and noise of the building of turbines an issue but also the sound of the windmills rotating and electromagnetic fields (EMF) caused by transferring the electricity produced to the mainland.
At the construction phase, for example, “extreme noise from pile-driving” is observed to cause “significant avoidance behaviour in marine mammals” and “highly likely to cause mortality and tissue damage in fish.”
On the noise of the blades there was “avoidance of the offshore wind farm (OWF) area by harbour porpoise, and possibly a habituation over time.”
EMF affects “cartilaginous fish, which use electromagnetic signals in detecting prey” and EMF could also disturb fish migration patterns.”
The OWF “may also alter local biodiversity patterns and lead to undesired effects.”
Onshore wind farms also have severe effects on animals and birds. A paper published in 2013 from Poland looked at domestic geese (Anser anser f domestica) bred 50m from a wind turbine against 500m for the control group.
After twelve weeks monitoring noise levels and the stress measuring cortisol levels the researchers concluded: “Lower activity and some disturbing changes in behavior of animals from group I (50m) were noted.
“Results of the study suggest a negative effect of the immediate vicinity of a wind turbine on the stress parameters of geese and their productivity.”
In Portugal a study also found that foals born near wind turbines developed Equine Flexural Limb Deformities.
Biologist Dr. Lynne Knuth, in a letter to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, testified: “The problems with animal reproduction reported in the wind farms in Wisconsin are lack of egg production, problems calving, spontaneous abortion (embryonic mortality), stillbirth, miscarriage and teratogenic effects:
In chickens: Crossed beaks, missing eyeballs, deformities of the skull (sunken eyes), joints of feet/legs bent at odd angles. In cattle: missing eyes and tails.”
While these effects seem to occur in the immediate vicinity of a wind turbine they are hugely important to humans. It has long been reported that those living near wind farms suffer from ill health. Sleep deprivation, headaches, tinnitus, balance problems, motivational difficulties and depression are just some of the alleged effects.
Wind farms continue to be a controversial subject both on and offshore. Not only is the power in need of government subsidies, the comparative cost of producing a Megawatt (MWh) of power ranges from £60 to £65 for coal and gas through to £90 to £150 respectively for onshore and offshore wind farms. Certainly in the UK there is increasing resistance from the population, being the proverbial blot on the landscape.
Many wind farm proponents point to psychogenesis and its subset psychsomaticism, where the person has the real symptoms but they are psychological induced, rather than physically induced. One has to say with animals it is highly unlikely.
When the West Country band The Wurzels release a new record bemoaning wind farms, resistance has to be taken seriously.
This article was originally posted by David Atherton on breitbart.com
Wind power not the perfect answer
Urban voters may like the idea of using more wind and solar energy, but the push for large-scale renewables is creating land-use conflicts in rural regions from Maryland to California and Ontario to Loch Ness.
Since 2015, more than 120 government entities in about two dozen states have moved to reject or restrict the land-devouring, subsidy-fueled sprawl of the wind industry. The backlash continued last month when a judge in Maryland ruled that the possible benefits of a proposed 17-turbine project did ‘not justify or offset subjecting the local community to the adverse impacts that will result from the wind project’s construction and operation.’ The judge’s ruling probably spells the end of an eight-year battle that pitted local homeowners and Allegany County against the developer of the 60-megawatt project.
Objections to the encroachment of wind energy installations don’t fit the environmentalists’ narrative. The backlash undermines the claim – often repeated by climate activists such as 350.org founder Bill McKibben and Stanford engineering professor Mark Jacobson – that we can run our entire economy on nothing but energy from the wind and sun. Many of those same activists routinely demonize natural gas and hydraulic fracturing even though the physical footprint of gas production is far smaller than that of wind. Three years ago, the late David J.C. MacKay, then a professor at the University of Cambridge, calculated that wind energy requires about 700 times more land to produce the same amount of energy as a fracking site. Rural residents are objecting to wind projects to protect their property values and viewsheds.They don’t want to see the red-blinking lights atop the turbines, a! ll night, every night for the rest of their lives. Nor do they! want to be subjected to the audible and inaudible noise the turbines produce. Even in California, which has mandated that 50 percent of the electricity sold in the state be produced from renewable energy sources by 2030, there is resistance to wind power.
In 2015, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban wind turbines in LA’s unincorporated areas. At the hearing on the measure, then-Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said the skyscraper- sized turbines ‘create visual blight … (and) contradict the county’s rural dark skies ordinance.’ In New York, angry fishermen are suing to stop an offshore wind project that could be built in the heart of one of the best squid fisheries on the Eastern Seaboard. As in California, New York has a ’50 by 30′ renewable- energy mandate. Outside the U.S., about 90 towns in Ontario have declared themselves ‘unwilling hosts’ to wind projects. I! n April 2016, a wind project near Scotland’s famous Loch Ness was rejected by local authorities because of its potential negative effect on tourism. Poland and the German state of Bavaria have effectively banned wind turbines by implementing a rule that allows turbines to be located no closer than 10 times their height to homes or other sensitive areas. The defeat of the Maryland wind project came as a relief to K. Darlene Park, a resident of Frostburg and the president of Allegany Neighbors & Citizens for Home Owners Rights. ‘We were up against an army of suits,’ she told me. ‘It’s like a brick has been taken off our shoulders.’ Park’s tiny group relied on volunteers and a budget of about $20,000 as it fought the turbines all the way to the state’s public service commission. Neither the communications director nor the CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, which spends more than $20 million per year promoting wind power, would comment on the rural opposition t! o wind turbines. Their refusal isn’t surprising. If the wind lobby acknowledges negative effects on landscapes and quality of life, it would subvert their claims that wind energy is truly green. Just as problematic for the industry’s future: to increase wind-energy production to the levels needed to displace significant quantities of coal, oil and natural gas will require erecting more and taller – turbines. But the more turbines that get installed, and the taller they are, the more nearby residents are likely to object. Wind energy simply requires too much territory. That means we can’t rely on it for major cuts in emissions. Indeed, the more wind energy encroaches on small towns and suburbs, the more resistance it will face. That resistance will come from homeowners like Park who told me, ‘We feel this renewable energy push is an attack on rural America.’
Robert Bryce is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author, most recently, of ‘Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper! : How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong.’ He wrote this for the Los Angeles Times.
The Natural Right of Private Property: The Proper Use of Eminent Domain
Sep 21, 2015
He slammed his fist on the table in frustration and anger as he told the story of losing his house and business to eminent domain. His wife was startled as the dishes bounced on the jostled table and tears welled up. They felt violated, robbed, abandoned and fearful. “How can this happen in America?” they asked themselves in a daze of disbelief.
Last week’s Language of Liberty article was about eminent domain. A practice that is all too often abused by all levels of government. However, eminent domain does have a proper use under the Constitution.
As an educational organization, the Center for Self Governance seeks to teach citizens not only how to recognize government abuses, but to identify solutions and the proper boundaries of governmental jurisdictions.
The kitchen table story above has occurred over and over again as tens of thousands of citizens have had their homes and businesses condemned or seized, and handed over to private developers. With the taking of their property, they have also lost a portion of their lives and
liberty; the life and liberty spent to obtain the property in their “pursuit of happiness”. If, as an individual, any one of us took property from our neighbor and gave to another neighbor, we would be tried for theft and incarcerated. If our entire neighborhood voted to take a neighbor’s property and give it to another, the thieves would also pay the same penalty. We do not have the right to individually or collectively take from one individual to give to another. If we are to operate under the premise that government derives its authority from the people, the government does not have the right to take from one to give to another. We cannot give that which we do not own. This is blatant theft. Of course, it is not legal, regardless of what the courts say.
The abuse of eminent domain violates fundamental natural law, alienates from the unalienable right to property, and creates an environment in which the two citizens or entities do not have equal protection under the law.
The protection of these three principles: natural law, unalienable rights, and equal protection, are all above the opinion of any court and are why governments are instituted in the first place. The created can never overrule the principles of its’ creation. In this case, the creator being We the People.
Amendment V of the Constitution states that no individual shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” The individual must be in violation of law and must be afforded a trial before that property can be taken.
If a city condemns a property and seizes it, calling it due process, does that same logic hold true to a life as well? Can government administratively take a life? If government can violate one natural right, it opens the door to violate all the others.
The Constitution continues, “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” There is no constitutional authority to take property for anything other than public use, such as roads. Under that one and only condition, just compensation must be made. If the property is sold or given to a private entity, it is not a proper use of eminent domain. In the 2005 Kelo v New London ruling the Supreme Court said that taking from one private citizen and giving to another under the guise of “economic development” is “public use.” No
property is safe with this logic. Following the court’s thinking, any home can be taken to build a bigger one or any business can be taken in favor of another business, at a bureaucrat’s whim. Thankfully, more than 40 states rushed to pass strong eminent domain restrictions in the wake of the Kelo decision.
We are a nation of laws, not the whims of men.
Our form of government is specifically designed to protect individual rights, but these rights will be protected only if We the People enforce the boundaries that our Constitution has drawn around government.
This article was originally posted by Bill Norton on FreedomOutpost.com
Why Property Rights Matter
Sep 12, 2015
John Adams said,
The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God … anarchy and tyranny commence. Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist.
I am not a politician or public figure. I am one of many Americans whose property is under assault by government. I am a student of self-governance living in New Jersey. My state and local governments make a habit of redistributing private property among the private parties it chooses. This is absolutely forbidden by the U.S. Constitution. If it can happen here in my state, it can happen anywhere in America.
As attorney, Jennifer Kruckeberg, writes: “Corporations . . . are proposing the following assignment: ‘Find me your most prominent location, get rid of what is on it, help me pay for it, and maybe you will be lucky enough to have me move to your city.’”
To clear out areas for big business, local governments force mom and pop businesses to leave. Multimillion-dollar companies establish close relationships with government officials in communities across the nation where they squeeze out, come hell or high water, any opposition.
Court rulings disregard constitutional protections of private property in the “takings clause” and play a big part in the abuses of property rights. They also disregard the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits denying any person equal application of law.
Say, for example, a big box store wants to build in your town. But they want your property to do it. What chance do you have against a huge corporation?
Sensibilities for justice are thrown out the window. If the local government wants the corporation’s presence in their town bad enough, they will not follow the rule of law. They will obscure important facts concerning the matter. The property owner then seeks protection of property rights from the courts, which then orders the matter back to the same local government for a hearing.
Sometimes this process can take years. How can a rehearing give a property owner opportunity to present objections after the big box store has been fully built and operational for over 10 years?
The property owner is the only one in this scenario who follows what they think is the proper course of action according to law. They realize too late that the entire project had been rigged in favor of the big box store from the beginning.
Was there anything positive that came from the process of defending private property rights? Yes!
A clearer understanding of the inner-workings of government was gleaned. Valuable information was gathered. A few elected officials clearly revealed themselves as opponents of liberty. Eventually, they must face the voters during the next election cycle. The people will be informed of the officials who violated the constitution, their oath of office, and failed to act as representatives of the people. Citizen involvement will be rallied, just as our founders intended.
Additionally, in the process of verbalizing this story, the ability to articulate a message to fellow citizens was sharpened. Writing articles such as this one has increased public awareness about property rights and why they are so important to our freedom. Perhaps other Americans will be inspired to take action when they see property rights threatened.
Our Founders understood liberty meant one must have the freedom to keep what one earned through one’s own labor. American colonists felt it unjust to have the fruits of their work confiscated by a powerful dictatorial British government. What was wrong for individuals to do to one another was wrong for government to do to the people. The Founders devised a government to secure the people’s natural rights of property, not create a government that would take it away.
As James Madison said,
Government is instituted to protect property of every sort …. This being the end of government, that is not a just government,…nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has … is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest.
This article was originally posted by Dr. Sylvia Zika on FreedomOutpost.com
Global Wind Scam Day
Jun 15, 2015
Touting the power of wind and “the possibilities to reshape our energy systems, decarbonize our economies and boost job growth,” the Global Wind Day is coordinated worldwide by the European Wind Energy Association, the Global Wind Energy Council, and various national associations.
Solution Wind, a global awareness campaign is also publicizing the wind industry in advance of the COP21 (U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as “Paris 21”) climate negotiations in Paris, November 30-Decemmber 11, 2015.
The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change was one of the three documents produced in 1992 at the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. President George H.W. Bush signed the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate and U.N. Agenda 21 documents produced at this conference but refused to sign the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity document.
Having invested $100 billion in 2014, the wind lobby advertises wind energy as “mainstream and the fastest growing industrial sectors in the world.” Activities to convince the general public that wind energy is harmless include “family outings, wind farm visits and seminars with experts and leading industry figures.”
Their website explains, “In the EU alone, the wind industry installed more than gas and coal combined last year with enough cumulative installed capacity to meet 10.2% of the region’s electricity consumption, equivalent to powering 73 million households.” What about the other 90% of electricity needs?
Mark Duchamp, Chairman of the World Council for Nature has issued a press release in advance of the “wind lobby celebration of Global Wind Day” on June 15, 2015. “Hundreds of events are organized worldwide to convince people that wind farms are useful, cheap, harmless to birds and people, good for property values and great for tourism and the economy,” said Mr. Duchamp. Calling this celebration a “global wind scam day,” Mr. Duchamp lists many economic problems and health issues associated with wind farms which have been operated on a worldwide scale since the 1980s. They provide unreliable and intermittent electricity at a cost that is “three times more expensive than that generated by conventional power.”
He claims that the wind industry, heavily subsidized in all countries, finances political parties through kickbacks via a subsidy “revolving door.” The wind industry provides and guarantees profits to a new “class of green crony capitalists.” In his view, the wind turbine industry negatively affects the economy of some countries, facilitating the political takeover of “antiestablishment parties” such as “Podemos” (We Can) in Spain. Where have we heard that catchphrase
Making references available to readers, Mr. Duchamp lists the unresolved economic and social issues associated with wind turbines:
- State and countries who rely on renewable energy become less competitive and poorer
- Wise investors prefer states where energy is cheaper
- Higher energy prices and taxation related to “green energy” cause companies to relocate abroad
- Higher renewable energy costs are subsidized by taxpayers and consumers, thus causing “fuel poverty”
- Deficits increase when subsidies and other bailouts finance “unprofitable and unreliable wind energy”
- The unsightly wind turbines alter the landscape, destroy the “view shed” touted by environmentalists in this country, and depreciate the value of “heritage sites”
- The huge turbine blades chop millions of birds and bats every year, including the majestic golden eagle in the U.S. and perhaps some endangered species
- Properties located near the turbines lose anywhere “from 10% to 50%” of their value
- Just because a turbine spins, it does not necessarily produce energy
- Wind turbines must use electricity generated by “dirty” fossil fuels in order to be properly maintained and to prevent rusting of gears
- Many turbines have been abandoned or shut down as requested by residents who could not stand the noise even after the community had invested millions in their installation
- Frequently hit by lightning, turbines catch fire and threaten anyone nearby when the fire cannot be put out or the blades literally spin out of control
- Residents living in the vicinity of turbines are affected by “shadow flicker” during certain hours of the day and stressed out by the constant thump-thump noise coming from the wind turbine, especially at optimal operating wind speed – “allowed noise limits are frequently exceeded”
- Residents and animals are negatively affected by infrasound emitted by turbines and exhibit disturbing behavior and serious negative health effects
Unfortunately, Mr. Duchamp said, wind farm victims are ignored, accused of imagining their real health issues such as insomnia, headaches, nausea, tachycardia, disturbed menstrual cycles, loss of balance, genetic mutations during gestation, and other ailments.
This article was originally posted by Ileana Johnson on FreedomOutpost.com
What’s the True Cost of Wind Power?
Apr 11, 2015
As consumers, we pay for electricity twice: once through our monthly electricity bill and a second time through taxes that finance massive subsidies for inefficient wind and other energy producers.
Most cost estimates for wind power disregard the heavy burden of these subsidies on US taxpayers. But if Americans realized the full cost of generating energy from wind power, they would be less willing to foot the bill – because it’s more than most people think.
Over the past 35 years, wind energy – which supplied just 4.4% of US electricity in 2014 – has received US$30 billion in federal subsidies and grants. These subsidies shield people from the uncomfortable truth of just how much wind power actually costs and transfer money from average taxpayers to wealthy wind farm owners, many of which are units of foreign companies.
Financial advisory firm Lazard puts the cost of generating a megawatt-hour of electricity from wind at a range of $37 to $81. In reality, the true price tag is significantly higher.
This represents a waste of resources that could be better spent by taxpayers themselves. Even the supposed environmental gains of relying more on wind power are dubious because of its unreliability – it doesn’t always blow – meaning a stable backup power source must always be online to take over during periods of calm.
But at the same time, the subsidies make the US energy infrastructure more tenuous because the artificially cheap electricity prices push more reliable producers – including those needed as backup – out of the market. As we rely more on wind for our power and its inherent unreliability, the risk of blackouts grows. If that happens, the costs will really soar.
Many government agencies are in the wind business these days.
Where the subsidies go
Many people may be familiar with Warren Buffet’s claim that federal policies are the only reason to build wind farms in the US, but few realize how many of the companies that benefit most are foreign. The Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University found that, as of 2010, 84% of total clean-energy grants awarded by the federal government went to foreign-owned wind companies.
More generally, the beneficiaries of federal renewable energy policies tend to be large companies, not individual taxpayers or small businesses. The top five recipients of federal grants and tax credits since 2000 are: Iberdrola, NextEra Energy, NRG Energy, Southern Company and Summit Power, all of which have received more than $1 billion in federal benefits.
Iberdrola Renewables alone, a unit of a Spanish utility, has collected $2.2 billion in federal grants and allocated tax credits over the past 15 years. That’s equivalent to about 6.7% of the parent company’s 2014 revenue of $33 billion (in current US dollars).
President Obama’s proposed 2016 budget would permanently extend the biggest federal subsidy for wind power, the Production Tax Credit (PTC), ensuring that large foreign companies continue to reap most of the taxpayer-funded benefits for wind. The PTC is a federal subsidy that pays wind farm owners $23 per megawatthour through the first ten years of a turbine’s operation. The credit expired at the end of 2013, but Congress extended it so that all projects under construction by the end of 2014 are eligible.
In all, Congress has enacted 82 policies, overseen by nine different agencies, to support wind power.
I explained in December why Congress shouldn’t revive the PTC, which expired at the end of 2014. In this article, I’m adding up the true cost of wind power in the US, including the impact of the PTC and other subsidies and mandates. It’s part of a study I’m doing of other energy sources including solar, natural gas, and coal to determine how much each one actually cost us when all factors are considered.
As Warren Buffett has said, there wouldn’t be a wind industry without the PTC. UCS, DOE, AWEA.
Tallying the true costs of wind
Depending on which factors are included, estimates for the cost of wind power vary wildly. Lazard claims the cost of wind power ranges from $37 to $81 per megawatt-hour, while Michael Giberson at the Center for Energy Commerce at Texas Tech University suggests it’s closer to $149. Our analysis in an upcoming report explores this wide gap in cost estimates, finding that most studies underestimate the genuine cost of wind because they overlook key factors.
All estimates for wind power include the cost of purchasing capital and paying for operations and maintenance (O&M) of wind turbines. For the studies we examined, capital costs ranged from $48 to $88 per megawatt-hour, while O&M costs ranged from $9.8 to $21 per megawatt-hour.
Many estimates, however, don’t include costs related to the inherent unreliability of wind power and government subsidies and mandates. Since we can’t ensure the wind always blows, or how strongly, coal and natural gas plants must be kept on as backup to compensate when it’s calm. This is known as baseload cycling, and its cost ranges from $2 to $23 per megawatt-hour. This also reduces the environmental friendliness of wind power.
Because a coal-fired or natural gas power plant must be kept online in case there’s no wind, two plants are running to do the job of one. These plants create carbon emissions, reducing the environmental benefits of wind. The amount by which emissions reductions are offset by baseload cycling ranges from 20% to 50%, according to a modeling study by two professors at Carnegie Mellon University.
While the backup plants are necessary to ensure the grid’s reliability, their ability to operate is threatened by wind subsidies.
The federal dollars encourage wind farm owners to produce power even when prices are low, flooding the market with cheap electricity. That pushes prices down even further and makes it harder for more reliable producers, such as nuclear plants, that don’t get hefty subsidies to stay in business.
For example, the Kewaunee Nuclear Plant in Wisconsin and the Yankee Nuclear Plant in Vermont both switched off their reactors in 2013. Dominion Energy, which owned both plants, blamed the artificially low prices caused by the PTC as one of the reasons for the shutdown.
As more reliable sources drop off and wind power takes their place, consumers are left with an electrical infrastructure that is less reliable and less capable of meeting demand.
Lost in transmission
Another factor often overlooked is the extra cost of transmission.
Many of America’s wind-rich areas are remote and the turbines are often planted in open fields, far from major cities. That means new transmission lines must be built to carry electricity to consumers. The cost of building new transmission lines ranges from $15 to $27 per megawatt-hour.
In 2013, Texas completed its Competitive Renewable Energy Zone project, adding over 3,600 miles of transmission lines to remote wind farms, costing state taxpayers $7 billion.
Although transmission infrastructure may be considered a fixed cost that will reduce future transmission costs for wind power, these costs will likely remain important. Today’s wind farms are built in areas with prime wind resources. If we continue to subsidize wind power, producers will eventually expand to subprime locations that may be even further from population centers.
This would feed demand for additional transmission projects to transport electricity from remote wind farms to cities.
The final bill comes to…
Finally, federal subsidies and state mandates also add significantly to the cost, even as many estimates claim these incentives actually reduce the cost of wind energy. In fact, they add to it as American taxpayers are forced to foot the bill. According to Giberson, federal and state policies addan average of $23 per megawatthour to the cost of wind power.
That includes the impact of state mandates, which end up increasing the cost of electricity on consumer power bills.
California is one of the most aggressive in pushing so-called Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), requiring the state to consume 33% of its electricity from renewables by 2020. Overall electricity prices in states with RPS are 38% higher than those without, according to the Institute for Energy Research, a nonprofit research group that promotes free markets.
The best estimate available for the total cost of wind power is $149 per megawatt-hour, taken from Giberson’s 2013 report.
It is difficult to quantify some factors of the cost of wind power, such as the cost of state policies. Giberson’s estimate, however, includes the most relevant factors in attempting to measure the true cost of producing electricity from wind power. In future reports, Strata will explore the true cost of producing electricity from solar, coal, and natural gas. Until those reports are completed, it is difficult to accurately compare the true cost of wind to other technologies, as true cost studies have not yet been completed.
Blowing in the wind
The high costs of federal subsidies and state mandates for wind power have not paid off for the American public. According to the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, wind energy receives a higher percentage of federal subsidies than any other type of energy while generating a very small percentage of the nation’s electricity.
In 2010 the wind energy sector received 42% of total federal subsidies while producing only 2% of the nation’s total electricity.
By comparison, coal receives 10% of all subsidies and generates 45% and nuclear is about even at about 20%.
But policymakers at the federal and state level, unfortunately, have decided that the American people will have renewable energy, no matter how high the costs. As a result, taxpayers will be stuck paying the cost of subsidies to wealthy wind producers.
Meanwhile, electricity consumers will be forced to purchase the more expensive power that results from state-level mandates for renewable energy production. Although such policies may be well intended, the real results will be limited freedom, reduced prosperity and an increasingly unreliable power supply.
It’s time for wind power to stand or fall on its own
Federal subsidies for wind energy are set to expire at the end of the year. Again.
Since 1992, the Production Tax Credit (PTC) has offered generous federal subsidies to wind generators. Under the policy, wind generators are eligible for 2.3 cents in taxpayer subsidies for each kilowatt hour (kWh) of wind electricity generated. That’s nearly a third of the total retail price of electricity for industrial customers.
Federal subsidies for wind are so lavish, that generators in places like west Texas (where wind is plentiful) have been known to bid electricity onto the grid at negative prices, just so it can collect the larger subsidy amount and pocket the difference. Negative pricing is a great deal for whoever owns the generator, but can play havoc with electrical eliability, by undercutting other power sources and discouraging investment in new capacity.
Yet despite literally paying people to take their electricity, wind power represents just 3.5 percent of all electricity generation in the United States. The big problem is not so much cost as reliability. Wind power is intermittent; it has a nasty habit of stopping, sometimes on a moment’s notice. And since there is no commercially viable means of storing electricity, use of wind power requires the existence of back-up power plants (typically natural gas) that can be ramped up or down depending on which way the wind blows. This sort of redundancy is not only inefficient, but emissions levels are higher during the process of ramping a gas plant up and down, cancelling at least part of the environmental benefits of using wind. No amount of subsidies for generators will solve these problems, and, in fact, subsidies could serve to aggravate it by undercutting the profitability of back-up sources of power.
Even in Europe, where wind subsidies can be even more lavish (and where electricity prices are far higher) than in the United States, intermittency poses an insurmountable problem. A study by the Danish think tank CEPOS, for example, found that while wind generators managed to generate the equivalent of 19 percent of Denmark’s total electrical demand, wind accounted for less than 10 percent of electrical consumption.
The PTC was initially billed as a temporary measure designed to encourage the development of wind electricity until it was ready to compete with other energy sources. The temporary nature of the PTC, however, has in practice tended to be a bit of a mirage. Each time the PTC is set to expire, wind lobbyists turn up to argue that the industry just needs a little more time to mature, and the credit ends up getting a stay of execution. The latest such reprieve came at the end of last year,
when a one year extension of the PTC for wind was slipped into the fiscal cliff deal. This time should be different. If wind isn’t competitive after more than two decades of federal support, there’s no reason to think that a few more years will change that, particularly when many states offer additional subsidies and mandates for renewable energy. Instead of trying to protect wind from competition, the federal government should step aside and let the industry find its own niche in the market.
Wind Farms: Tax Payer Money To The Wind
“They are ridiculously expensive and don’t work half the time,” he said. “And no matter how many are built, they won’t replace coal, gas or hydro or nuclear plants, because they are continuous and wind is not always reliable.”
Dr. Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace
Moore told his audience the wind energy industry in Spain has resulted in a 30% unemployment rate among people under the age of 30. I am not generally on the same side of things political with environmentalists, but this time I whole-heartedly agree with this Dr. Moore who decided to join with those who use their brains for reason, instead of running headlong into destructive insanity. Evidently Dr. Moore had an epiphany some 25 years ago and decided to look for more practical methods, environmental and realistic. Good for him and for us. He has the life experience that led him know the difference between bone-headed nonsense and logical solutions. He knows what the radical environmentalists are, how they plan, and how damaging they can be.
You may wonder why I find this subject so important to discuss since there are no wind farms going up in my near surrounding area. First, our federal and state tax dollars are being used to support this insanity. And secondly, I cannot suffer what these things are doing to birds. Thirdly, they are a blight on the landscape. If you don’t like power lines…good heavens, you should see the ugliness of these wind farms.
The thing about these windmills is they are huge, hugely expensive, totally impractical, bird killers, and absolutely the most unnecessary waste of money that I think I’ve ever seen in this nation. Those windmills are the poster child for everything that is wrong with the green monsters who have taken over our government. You could pick Solyndra for solar panels, or the Chevy Volt, as kindred spirits, but the gigantic windmills, looming like aliens across the farm lands where I have seen them, are a visual blight and reminder of how big and powerful stupidity can become if allowed to steal from the public trough. One thing about the era we live in now is that the boondoggles and monsters are larger and faster appearing than the slow march of historical mistakes and gruesome tyrants of past eras.
If the economics and practicality are not enough for you to see what a disaster these wind farms are, this article tells the story of the birds. “In 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that about 440,000 birds are likely killed each year by the fast-spinning wind turbines — and that was at a time when the industry was just beginning an expansion that may bring about a 12-fold growth by 2030. It is impossible to determine how many dead birds that will translate into (it depends how and where wind projects are built), but without a sea change in the industry, it will certainly be in the millions.”
Back to the money stolen from you to fund this insanity…(yes, I keep calling it insanity because I can’t think of a better word for it..), here is a run down on what the Obama administration has spent on wind turbines and where that money is going: Despite all the talk of green jobs, the overwhelming majority of stimulus money spent on wind power has gone to foreign companies, according to a new report by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at the American University’s School of Communication in Washington, D.C. Nearly $2 billion in money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been spent on wind power, funding the creation of enough new wind farms to power 2.4 million homes over the past year. But the study found that nearly 80 percent of that money has gone to foreign manufacturers of wind turbines.
“Most of the jobs are going overseas,” said Russ Choma at the Investigative Reporting Workshop. He analyzed which foreign firms had accepted the most stimulus money. “According to our estimates, about 6,000 jobs have been created overseas, and maybe a couple hundred have been created in the U.S.”
Even with the infusion of so much stimulus money, a recent report by American Wind Energy Association showed a drop in U.S. wind manufacturing jobs last year.
That money is gone…down the tubes. If you want another good reason to get rid of the criminals in DC, starting with the one in the White House, windmills and wind farms would be a darn good reason. And that isn’t just bird feathers….
Government Is Just ‘Breaking Wind’ On Alternative Energy
The proposed offshore wind farm near South Padre Island, Texas is sparking concerns from many environmental groups who worry about the impact on wildlife and scenery in the area.
They have good cause to be concerned, since there will be some 300 wind turbines the size of the Tower of America, operating in one of the most heavily traveled path in the Gulf of Mexico for bird migration.
There are many estimations of the total number of birds killed each year by wind turbines here in the US, but it is safe to say that at least 1 million are killed, since some estimations have been as high as 2 million. Sadly, this includes many protected species such as eagles where at California’s Altamont Pass wind farm over one hundred golden eagles are killed each year. Some 4 thousand eagles including bald eagles are estimated to be killed each year in the US by wind
Wind turbines are also responsible for killing an estimated 1 million bats per year worldwide.
The construction of the turbines also negatively impacts sensitive Eco systems, causing the deaths of land based wildlife by interrupting roaming patterns and introducing the low pitched humming noise the turbines make while operating, causing normal living patterns to change.
The destruction of scenery in many once beautiful areas of the country is yet another drawback of wind farms, where undisturbed natural beauty has been replaced with forests of wind turbines.
What many do not realize is the inefficiency of wind energy. In the US, the official government estimate of the total electrical output by all wind farms is less than 1% of the whole grid. On a world scale, all of the wind farms put together would barely generate enough electricity keep a population the size of the Gaza Strip in lights for a year.
The fossil fuels necessary for the manufacture of wind turbines, parts and equipment, their transportation from factory to field, and the construction of the wind farm itself, automatically creates such a huge energy deficit that they will never produce enough electricity during the lifetime of the equipment to get ahead of what was already used.
Most have a misconception of how wind farms operate, in the sense that we tend to think that a wind turbine simply starts producing electricity when the wind blows enough to turn the turbine blades. Nothing could be further from reality, since it takes a jolt of grid electricity to start them. In times when the wind becomes too high for operations, generally over 40 MPH, grid electricity is necessary to shut them down also. Fossil fuel grid electricity is also used to maintain turbines during periods when the wind is calm. Many of us have observed this in seeing turbines turning rapidly when the wind is calm.
Wind farms also cause more CO2 production in the atmosphere, than if they didn’t exist simply by the large amounts of grid electricity needed for the constant start ups and shut downs of the turbines themselves. Such massive amounts of electricity causes the fossil fuel based grid to have to use more coal. This fact makes wind farms heavy producers of CO2 and other so called greenhouse gases. The fact is, if all wind turbines were to be operated all the time 24/7 by grid
electricity, less fossil fuel generated pollutants would be produced. The negative impact of expense has to also be taken into consideration when a wind farm is
proposed. The high cost of the manufacture of the wind turbines themselves, the large amounts of grid electricity they will use, and the construction of the wind farm will cause electricity rates to skyrocket not only in the local area where they are constructed, but in the entire state as well.
Taxes will drastically increase as well, since the Federal government subsidizes all wind farm operations.
The wind industry could not exist today, if not for government subsidies since in the real world of business and finance, a company has to have a product to sell to make money and wind farms do not generate enough power to consider themselves as having electricity to sell. Thus, we have an entire industry that couldn’t exist without government funded welfare.
Sadly, the cold fact of wind energy is that it is at such an infantile stage of development it should be considered as an experimental project that may someday realistically replace the fossil fuel grid. As it is at present, it is only a very costly idea that inflates energy prices during a time when no one can afford it.
Texans need to just say no to a very bad idea that will end up being very costly both financially and environmentally and benefit no one.
Editor’s Note: While Tony speaks of the State of Texas, this takes place in numerous states of the Union. The Obama administration has funneled billions into “green energy” projects which have failed, just like Tony has pointed out. His plans are to continue using taxpayer money to subsidize “green energy” businesses that cannot sustain themselves and provide no real alternative to fossil fuels.