Seven more bad things about wind energy: and one more reason why

John Droz has written an excellent post “Twenty-One Bad Things About Wind Energy — and Three Reasons Why” but since it is in the tl;dr category I have broken it into three posts for you.

Trying to pin down the arguments of wind promoters is a bit like trying to grab a greased balloon. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, it morphs into a different story and escapes your grasp. Let’s take a quick highlight review of how things have evolved with merchandising industrial wind energy.  [Reasons 8 – 14]  [Reasons 1 – 7]

8 – Knowing full well that the assertions used to date were specious, wind proponents manufactured still another claim: green jobs. This was carefully selected to coincide with widespread employment concerns. Unfortunately, when independent qualified parties examined the situation more closely, they found that the claims were wildly exaggerated. Big surprise!

Further, as attorney and energy expert Chris Horner has so eloquently stated:

“There is nothing – no program, no hobby, no vice, no crime – that does not ‘create jobs.’ Tsunamis, computer viruses and shooting convenience store clerks all ‘create jobs.’ So that claim misses the point. Since it applies to all, it is an argument in favor of none. Instead of making a case on the merits, it is an admission that one has no such arguments.”

See a very detailed critique of the jobs situation at PTCFacts.Info. Listed there are TEN major reasons why using jobs as an argument is not appropriate or meaningful. Additionally there is a list of some 45 reports written by independent experts, and they all agree that renewable energy claims are based on numerous fallacies.

Lastly, it is the number of jobs per MWH produced that should be examined. This study concluded that it took 7± wind energy jobs to produce the same amount of MWH as one fossil fuel worker could. Why is that a good thing?

9 – Relentlessly moving forward, wind marketers then tried to change the focus from jobs to “economic development.” The marketers typically utilized a computer program called JEDI to make bold economic projections. Unfortunately, JEDI is a totally inadequate model for accurately arriving at such numbers, for a variety of technical reasons. The economic development contentions have also been shown to be inaccurate, as they never take into account economic losses that result from wind energy implementation – for example agricultural losses due to bat killings, and job losses due to higher electricity costs for factories, hospitals and numerous other employers.

But, but …. green jobs!

Additionally, as with jobs, economic development in-and-of-itself has nothing to do with the merits of wind energy as a power source. Let’s say we make up a transportation RES mandating that 20% of a state’s vehicles be replaced by horse power by 2020. There would be a LOT of “economic development” (making horse carriages and buggy whips, building horse barns, growing and shipping hay) that would result from such an edict. But would that be any indication that it is an intelligent, beneficial policy?

10 – Along the way, yet another claim began making the rounds: that wind energy is low cost. This is surprisingly bold, considering that if that were really true, RES/RPS mandates would not be necessary. For some reason, all calculations showing wind to be “low cost” conveniently ignore exorbitant subsidies, augmentation costs, power adjusting (see next item), additional transmission costs, and so on. Independent analyses of actual costs (e.g. here) have concluded that (when ALL applicable wind-related costs are accurately calculated) wind energy is MUCH more expensive than any conventional source we have.

Well, knock me down with a feather! Are you telling me that the market moved away from wind as a power source because it was uneconomical compared to other power sources?  Who’d a thunk it?

11 – A subtle (but significant) difference between wind energy and other conventional sources of electricity is in power quality. This term refers to such technical performance factors as voltage transients, voltage variations, waveform distortion (e.g. harmonics), frequency variations, and so forth. The reality is that wind energy introduces many more of these issues than does a conventional power facility. Additional costs are needed to deal with these wind-caused problems. These are rarely identified in pro-wind economic analyses.

I would go so far as to suggest that there is not one green proponent of wind turbines that would even begin to recognise any of those words, let alone understand what they mean. This confidence is based upon the simple fact that if they did understand the technicalities, they would not support wind energy as a grid source.

12 – When confronted with the reality that wind energy is considerably more expensive than any conventional source, a common rejoinder is to object to that by saying that once the “externalities” of conventional sources are taken into account, wind is less expensive than those conventional sources.

To gullible sheeple, this might make sense. But consider the following two points.

First, externality analyses posited by wind zealots never take into account the true environmental consequences of wind energy (rare earth impacts [see below], human health effects, bird and bat deaths, the CO2 generated from a two million pound concrete base, etc.).

Second, the “externalities” for things like fossil fuels are always only the negative part. If these advocates want a true big picture calculation, then they need to also add in the benefits to us from low-cost fossil fuels based electricity. Considering that fossil fuels played a major part in our economic success and improved health and living standards over the past century, such a plus factor would be enormous.

[BTW there is some evidence that the negative externalities (e.g. about fossil fuel related asthma claims) are wildly exaggerated. What a surprise!]

13 – Although they would like to avoid it, wind developers almost always have to deal with local communities. Their universal pitch to these “host” communities is that the proposed wind project will be a financial windfall. Their plan is based on the fact that most citizens (and their representatives) are technically challenged, so they will not be aware of the realities of wind energy and their real costs. Since most of the rural communities they target are economically strapped, the developers count on the enticement of a million± dollars a year as enough to swing the deal.

However, if citizens (and their representatives) actually investigate this matter in some detail, they will find that numerous independent experts have concluded that there are multiple possible economic liabilities that are attached to these projects. To simplify this research, we have identified ten (10) different matters that could be a financial detriment. Interestingly, when the numbers from both side of the equation are added up (e.g. here) the NET result is almost always negative.

14 – A key grid ingredient for all of our electric energy sources is Firm Capacity. (A layman’s translation is that this is an indication of dependability: e.g. can we count on this being available next Monday at 3 PM?) Conventional sources (like nuclear) have a Firm Capacity of nearly 100%. Wind has a Firm Capacity of about 0%. Big difference!

One reason why:

They get away with this scam primarily for three basic reasons. {Here’s the second]

– There is no penalty for making bogus assertions or dishonest claims about their product’s benefits,” so each successive contention is more grandiose than the last.

So, in effect, we have come around full circle. A hundred-plus years ago, wind energy was recognized as an antiquated, unreliable and expensive source of energy – and now, after hundreds of billions of wasted tax and consumer dollars, we find that (surprise!) it still is an antiquated, unreliable and expensive source of energy. This is what happens when science is relegated to a back-of-the-bus status.

Reasons 15 – 21 tomorrow.


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WH is a pale, stale, male who does not believe all the doom and gloom climate nonsense so enjoys generating CO2 that the plants need to grow by driving his MG.

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