Wind Power Lunacy – Tea Party Nation

Wind Power Lunacy – Tea Party Nation.

By Alan Caruba

Can you love nature when it is covered with wind turbines? Or solar panels?

Putting aside the scientific, engineering, and economic idiocy behind the use of wind turbines and solar panels to generate less than three percent of the electricity used nationwide—or that, if the wind is not blowing and the sun not shining, electrical energy must be supplied by back-up traditional coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric plants.

My personal objection to wind power is the sheer ugliness of these devices. The notion of covering hillsides and plains with them is an offence to the land—to the nature Greens profess to love—and to the many thousands of birds they slaughter every year.

I can’t prove it, but I suspect that the only reason we have any wind energy, i.e. windmills and solar panels, anywhere in the U.S. is a combination of the huge propaganda power of the Greens, bribery, the stupidity and chicanery of politicians, and the gullibility of people who actually believe that wind—which does not blow all the time—is a rational source of power generation.

Suffice to say, the wind power industry would not exist without state government mandates for its use, federal tax credits, and the deafening silence of environmentalists who want to save every species on Earth with the exception of the wind turbine’s slaughter of a million of eagles, hawks, geese, bats, and other flying creatures every year.

The cliché is that great minds think alike and recently there have been a spate of editorials and commentaries, all coincidently written by colleagues of mine. One of them is Dr. Jay Lehr, the science director of The Heartland Institute, for which I am a policy advisor along with others with far more impressive credentials than my own as a longtime science and business writer. On June 17, The Wall Street Journal published Dr. Lehr’s commentary, “The Rationale for Wind Power Won’t Fly.”

“After decades of federal subsidies—almost $24 billion according to a recent estimate by former U.S. Senator Phil Gramm—nowhere in the United States, or anywhere else, has an array of wind turbines replaced a single conventional power plant.” Dr. Lehr inferentially raises the question of why any nation would spend that kind of money without receiving sufficient and equivalent electrical power. It is a very good question.

As Dr. Lehr noted, “It’s known to everybody in the industry that a wind turbine will generate electricity 30% of the time—but it’s impossible to predict when that time will be.” There are about 24,000 of these hideous machines according to the American Wind Energy Association and, given their lobbying, that number could double in the next decade. They will still not produce sufficient electricity—let alone predictable and constant electricity—for a small city.

Neither wind nor solar power will provide sufficient electrical energy. This begs the question why they even exist.

The short answer is that wind and solar have been sold to the public (which pays more for the electricity they produce) as not producing “greenhouse gas emissions” that are blamed for a global warming which is not happening, but the main gas, carbon dioxide, is vital to all life on Earth, being the “food” for all plant life, much of which we consume as crops such as wheat, corn, and rice. As a demonstration of the idiocy and hypocrisy of environmentalists, huge quantities of corn are, by government mandate, converted to ethanol—moonshine—that must be added to gasoline.

Another colleague, Rich Kozlovich, has a commentary in circulation that asks why the “Precautionary Principle” that is beloved by the Greens is not applied to wind turbines. Rich quoted another colleague of mine, CFACT’s Paul Driessen, “The Precautionary Principle insists that no new technology should be permitted until it can be shown that it will pose no threat to human health or the environment.” If fully applied, humanity would be denied another medication, chemical, or technological innovation.

“The hard reality is that the green movement does not care about facts, wildlife or humans,” says Kozlovich, “and logical consistency is totally alien to them…Green elites ‘know’ what is best for all of humanity,”

I doubt he will get the plaudits and recognition he deserves, but Dr. John Droz, Jr., a physicist, has devoted his knowledge to providing the best collection of scientific date available regarding the futility and stupidity of wind power. Dr. Droz has a website where you can learn the FACTS about wind power or you can Google his name to find his many excellent articles on the subject.

I have cited some of those facts, as has Dr. Lehr, Paul Driessen, and Rich Kozlovich, but it does not take an advanced degree in physics or any other science to grasp why constructing thousands of wind turbines to produce a miniscule amount of electricity has been one of the most idiotic enterprises to emerge from the vast global warming/climate change hoax.

Instead, we live in a nation whose president insists that climate change is the greatest threat to mankind and who is devoting the powers of government to shut down coal-fired plants, deter exploration and extraction of energy reserves on lands owned by the federal government, delaying the construction of a new pipeline, and the construction of new nuclear facilities. One of his suggestions for power generation is algae, pond scum.

© Alan Caruba, 2013

DRIESSEN: Big Wind tax credit exterminates endangered species – Washington Times

DRIESSEN: Big Wind tax credit exterminates endangered species – Washington Times.

Thousands of birds killed by wind turbines

 

The American Wind Energy Association wants its production tax credit (PTC) for wind electricity extended yet again. Congress should say no — and terminate the PTC now.

Wind energy is expensive and unreliable. It does nothing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It is land- and raw-materials-intensive, parasitic and redundant. Whenever the wind is low or inconsistent, every megawatt of wind power must be supported by electricity generated by fossil-fuel plants. Even more damning, wind turbines disrupt wildlife habitats and butcher birds and bats that are vital to ecological diversity and agriculture.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and American Bird Conservancy say wind turbines kill 440,000 bald and golden eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, cranes, egrets, geese and other birds every year in the United States, along with countless insect-eating bats.

New studies reveal that these appalling estimates are frightfully low and based on misleading or even fraudulent data. The horrific reality is that in the United States alone, “eco-friendly” wind turbines kill an estimated 13 million to 39 million birds and bats every year.

These shocking figures reflect the presence of more than 39,000 turbines in the United States, many located in habitats with large numbers of raptors, other birds and bats, says Mark Duchamp, president of Save the Eagles International. The estimates are based on a 2012 study by the Spanish Ornithological Society, which used data from 136 official turbine-monitoring studies in Spain, and is corroborated by a 1993 study of bird mortality from wind turbines in Germany and Sweden, Mr. Duchamp says.

Over the past 25 years, an estimated 2,300 golden eagles have been killed by turbines just at Altamont Pass, Calif. According to Save the Eagles International biologist Jim Wiegand, the subsidized slaughter “could now easily be over 500” golden eagles a year in our Western states, plus many bald eagles. Entire flocks of birds often get mowed down by turbine blades, whose tips move at 100 to 200 mph.

In an 86-square-mile area blanketed by the Altamont wind facility, no eagles have nested for more than 20 years even though the area is prime habitat, Mr. Wiegand says. Overall, there has been an 80 percent population decline for the golden eagle in Southern California, he notes.

Since wind turbines began proliferating, Oregon has had a 47 percent loss of raptors and Iowa has experienced a 42 percent decline in bird populations, according to FWS and Department of Natural Resources research.

After being nursed back from the brink of extinction, magnificent 5-foot-tall whooping cranes face annihilation because of thousands of turbines within their 200-mile-wide, 2,500-mile-long migration route, former FWS whooping crane coordinator Tom Stehn fears.

More than 200 endangered cranes have “gone missing” in recent years, and now FWS is delaying its 2012 “whooper” count until after Congress votes on the PTC. It also has changed its methods for counting turbine kills to ones Mr. Stehn calls “unacceptable and useless for species recovery management.”

The new methods help hide turbine kills, according to Mr. Wiegand. The Interior Department has used sage grouse and lesser prairie chickens to justify restrictions on oil leasing and drilling. It has prosecuted oil companies for the unintentional deaths of 28 mallards in North Dakota. Yet it has never penalized a single wind-turbine company.

Now the Fish and Wildlife Service wants to issue “programmatic take permits” that would allow wind-turbine operators to systematically, legally and “inadvertently” injure and kill eagles, cranes and condors.

The Department of the Interior and FWS also let monitoring ornithologists search for dead birds within 130 to 165 feet of turbine towers, thus missing numerous birds that were flung farther by the impact or limped off to die elsewhere. What’s more, they search for carcasses only once every few weeks, enabling scavengers to take most away. In addition, wind facility crews remove and bury carcasses illegally, Mr. Wiegand and Mr. Duchamp say.

Officials also let operators treat kill data as proprietary trade secrets, safeguarded under nondisclosure agreements or put into private databanks immune from Freedom of Information Act requests. They impose high security at turbine sites to make accurate, honest, independent mortality counts impossible. Moreover, they filter, massage and manipulate data to make mortality appear minimal.

No other American industry is allowed to operate with such immunity and impunity. It is time to end the wind PTC and the blatant favoritism and exemptions for the wind-power industry. Big Wind must be held to the same standards, laws and regulations that apply to other industries.

Industrial wind operators must be required to permit access by unbiased outside experts to their facilities to ensure compliance with the law and facilitate regular and independent bird and bat mortality counts. They must be required to comply with the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act and other environmental laws.

Before acting on the PTC, Congress should demand an accurate and verifiable 2012 winter count for the whooping cranes, hold hearings on bird and bat kills, and prohibit the FWS from implementing a programmatic take permit system. It should demand an independent multiyear study of bird and bat mortality at every wind facility in America before allowing another turbine facility to be built in the United States.

Failure to take these actions will cause an ecological catastrophe of monumental proportions.

Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and author of “Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death” (Merril Press, 2012).

BRADLEY: Renewable energy running scared – Washington Times

Icon of Wind Turbines

Image via Wikipedia

BRADLEY: Renewable energy running scared – Washington Times.

This may be the beginning of the end of the energy welfare state

The ethanol, wind and solar industries are running scared from a House proposal to reduce federal subsidies for renewable energy by 25 percent for fiscal 2012. A surefire sign of the trouble with big government is that you run out of other people’s money.

The environmental left is running scared, too, at least when it comes to wind and solar. Federal cutbacks, leftists fear, will shrink the business lobby needed for their grand energy-transformation plan. In the parlance of political economy, the teetotalers need the help of bootleggers to sell their message to the voters.

Federal cutbacks have put wind and solar on the spot. Despite decades of promises, these energy sources remain uneconomic and misaligned with the need for reliable, flexible power. Left unsubsidized and without mandates, electricity generated from wind or solar would not find nearly enough buyers.

Meanwhile, deficits rage and voters want fiscal sanity. Can you imagine the opinion-poll results if respondents were asked to choose between spending fewer taxpayer dollars on renewable energy or basic government services? I doubt the American Wind Energy Association or the Solar Energy Industries Association would commission such a poll.

Solar power actually has a market niche and would exist as a small energy industry in a nonpolitical world. Off the electrical grid, solar panels can absorb and store sunlight as electricity until scale economies allow far cheaper central-station power to be transmitted by high-voltage lines. In this sense, renewable energy can be a bridge to conventional energy, not the other way around, as is often touted.

But wind power is another story. Wind for making electricity is almost wholly an artificial industry that would die without government largesse. Such industrial-sized machines are very different from the small windmills on farms that pump water.

Wind cannot compete against either natural gas or coal in electrical generation. Wind technology has improved, but so have conventional energy technologies. General Electric’s newest combined-cycle plants can convert natural gas into electricity at 61 percent efficiency and can reach full power within 30 minutes of startup. Back in the 1970s, by contrast, the best efficiency rate was closer to 40 percent, and a full rev-up took hours.

Nor are we reaching a physical peak in fuel production for conventional power plants. The shale boom has ushered in a new era for oil and gas extraction. We are not running out of fossil fuels; we are running into them. Contrary to what critics have been claiming for decades, the hydrocarbon energy age is still young.

Politically correct renewable energy has had quite a feast at the public trough for decades. The American Wind Energy Association’s recent gala with Jay Leno shows just how rich this club of crony capitalists has become. Their laughs were at the expense of taxpayers, but taxpayers are poised to have the last laugh.

Yet President Obama is digging in hard against any cutbacks in wind and solar subsidies. His “green dream team” – John P. Holdren, Lisa P. Jackson, Ken Salazar, Steven Chu, etc. – knows that a death spiral could be triggered if an industry contraction leads to future rounds of cutbacks. It is the political capitalism model in reverse: Declining government favor leads to less rent-seeking business.

Could this be the beginning of the end of the energy welfare state?

The anti-market environmentalists have only themselves to blame for their current predicament. They picked the wrong horse, or, more accurately, they picked the donkey to run against the horse. The meager flow of energy from solar and wind could never match the dense energy content of oil, gas and coal.

The future belongs to the efficient. The faster government-dependent energy gets cut down to size, the better it will be for the U.S. Treasury, for consumers and for the real energy entrepreneurs and capitalists.

Let’s start now.

Robert L. Bradley Jr. is CEO of the Institute for Energy Research and author of “Edison to Enron: Energy Markets and Political Strategies,” to be published next month by Scrivener Publishing and John Wiley & Sons.