Donald Trump is not a fan of wind turbines, as he has hinted occasionally on Twitter.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2012
Wind farms are killing many thousands of birds. They make hunters look like nice people!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2012
It’s Friday. How many bald eagles did wind turbines kill today? They are an environmental & aesthetic disaster.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 24, 2012
But there’s a very powerful lobby which would like us to see wind turbines as being clean, eco-friendly and vital for the planet’s future. So if President Trump is to crush this bloated, parasitical industry as it deserves he’ll need some serious fire support.
This piece by Matt Ridley is a big help. It convincingly demonstrates that wind turbines are even more of a monstrous stupidity than any of us had hitherto imagined.
It starts with a quiz, whose answer may surprise you:
To the nearest whole number, what percentage of the world’s energy consumption was supplied by wind power in 2014, the last year for which there are reliable figures? Was it 20 per cent, 10 per cent or 5 per cent? None of the above: it was 0 per cent. That is to say, to the nearest whole number, there is still no wind power on Earth.
Yep. All those views blighted; all that wildlife sliced and diced; all those billions of dollars of subsidies wasted – in order to produce a form of power so inefficient and triflingly irrelevant that it still supplies not much more than 0 per cent of the world’s energy consumption.
This isn’t something you ever hear from renewables industry lobbyists who would like us to believe that wind is the future:
Nationwide, wind provided 5.6 percent of all electricity produced in 2016, an amount of electricity generation that has more than doubled since 2010. Much of the demand for new wind energy generation in recent years has come from Fortune 500 companies including Home Depot, GM, Walmart and Microsoft that are buying wind energy in large part for its low, stable cost.
But then, so many and varied are the half-truths, distractions and outright lies put out the wind industry that in any other sector half of these reptilian scumbags would be behind bars by now for selling a false prospectus.
One dirty trick – see that paragraph on US wind coverage above – is to talk about “electricity” rather than “energy.” Ridley points out the difference here:
From the International Energy Agency’s 2016 Key Renewables Trends, we can see that wind provided 0.46 per cent of global energy consumption in 2014, and solar and tide combined provided 0.35 per cent. Remember this is total energy, not just electricity, which is less than a fifth of all final energy, the rest being the solid, gaseous, and liquid fuels that do the heavy lifting for heat, transport and industry.
Another well-used cheat is to quote the fact that 14 per cent of the world’s energy is renewable – leading the unwary public to assume, incorrectly, that the majority of this must be the two renewables they must commonly hear about, wind and solar.
In fact the vast majority — three quarters — is biomass (mainly wood), and a very large part of that is ‘traditional biomass’; sticks and logs and dung burned by the poor in their homes to cook with. Those people need that energy, but they pay a big price in health problems caused by smoke inhalation.
Perhaps the biggest lie of all is that wind is now the cheapest form of energy.
As Paul Homewood explains in detail here, this is only plausible if you use Enron accounting techniques. If it were really true, though, then the wind industry would be able to survive without subsidies – which it won’t, can’t, and never will be able to unless, somehow, the laws of physics are radically altered. Wind, being intermittent, unpredictable, unreliable and limited in its intensity, was fine in the 17th century powering Dutch windmills to drain wetlands, but is next to useless meeting our rather more sophisticated energy needs in the 21st century.
And despite what its advocates claim, wind isn’t even “clean.”
Wind turbines, apart from the fibreglass blades, are made mostly of steel, with concrete bases. They need about 200 times as much material per unit of capacity as a modern combined cycle gas turbine. Steel is made with coal, not just to provide the heat for smelting ore, but to supply the carbon in the alloy. Cement is also often made using coal. The machinery of ‘clean’ renewables is the output of the fossil fuel economy, and largely the coal economy.
A two-megawatt wind turbine weighs about 250 tonnes, including the tower, nacelle, rotor and blades. Globally, it takes about half a tonne of coal to make a tonne of steel. Add another 25 tonnes of coal for making the cement and you’re talking 150 tonnes of coal per turbine. Now if we are to build 350,000 wind turbines a year (or a smaller number of bigger ones), just to keep up with increasing energy demand, that will require 50 million tonnes of coal a year. That’s about half the EU’s hard coal–mining output.
Industry experts sometimes privately admit that in the life of a wind turbine it will never manage to offset its own carbon footprint.
Also, as President Trump has noted before, they’re an absolute killer for avian wildlife. It’s why I call them bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes. Every year, in the U.S. alone, they kill between hundreds of thousands and several millions of birds and bats, among them protected species like America’s national bird the bald eagle.
The difference for the discrepancy in figures is simple: the wind industry has up until now – in collusion with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – dramatically played down the fatality rate by denying independent researchers access to the areas below turbines where so many raptor bodies are found.
According to researcher Jim Wiegand, who has dedicated his life to studying the problem, the number of birds and bats killed by turbines every year in the US runs into the tens of millions.
My personal view, having followed this story for years and witnessed for myself the devastation caused by wind turbines, both to landscapes and to human health, is that of all the world’s environmental scams, the wind industry is the most corrupt, mendacious and environmentally disruptive.
What astonishes me is that it has been allowed to keep going for so long given that there is simply no argument for its existence that stands up.
Even if you believe in the great global warming scare, wind turbines are just a pointless, hugely expensive and environmentally damaging distraction which will make no significant difference to the amount of CO2 we humans produce.
Around the world, thankfully, people are ignoring the propaganda – even Big Oil companies love to show how green they are by including photographs of wind turbines on their promotional material – and waking up to the fact.
Here, for example, is Annette Smith, a campaigner from Vermont, telling it like it really is for the people who have to live next to these monstrosities:
Prospective neighbors of wind turbines heard all the promises: “Quiet as a library.” “Like a baby’s breath.” “The same decibel level as a refrigerator.” The more brazen wind developers claimed “you will not hear them.”
Then the four hundred and fifty foot wind towers with their bus-size nacelles and three-bladed fans were built. Sixteen in Sheffield, four on Georgia Mountain, twenty-one in Lowell. And neighbors learned the truth. Yes, you can hear them. They sound like “a jet plane that never lands,” or “sneakers in a drier,” or there is a “thump thump thump” or a “whoosh whoosh whoosh” as the blade passes the tower, causing something called amplitude modulation.
“If the noise was the same all the time, maybe we could get used to it,” say some exasperated neighbors.
Wind turbine neighbors talk about feeling a deep rhythmic rumble inside their homes. “We feel the vibrations over the TV set,” they say. That is the Low Frequency Noise.
Here is how small towns in Michigan are fighting back.
Now there is light at the end of the tunnel. Next month, we’ll hear the results of a study commissioned by Energy Secretary Rick Perry of the U.S. power grid, especially with regard to the way it is being destabilized by intermittent renewable energy.
Perry is especially concerned about the way the baseload power provided largely by fossil fuels – and, uncoincidentally, by the coal-producing states that came out for President Trump – has been undermined by the Obama-era drive for renewables.
“We are blessed as a nation to have an abundance of domestic energy resources, such as coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric, all of which provide affordable baseload power and contribute to a stable, reliable and resilient grid,” Perry wrote in the memo to his chief of staff. But in recent years, grid experts have “highlighted the diminishing diversity of our nation’s electric generation mix and what that could mean for baseload power and grid resilience.”
The best news of all is that the man Perry has appointed to conduct the study totally gets the nature of the problem.
His name is Travis Fisher, an Institute for Energy Research economist, and here is what he has had to say in the past about renewables in a 2014 op ed for The Hill.
But excessive regulation isn’t the only issue facing the grid. Other policies undermine our electric system by subsidizing unreliable sources of power like wind and solar, which provided around 4 percent of our electricity generation last year. Subsidizing unreliable generation while wiping out reliable sources is a huge gamble—a real-time experiment to see whether or not we can keep the lights on.
One such policy is the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC), which provides a large subsidy for wind producers (one so lucrative that wind producers can pay the grid to take unwanted electricity and still make a profit). Another set of policies designed to promote unreliable sources of power are the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). RPSs have been implemented in 30 states and require that a certain percentage of electricity comes from renewable sources like wind or solar, regardless of whether it is wanted or needed.
However, none of these policies can fix the inherent problems with wind and solar power, which is intermittency and unreliability.
If I were a wind industry trougher, I’d be getting a little worried at this point. Finally the U.S. has an administration prepared to call the green propagandists’ bluff and put an end to this disgraceful scam. Soon some very disgusting people – and seriously: there are few industries more corrupt and repulsive than wind – are going to learn the very expensive lesson that an industry dependent on subsidies does not last long once the subsidies dry up. But the birds and bats and the people of the rural U.S. can start to breathe – and sleep – a little more easily.