While the Obama stimulus program provided over $30 billion in subsidies for renewable energy, all the wind turbines in the Midwest are not providing any energy at this moment of greatest need. In fact they are actually using power from the grid, making it more difficult to power your air conditioner, not less.
This is just one of the scientific and engineering facts never made available to the public. Facts and science are incompatible with political correctness.
From North Dakota to Texas (the country’s biggest wind energy generator) and east to Ohio and beyond the nation is under a huge high-pressure system.
What does a high-pressure system mean? Little or no wind and therefore zero wind energy to relieve the fossil fuel and nuclear energy plants from some of the burden of electricity production.
Since the latest versions of these giant wind turbines require wind speeds of about 22 MPH before they generate any electricity this means they are actually taking energy from the grid to keep them selves running in standby mode. Wind turbines require energy to keep the turbines moving because of the metal fatigue that accompanies rotating devices that weigh over 40 tons and are 400 feet tall. Also lights, computers and an oil pump large enough to circulate the 500 gallons of oil contained in the wind turbine’s gearbox.
So the supposed savior of the country’s energy needs is a $30 billion bust, unavailable to the taxpayers when it is most needed.
Here’s a report on wind power in Texas during a 2010 heat wave.
Not only does wind power not work it costs about 100 times more in subsidies.
In a 2007 study the EIA (Energy Information Administration) determined wind subsidies were about 40 – 100 times the subsidies for fossil fuels or $23 for wind vs. .25 for NG.
So it cost taxpayers a lot more but is not available when really needed.
Promises of ending wind power’s subsidies go back to 1983.
In 1983, a study by Booz, Allen & Hamilton concluded:
The private sector can be expected to develop improved solar and wind technologies which will begin to become competitive and self-supporting on a national level by the end of the decade if assisted by tax credits and augmented by federally sponsored R&D.”
So in 1982 it was predicted subsidies for wind would end in 1989 yet they continue unabated.
Chris Flavin of the Worldwatch Institute said back in the 1984:
“Tax credits have been essential to the economic viability of wind farms so far, but will not be needed within a few years.”
One would assume Mr. Flavin’s “few years” meant something less than “27 years.”
A 1976 study by the Department of Energy estimated that wind power could supply nearly 20% of all U.S. electricity by 1995. Now the DOE has updated its schedule: 20% by 2030 only 35 years beyond its original projection. And the current plan has about as much chance of becoming reality as the original estimate.
If we covered Lake County with wind farms we would only match Zion nuclear power output.
The mothballed Zion nuclear plant produced 2GW (Giga-watts) of power on 237 acres. To reproduce that output with wind power would require 3,600 40-story turbines covering 477,000 acres. Lake County has a total of 875,000 acres but only 476,000 of that is land – the rest is water. The huge area required is because the latest wind turbine models require at least 130 acres each in order to function properly. If they are too close to each other turbulence from one will affect the output of the ones downstream from it similar to the turbulence that follows behind a jet aircraft taking off. Cass County IL has documented evidence of this from a wind proposal under consideration (see here).
That would take care of the foreclosure problem in Lake County because there would not be any houses – just giant, useless windmills.
Although the Cass proposal is for 100 mega-watts rated output, wind power is at most 22% efficient i.e. most of the time (like during heat-waves) the wind turbine is not producing energy. Overall a 100MW facility would produce at most 22 MW on average over a year’s time.
Another way to look at it is only two wind turbines would take up more space than the entire Zion plant.
Wind power only exists because of 30 years of taxpayer subsidies.
If you cannot get 2,500 year old technology to work after 30 years of subsidies it’s time to cut the cord. Total taxpayer subsidies from all sources (federal, state, local) is estimated at about $29 billion per year (see here).
And here in IL taxpayer costs for wind power are now being piggybacked onto taxpayer subsidies for school districts. Districts are putting tax dollars into wind investments, which are further subsidized by taxpayers (see here). So we pay double.
Wind power does not work now and will not work in the foreseeable future. Here is one area everyone should agree to cut.
Too bad for Al Gore, but who cares?
To read more about wind power see my article, “Pickin’ on Boone Pickens.”
Bill Zettler is a free-lance writer and consultant specializing in public sector compensation. He can be contacted at this mail address.