The Faults, Fallacies and Failures of Wind Power

English: Some of the over 4000 wind turbines a...

English: Some of the over 4000 wind turbines at Altamont Pass, in California. Developed during a period of tax incentives in the 1980s, this wind farm has more turbines than any other in the United States. These units are likely Enertech E44-40kWs. Photo taken by Xah lee in 2003-07. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Guest essay by Viv Forbes

Wind power is not free. All natural energy resources such as coal, wind and sun appear “free” – no one has to incur costs to create them. But turning a “free” resource into usable electricity costs money for collecting, generating and distributing that energy. To consumers and tax payers, the real cost of wind power is very high, no matter how well it is hidden by politicians.

Wind power is not reliable. No one can make the wind blow when the energy is needed – in fact, wind farms produce, on average, less than 30% of their nameplate capacity, often at times of lower demand.

Wind power harms the environment. Because of the large area of land needed to collect low-density wind energy, wind power requires more land-clearing, needs more transmission lines, kills more wildlife, lights more bushfires and uglifies more landscape per unit of electricity than conventional power. And the subsonic whine of the turbines drives neighbours batty and devalues local properties.

Like hydro-power, wind power is limited, with few suitable sites. And every wind turbine slows the wind, thus reducing the wind energy available to any downwind turbines. It is “renewable’ but it is not unlimited.

Wind power is justified by claims that it reduces emissions and thus reduces global warming. However, when all the steel, concrete, construction, maintenance, replacement and rehabilitation are taken into account, wind power contributes nothing to reducing emissions or changing global climate.

However wind turbines DO change the local weather. Wind is the major component of weather. Winds bring moisture to the inland, clear pollution from the cities, and change air temperatures everywhere. Wind towers rob the wind of its energy, affecting local wind speeds and changing local weather patterns.

Wind power is an expensive, intermittent and limited energy source that degrades the environment, kills birds, affects the local weather but does nothing to improve global climate.

It should be paid for by those who want it, not by captive taxpayers or electricity consumers.

Viv Forbes,

Rosewood Qld Australia

forbes@carbon-sense.com

More reading for those interested:

Renewable Energy becoming a financial nightmare in Germany:

http://www.epaw.org/documents.php?lang=en&article=cost11

Wind Farm Performance vs Demand:

http://windfarmperformance.info/documents/analysis/monthly/aemo_wind_201203_hhour.pdf

Wind Farm noise harms health and sleep:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/9653429/Wind-farm-noise-does-harm-sleep-and-health-say-scientists.html

Spanish wind farms kill 6 to 18 million birds & bats a year:

http://savetheeaglesinternational.org/releases/spanish-wind-farms-kill-6-to-18-million-birds-bats-a-year.html

Wind farms are a greater threat to wildlife than climate change:

http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/8807761/wind-farms-vs-wildlife/

Wind turbines cause fog:

http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/its-an-ill-wind/

Wind turbines cause local heating:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-04-30/wind-farms-linked-to-temperature-rises/3979930

Wind power Has Limits. The more you use the less there is:

http://www.abc.net.au/environment/articles/2013/04/09/3732966.htm

Why Wind Won’t Work:

http://carbon-sense.com/2011/02/08/why-wind-wont-work/

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chris

Do wind turbines cause bush fires? I think that this statement devalues the rest of the article.

pat

Death machines that cannot even pay for the manufacture. Ridiculous. Absurd.

Here’s a truly shocking example of the “green” wind farm deceit practised in New Zealand.
http://nzwindfarms.wordpress.com/

As a response to Chris – first comment. Localised drying does occur and turbine fires are almost impossible to put out.
http://news.discovery.com/earth/weather-extreme-events/hot-wind-farms-120429.htm
“Analysts say wind power is a good complement to solar power, because winds often blow more strongly at night while solar power is only available during daytime hours. But Zhou and his colleagues found that turbulence behind the wind turbine blades stirs up a layer of cooler air that usually settles on the ground at night, and mixes in warm air that is on top.”

chris says:
May 10, 2013 at 12:17 am
Do wind turbines cause bush fires? I think that this statement devalues the rest of the article.
*
I suppose they might. Plenty seem to catch fire. Check out this link (great pics). 🙂
http://www.windbyte.co.uk/safety.html

Do you like misqueitos (I give up, SP?) those pesky little insects who fly around and bite you raising welts and itching. Well, wind mills are not only bird choppers, they are bat choppers. Google NC and bat killing. I know, I know, nobody loves bats. They are spooky, and in everybody’s mind lurks vampire, but they eat misquitos right and left.. Misquitos spread disease. Enough said.

MorningGuy

@ A.D. Everard,
you suppose ?
Hey at least they don’t create 20sqm km of uninhabitable land for 1000 years like fukushima did when things go wrong.
Wonder what that did to property prices there… hmmm ???

wayne Job

Regardless of all the nasty things wind turbines do the biggest and nastiest problem is that they are not viable in an economic way, thus we all pay and pay for smarties to make money.

MorningGuy

@ stan stendera, Ohs Noes !
Save our bats, not our precious bats that eat misqueitos (sic) ! lol

With all due respect, you don’t understand the true nature of wind energy. A wind farm is a device to turn climate hysteria into state subsidies.

Tony from Oz, a regular on JoNova’s blog, has an economic assessment on wind power here. He discusses the subject in great depth.
http://grumpydenier.wordpress.com/guest-posts/tony-from-oz/is-wind-power-cheaper-than-coal-fired-power-well-no/

Everything about the current usage of wind turbines is backwards. They were never intended as a primary power source, but as backup power, charging banks of batteries to be drawn on for a limited time until your main power source was brought back on line.
There are two basic types of windmills: the hard to maintain, difficult to place, horizontal bird choppers, and the easy to maintain, (generator is housed in the base), easy to place (they’re smaller), non bird chopping Vertical Axis windmill. (Birds are attracted to updrafts, VAW causes down drafts). Go figure.

Steve C

“It should be paid for by those who want it” – I absolutely concur, and have done ever since the UK Gov went mad and started mandating the monstrous turbines. They’re threatening to force “smart” meters on us all anyway (funny how I automatically distrust any tech described as “smart”), so yes, let those who believe in this junk tech set their “smart” meters to use only wind power when it’s available, and let the rest of us have proper, reliable power all the time. Let’s see which group freezes to death first in the wintertime.

richard verney

There is no case for wind. This has always been blindingly obvious even to the low levels of scientific understanding enjoyed by politicians.
It has been known from the outset that wind is an unreliable ‘energy’ source such that almost 100% backup is required to meet demand when wind conditions are inappropriate (insufficient wind, or even wind being too striong). That backup comes from conventionally powered generation which generation emits CO2 such that installing wind farms does not reduce CO2 emissions, even before one takes account of the CO2 in the manufacture, transport, installation and coupling to the grid. It is note worthy that there has not been one single conventional powered generator closed any where in the world because it was rendered redundant due to the installation of a wind farm. If no significant savings in CO2 emissions results from rolling out wind farms they fail to meet their green agenda, and there is therefore no point at all in generating power in this way since from a financial perspective, the costs of generation is prohibitively expensive.
The article suggests that turbines typically generate about 30% of nameplate rating (installed capacity). That is a tad optomistic. Evidence is coming in that it is typically between 22% and 28%. More significantly, power generation by wind is often at its least efficiency just when energy demand is at its highest. For example, during the last few winters in the UK, there has been a blocking high situated approximately over the UK and Northern Europe which has remained for about 3 to 6 weeks. A couple of winters ago, I monitored the energy being supplied by wind every day over that period. It was typically between 3 to 5% of nameplate rating (installed capacity). There were many days when it was less than 3%, and only a few days when it reached the heady heights of 8%. When it is very cold, and there is no or all but no wind, often energy has to be taken from the grid to power heaters to keep the oil warm and sometimes the rotars rotating slowly. So when it is said that wind farms in total were producing say 3% of their nameplate rating (installed capacity), the chances are that there were many turbines drawing power from the grid such that net supply is even less. Had the UK been dependent upon wind for producing about 30% of its required energy budget (this is about 17GW out of a total budget of aout 50GW), there would have been rolling blackouts. There would have been many cold related deaths since UK housing is old, damp and not well insulated and without electrity central heating does not work: even gas or oil powered heating requires electrity for ignition and pump circulation.
The article suggest that electrity from wind is very expensive (which is no surprise given the low density of the energy supply). Evidence is coming in that wind turbines need more maintenance than was initially projected and that they have a life expectancy more in the region of 12 to 15 years rather than the claimed 25 years. This will grreatly add to the cost of energy production from wind since wind turbines may need replacing every 15 years whereas conventionally powered generation may last for 60 years.
Some say that wind is a new technology and should be supported in its infant years. That claim is rubbish. Extracting power from wind is an old technology which has been around for hundreds of years. Further the key components such as the generator and rotar can be traced back at least 60 years and may be a lot longer. Generator design has not changed significantly in 100 years, and will not change short of employing some novel technology exploiting super conductivity, super magnetivity etc. Likewise prop design has been ongoing since the early days of aviation and this too is unlikely to change significantly in the future. The upshot of this is that it is extremely unlikely that in the future, there will be significant improvements in efficiency. If research and development extract another couple of percent efficiency that would be a surprise.
On the same theme, there will be no future economy of scale. Consider how the IC revolutionisd electronics whereby dozens, then hundreds, then thousands, then millions of transistors could be incorporated into ever increasing modules. This sort of economy of scale is not available for wind. Each wind turbine has to be a seperate structure, seperately errected, occupying its own seperate space, far away from its neighbour and seperately coupled up. There is no radical economy of scale in the pipeline.
Hence what we have now is largely what we will get. Never significantly more efficient, never significantly cheaper to install, never significantly occupying less land space. The cost of energy will never be significantly cheaper from these units. So subsidies for a fledgling industry are not well spent since it will never be significantly improved and thus can never be weaned off the subsidies. Without subsidies, windfarms are simply uneconomic.
Since they fail the economic/financial test and since they do not achieve the green agenda (ie., fail to significantly reduce CO2), they should be scrapped forth with.
PS. I am not endorsing the need to curb CO2 emissions. I merely point out that if reduction of CO2 emissions was the aim, then wind farms are a fail and this fact was known by politicians when they endorsed the wind farm initiatives.

ddpalmer

@MorningGuy
Except Fukishima didn’t create 20 sq km of uninhabitable land for 1000 years.
And yeah just screw all those endangered bats killed by the turbines. I mean saving the environment by destroying the environment seems to be a good idea! lol

Matt

Who ever called any energy ‘free’? Windf energy is not referred to as free, but as ‘renewable’.

Robuk
David Baker

This articles has one of the few mentions I’ve seen about the fact that removing wind energy from the local weather system must affect weather patterns. If nothing else, reference to the so-called ‘butterfly effect’ would suggest that there could be larger unforseen weather effects down the line created by these windfarms

MorningGuy says:
May 10, 2013 at 12:54 am
1000 years? Cite please.
Also your apparent belief that bats are expendable seems to indicate how little you really care for the environment.

john

The more I look into it, the more wind turbines seem like a idea that doesn’t pay. Here are two posts (with links) involving New England towns bailing out on their wind turbines:
http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/what-can-you-do-with-a-drunken-sailor-i-mean-broken-wind-turbine/
http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/struggling-arc-hatchery-drops-plans-for-wind-turbine/
The only thing attractive about the ugly objects are the government subsidies.
Here are two posts (with links) regarding the killing or birds and bats.
http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/more-about-wind-turbines-killing-birds-and-bats/
http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/for-the-birds/
Can it be true there is a cover up about birds being killed? When I get time, I want to research further. You can’t believe everything you read on the internet, but there to seem to be some bird-lovers who are hopping mad.

My comment at 3:34 AM may have vanished into the spam filter. (I’d be more patient, but I have to leave for work.)

Ian W

JPdeRuiter (@JPdeRuiter) says:
May 10, 2013 at 1:04 am

Correct.
People have to remember that these installations are nothing to do with the supply of energy they are for farming subsidies. These subsidy farms appear when politicians wish to launder tax monies to give to their supporters, family and friends. You can tell a subsidy farm as the owners put windmills or solar cells on them. They will run until the cost of maintenance exceeds the subsidy or the subsidies run out, at which point the subsidy farming company declares bankruptcy and the windmill and solar panel markers are abandoned and left to corrode (google abandoned windmills). Meanwhile the subsidy farmers find more politicians with subsidies and form a new subsidy farming company to build a new subsidy farm to farm those subsidies till they run out.

Jimbo

I read on a blog recently (can’t recall) that the issued of the cost of decommissioning wind turbines is still up in the air. That is who is going to pay for decommissioning? Can anyone confirm this?
The other problems with wind power is as follows:

The Scotsman – 26 December 2010
‘Green’ Scotland relying on French nuclear power
SCOTLAND’S wind farms are unable to cope with the freezing weather conditions – grinding to a halt at a time when electricity demand is at a peak………..Output from major wind farms fell to as low as 2.5 per cent of their potential generation capacity during the cold snap……..

Daily Mail – 26th January 2011
In China, the true cost of Britain’s clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale
This toxic lake poisons Chinese farmers, their children and their land. It is what’s left behind after making the magnets for Britain’s latest wind turbines…..
……….it is contributing to a vast man-made lake of poison in northern China.

More on windpower failures from Matt Ridley.

Keitho

Wind farms are the new mono-rails. They look trendy, attract subsidies, don’t do what they say they will, stop working just as the warranties run out and are a pain to keep going. Just like mono-rails which are always chosen by the few and paid for by the many.

Ian W

Jimbo says:
May 10, 2013 at 3:44 am
I read on a blog recently (can’t recall) that the issued of the cost of decommissioning wind turbines is still up in the air. That is who is going to pay for decommissioning? Can anyone confirm this?

As I said in my post before yours – once the maintenance cost exceeds the subsidy or the subsidy is withdrawn these windmills are just abandoned.
http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/wind_energys_ghosts_1.html
There should be a contract in place for each windfarm that requires a specific ‘average’ amount of power to be delivered per month for say 25 years. The contract would require money to be put into escrow (or some other mechanism) that would be used to decommission the windfarm – remove windmills, concrete bases. service roads, power lines and pylons and return the windfarm site to its previous condition. However, most of these contracts are political and the civil servants doing the contracts are under pressure to get the contract out and possibly have NO idea about hard nosed engineering contracts.
In less than 15 years the number of dead windmills will start to become a political embarassment – especially those offshore where the cost of maintenance will be completely unsupportable. They will become rotting dangerous eyesores. Monuments to political stupidity and to those who died of cold in fuel poverty to provide the subsidies. TWO THOUSAND extra deaths from cold and fuel poverty in UK in the first two weeks of March 2013 alone, and not a mention by any politician or political party, It is not only bats and birds dying but nobody cares.

Silver Ralph

chris says: May 10, 2013 at 12:17 am
Do wind turbines cause bush fires?
________________________________
Yes, and more frequently than wind-proponents would like to admit.
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02079/turbine-new_2079144i.jpg.
.

Rosko

Yes, they do cause bush fires because they occasionally catch fire. More often that you’d think actually. Check it out.

8 The wind bloweth where it listeth , and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh , and whither it goeth : so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Alfrd

Anyone who believes that the absence of fuel costs gives renewables any cost advantage
need to be informed that the cost of nuclear fuel for a power plant is less than a penny per kilowatthour. Closer to half a cent, actually.

Not mentioned is the fact that any uncontrollable power source allowed to pollute the grid carries
with it side effect costs – those expenses required in order to accept that unreliable power, like excessive duplication of power capacity to ensure backup power is available when the wind dies.
And that backup capacity cots plenty, even is seldom needed.

Silver Ralph

richard verney says: May 10, 2013 at 1:12 am
It has been known from the outset that wind is an unreliable ‘energy’ source such that almost 100% backup is required to meet demand when wind conditions are inappropriate.
____________________________________
Worse than that, it has been systematically covered up too. I placed a section on the Wiki page about wind intermittency many years ago, and it was deleted on ten or more occasions. I note there is an item there now, but I think there are still major mistakes and omissions in this section:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power#Variability
a. The figures given for “increase in system operation cost” due to wind look very low to me. Since all wind has to be backed up 100% with conventional power plants, the increase in costs must be more than that. They are probably not factoring in the cost of 1-to-1 wind and conventional construction, for each wind farm in operation. Pretending that existing conventional power plants can be used (and not counting their cost) is not honest accounting.
b. Wiki have still deleted my paragraph on brownouts and surges in the grid, which still threatens to bring grids down. Spain especially suffers from this, because of its high percentage of wind power, and their grid regularly suffers wind surges.
c. Wiki have still deleted my comments on the practicality of wind power. I quoted extensively from this report (below) which states that Denmark (which at that time was the largest wind producer), has NEVER USED ANY of its wind power, as it is too unreliable and threatens to bring the Danish grid down. What it does, is export the power to other nations via the inter-connectors, (Scandinavia can easily and quickly turn off hydro-power, to compensate for a surge in Danish wind. Or vice versa.) However, Denmark has to supply this wind power to Scandinavia at a very favourable rate for people to take it, and so Denmark is not really benefiting from this trade and Danish energy remains very expensive.
Why wind power ‘works’ for Denmark
http://incoteco.com/upload/CIEN.158.2.66.pdf
Quote:
Denmark is exporting most of its wildly fluctuating wind power to larger neighbours while finding other solutions for supply and demand at home.
Quote:
Denmark makes full use of its interconnections for balancing wind power as there is a strong correlation between wind output and net power outflows (through the interconnector).
(In other words, when the wind blows, Denmark exports its wind power to Scandinavia.)
Quote:
Norway and Sweden, with their mainly hydro-supplied grids, are generally able
to accommodate power surges from west Denmark.
Quote:
Sometimes the Danish wind carpet produces maximum output when there is little demand. On other occasions it delivers no energy when demand is high. There were 54 days in 2002, for example, when wind supplied less than 1% of demand.
.

John Law

“However, when all the steel, concrete, construction, maintenance, replacement and rehabilitation are taken into account, wind power contributes nothing to reducing emissions or changing global climate.”
Not to mention the CO2 produced by the “back up” (75%/80% of the time) fossil plants running inefficiently on single cycle. The drying of peat in higland locations in the UK apparently releases more CO2 than is notionally saved.
They are also blighting some of the most beautiful landscapes and seascapes in the UK; the work of the Devil, I think!

Patrick

“MorningGuy says:
May 10, 2013 at 12:54 am”
What a completely ignorant post. Not one person, not one single person has died from radiation issues at the Fukushima plant (And lets not ignore the fact the plant survived the largest recorded earthquake in modern human history AS WELL AS a tsunami) or in the 20km surrounding area.

MorningGuy

archonix says:
May 10, 2013 at 2:48 am
“1000 years? Cite please.” look up the half life yourself …
“Also your apparent belief that bats are expendable seems to indicate how little you really care for the environment.”
Who give a stuff about the environment! It’s looked out for itself for a few billions of years, I’m sure the damn bats will survive the odd one being culled ! Since when did website become a save the endangered species site???

starzmom

The midwest power pool, with 12,000 megawatts of wind power, only credits 13% of that power as available to meet its summer generation requirement this year.

klem

“Wind farms are the new mono-rails.”
Oooh, that is just perfect. That sums them up completely. Excellent.

ddpalmer

MorningGuy says:
May 10, 2013 at 5:15 am
“look up the half life yourself …” What half life genuis? Cs-137 is ~30 years, that means it will all be gone from decay in just about 300 years and that ignores it being washed away by rain. Also genius, the presence of radioactivity doesn’t make an area uninhabitable or do you believe the whole planet is uninhabitable despite the presence of so much life?
“Who give a stuff about the environment!” Lots of people.
” I’m sure the damn bats will survive the odd one being culled !” And your credentials to make this claim are?
“Since when did website become a save the endangered species site???” I didn’t realize it had. I thought it was still a website that allowed concerned people to discuss a wide range of issues.
Now how about you actually respond to a single one of the questions raised about your original comment?

What the 30% nameplate efficiency rating fails to take into account is the wholesale price of electricity. This varies according to supply and demand, as one would expect. So, when the wind farms are producing, the wholesale price is low and when there is no wind the price is high. When there is too much supply, prices even go negative to avoid damaging the grid.
What this means is that when there is lots of wind, prices for energy from wind turbines is likely to be very low or even negative. The grid doesn’t want the power when the wind is blowing. However, because they are subsidized through “Feed in Tariffs”, the turbines keep producing power, regardless of the risk to the grid.
What this means is that the power produced by the turbines has low economic value, and may well have negative economic value. The more you switch your baseline generation over to wind power, the worse the situation is likely to become. No company in its right mind would build wind turbines if they had to compete with other power stations through the wholesale price of electricity.
Wind Turbines exist because the owners do not have to compete in the market. They receive a guaranteed price for electricity, regardless of the wholesale price. Even when the price goes negative, and companies that are producing power have to PAY for adding this to the grid, the wind turbines still get paid to to add even more power to the grid.
Only governments could create a scheme whereby taxpayers pay much more than market price for something that actually makes the situation worse. Next we will have governments paying farmers not to plant crops. Oh wait, we already have that.

mike g

@Morning Guy
Fukishima basically created “20 sq km” of land where the average annual dose would be about what the extra dose is living next to all the granite in Denver, CO. Next point, please. Wind is an environmental disaster no matter how you look at it. The fact that “environmentalists” support it speaks volumes.

lurker passing through, laughing

This is a devastating review of the limits of wind.
Wind power is truly a pre-industrial age non-solution for the 21st century.

Chuck Nolan

Jimbo says:
May 10, 2013 at 3:44 am……………………
There should be a contract in place for each windfarm that requires a specific ‘average’ amount of power to be delivered per month for say 25 years.
———————————————
Jimbo you must be a little bit confused.
I’d agree with you 100% if wind farms were about doing what’s right for the taxpayers like saving money, generating electricity, helping the environment etc, but they’re not.
Wind farms and solar power are good ways to steal from the taxpayers and in reality they’re about making friends lots of money and generating mega-donations for politicians. The useful greens may care but it’s easy to tell the people in charge have an attitude of flora and fauna and the environment be damned.
So in this respect wind farms and solar are hugely successful concepts the greenies love to exaggerate and even tell outright lies about.
cn

Patrick B

At Morning Guy:
For God’s sake man, educate yourself and stop embarrassing yourself like most liberal useful idiots.
http://japandailypress.com/nuclear-exclusion-zone-designation-lifted-in-fukushima-town-residents-to-visit-homes-2525781

Whilst wind farms may have a marginal role in the right locations (such as the Outer Hebrides in Scotland) it can only be a small part of the solution at best.
For me local solar panels offer a better long term bet for householders and maybe businesses. If the technology cost comes down by a factor of 10 (say to 10 cents per Watt hour of generating capacity) and battery technology develops to allow storage, then sticking panels on your roof would be economic (without the massive subsidies which we currently have in the UK to keep the industry going). Micro generation also avoids the need for big power transmission lines.

Jimbo

Chuck Nolan says:
May 10, 2013 at 5:50 am ….
Jimbo you must be a little bit confused.

The confusion is all yours. Read again what I said and see if you can find the quote you attributed to me. 😉

Patrick

It’s rather ironic that on TV tonight is the classic movie “The China Syndrome”.

Espen

As much as I appreciate this post, I think it should have been mentioned that Viv Forbes is a coal industry executive – at least to avoid the predictable “team attacks”.

Allencic

High school physics explains simply and cleanly why wind power can NEVER work. The classic equation for energy says it all. E = MV2. The M (mass) of air is very tiny. The V (velocity) of even the strongest wind isn’t that great. Even squaring the V as the equation tells you to do doesn’t yield a very large number. Low mass multiplied by low velocity means that E (energy) can NEVER be great. Now if you change V to C (the speed of light) then small mass doesn’t matter. Maybe someone can figure out how to use the mass of a teensy weensy atom (say uranium) and the speed of light to create enormous amounts of energy? Nah, that could never work.

Mark Thoman

I started a supporter of large megawatt range horizontal axis turbines, but lost my enthusiasm for industrial scale wind during extended contract talks with several wind representatives. The power companies do as little as possible to provide remedies for the problems they create, including but not limited to:
– Use of full spectrum herbicides to keep access roads clear with no regard to run off caused soil and crop contamination
– No provisions for clean up of spills when changing out turbine gearing and tower lubricants
– Permanent destruction of top soil structures for access roads, tower pads, and distribution lines far wider in area than needed simply for convenience during construction
– Minimal provisions for restoration of roads, pads, or distribution line areas upon termination
Green energy of the wind and PV solar types are best deployed in a distributed generation model, but that robs the power companies of their restricted access monopoly, and lobbyists of source money for politicians to keep Power controlled by politics. States are under heavy lobby pressure to pass “Smart Grid” type bills similar to Illinois, where provisions of the bill eliminate pay in tariff incentives, and add costly barriers to new small scale local commercial generation.

Chad

First, wind can have other purposes than replacing the fossil fuels. Consider Texas where wind is fairly abundent, but water is not. If the power generated by wind were generated by other means (nuclear, gas, coal) there would typically be steam produced. Yes, agriculture uses more water than power generation, but if water can be conserved that is a plus in arid regions.
Second, nameplate capacity may be in the 20’s for all installed turbines, but newer farms perform far better, some approaching 50%. This is due to generators that perform better at lower wind speeds and better communication and control of the towers. Additionally GE has developed a battery system that allows an accurate prediction of constant delivered power over a 1 hour time interval (small battery only stores 1 minutes of power – most of the gain is from the wind prediction algorithm). There is certainly room for improvement, but that is headed in the right direction.
Third, peaking plants keep spinning reserves in place. The problem you have is not with spinning reserves per se, but why they are spinning (to back up wind rather than to come online at known peak intervals). Those gas plants are already spinning whether wind is online or not. Please stop complaining about spinning reserves until you have a plan to flatten the demand curve in general, otherwise the complaint is disengenuous.
Fourth, storage options are improving. Compressed air has been put in place in a couple locations, pumped hydro is already in place, liquid air is being developed, and an inovative “train on incline” has been proposed. More realistically CA buys power from Hoover Dam, and will likely be buying wind from WY in the near future. If Hoover Dam is used to level out wind farms the innate backup will reduce the storage premium to zero. Wind is blowing, stop the hydro. Wind stops, release water from the resivoir. Over a year everything will level out. This sort of leverage would allow hydro to level a collosal amount of wind (especially when combined with conventional plants operating at optimal capacity).
Fifth, many of the wind farms are on private land leased by ranchers. They chose to use/lease this land for that purpose. If the noise is a problem, that is what noise ordinances are for. If the noise level does not violate a noise ordinance then shutup, as the local community has already decided that the particular level of noise is acceptable. If the rancher leases the land and then decides he cannot live with the noise level then he has a problem, since he freely entered the contract.
Sixth, the roads will take care of themselves in pretty short time if the windmill is abandoned (many of the roads are not even paved). The steel in the base is worth enough that someone will come out and claim it along with the copper in the generator. The remaining issue is the blade. However, 25 years of power for a long term cost of three large blades seems like a fair environmental tradeoff.
Finally, fires happen. If you want to ban any activity that sometimes causes fires what else would be on the block?
The remaining issues would be bird kills and subsidies. I can agree on ending federal feed-in-tarrifs, although states should be allowed to make their own decisions. The bird kill issue would really have to look at a comparison between wind and the alternative. That is, is there a greater disruption to wildlife habitat overall from a stationary wind turbines, or from surface mining an area large enough to provide an equivalent amount of delivered power. While I can freely admit that wind turbines kill birds and bats, what I have not seen justified is the claim “The environmental impact of wind turbines due to bat kills is greater than the environmental impact of mining an equivalent delivered power of coal.”
There are problems with wind power – especially in terms of subsidies and “takings.” Perhaps a good comprimise would be to lower the subsidy by $5.05/MWh over the next four years and to fund research into how to reduce takings. Low power radar and shining a laser in the eyes of approaching eagles? High frequency noise near bat colonies?
Here is a question by which you can determine whether your stance is reasonable or unreasonable: Is there anything that can be offered by which you would become a supporter of wind power? If there is nothing then your objections are not rational.