Wednesday wit – cartoon by Josh

Josh writes: Last Sunday Christopher Booker wrote a brilliant article “Why are greens so keen to destroy the world’s wildlife?” He says:

When Professor David MacKay stepped down as chief scientific adviser

to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) last year, he

produced a report comparing the environmental impact of a fracking

site to that of wind farms.

Over 25 years, he calculated, a single “shalegas pad” covering five

acres, with a drilling rig 85ft high (only needed for less than a year),

would produce as much energy as 87 giant windturbines, covering 5.6

square miles and visible up to 20 miles away.

Which made me think: where would you rather live, in a county full of giant turbines littering the countryside, killing eagles and bats and producing unreliable electricity, or one with a small discreet gas tap somewhere?Turbine_County_Fracking_County_scr

Cartoons by Josh

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July 8, 2015 4:53 am

Great cartoon, it puts the issue nicely in perspective. This should be widely circulated, it might make people think – or is that asking too much??

Reply to  Harrowsceptic
July 8, 2015 10:20 am

No, it’s a totally dishonest cartoon, which creates it own misleading perspective.
Your happpy, happy green field image has not roads for the stream lorries that will be ploughing in and out to bring in the water/chemicals needed for fracking, neither does it recognise that principal object is not surface results but the possiblitliy of polluting ground water.
The left hand image with it’s barren grey landscape if equally inappropriate. There is no reason why land under and around turbines should be desolate. The usual complaint is that they are spoiling beautiful countryside by their simple presense.
The usual rounds of aplause from the clapping seals does nothing to raise the creadibility of WUWT.
I enjoy the informative content here, but kind of brainless and deceptive post is more suggestive that if you wnat to oppose wind turbines and favour fracking you need to be untruthful.

Reply to  Mike
July 8, 2015 10:53 am

There will be drilling and fracking for a year then the well head won’t take up even one acre. The water pollution issue has been studied and proved false by the EPA. That result must surely be distressing to the agency to admit. There will be more roads to build the windmills than are needed for the gas well.
Ok, I’ll grant you the gray beneath the windmills isn’t true. But then he would have needed to show all the bird and bat carcasses.

The Old Coach
Reply to  Mike
July 8, 2015 10:59 am

Well, I happen to live in gas country, and was just informed that my neighbor has leased his land for a drilling pad. Yes, there’s going to be large trucks, the eyesore of a 150-foot drill rig, the potential for surface water contamination by spills of diesel fuel and drilling mud, and silt from the construction encroaching onto my pasture. (The claim that the actual fracking process contaminates groundwater is so bogus as to be laughable.) I won’t like it, but in a year or so it will all be gone, leaving only the wellhead and collection tanks for liquids.
Compare to a 300 foot tall wind turbine looming in my peripheral vision for the rest of my life. Which might be short, because I’d likely commit suicide just to get away from it.

Reply to  Mike
July 8, 2015 11:12 am

Nice typical response from a mook that knows all about natural gas production and hydraulic fracturing from a docudrama. Five acres is being very generous, as when a gas well is in production, only the largest surface disturbances (counting the road and everything) are near this large. You are obviously having trouble seeing the main point of the cartoon so here’s the real deal. The tiny infrastructure in the top picture provides as much energy as the relatively large infrastructure in the bottom picture.

Reply to  Mike
July 8, 2015 11:55 am

I will assume you do not live near an IWT. The “desolate” appearance is a zoning requirement for residential buffers, up to two miles in California. Good enough for the periodic blade separation (they usually don’t fly farther than one mile). But, if you are capable of hearing low frequency infrasound, even two miles may not be enough. The service road network chops up the landscape quite a bit, too.

Reply to  Mike
July 8, 2015 11:56 am

Mike July 8, 2015 at 10:20 am
The left hand image with it’s barren grey landscape if equally inappropriate. There is no reason why land under and around turbines should be desolate.

Interesting observation, but have you ever travelled past or through large wind farms? Here in the West (California and Oregon) where I have lived all my 67 years, the wind farms are established on large tracts of desert or grassland (terraformed from high desert, of course), and there is never anything allowed to grow normally in these fields, leaving them quite desolate. I am not suggesting any kind of causality or even any kind of “reason why”, just an observation.
The Green Blob does insist that wind farms are compatible with agriculture. I suppose it might be possible to install a wind farm on top of a working farm, but what happens too often is something like this from
(Sorry I don’t have the knack for hyperlinking in this comment box.)
“Back in 2007, posted a document entitled “What have I done?” The piece, written by Don Bangart of Chilton, Wisconsin, was based on a two- hour interview he conducted with a farmer in Northeast Fond du Lac County who agreed to lease a portion of his land for wind development. In the interview, the landowner makes several observations including this about how his land was managed:
“I watched stakes being driven in the fields and men using GPS monitors to place markers here and there. When the cats and graders started tearing 22 foot wide roads into my fields, the physical changes started to impact not only me and my family, but unfortunately, my dear friends and neighbors. Later, a 4 foot deep by 2 foot wide trench started diagonally across my field.
Aerial view of turbine base construction 2: Stephenson County “A field already divided by their road was now being divided again by the cables running to a substation. It was now making one large field into 4 smaller, irregularly shaped plots. …We soon realized that the company places roads and trenches where they will benefit the company most, not the land owner. … All of the rocks we labored so hard to pick in our youth were replaced in a few hours by miles of roads packed hard with 10 inches of large breaker rock. Costly tiling we installed to improve drainage had now been cut into pieces by company trenching machines.”
Of course, the complete story is much more nuanced than any black or white sketch will reveal.

Brent Hargreaves
Reply to  Mike
July 8, 2015 12:00 pm

Time for dinner, wi’ none o them nasty MOLECULES in it…
For the educationally challenged like youse, I should add: /sarc

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Mike
July 8, 2015 12:23 pm

Humorists often exaggerate and take liberties with the truth, with a big wink and a nod. It is part of their stock in trade, and is all part of the fun. The underlying truth though, is still there.

Michael 2
Reply to  Mike
July 8, 2015 12:24 pm

Mike says “The usual rounds of aplause from the clapping seals does nothing to raise the creadibility of WUWT.”
Say what?
“I enjoy the informative content here, but kind of brainless and deceptive post is…”
I also enjoy the informative content here. I do not understand clapping seals or “creadibility”. I think you are pointing out the obvious; that the number of readers expressing approval is not by itself evidence of correctness. This is true anywhere by any media but it seems self-evident that a great many people DO believe in the power of consensus to reveal truth and information.

Reply to  Mike
July 8, 2015 3:31 pm

“…The usual rounds of aplause (sic) from the clapping seals does nothing to raise the creadibility (sic) of WUWT…”

You’re correct mike. Mostly because none of the normal readers and commenters at WUWT need frequent feedings of herring to reinforce behavior.
Unlike the trolls that seek to infest WUWT that exhibit traits indicating having been hired to keep paid malicious watch or those of deluded groupie and often both.
Back to Josh’s excellent artwork. Josh nailed the pictorial representation as only a maintenance road is left at a fracking site. The rest is natural to the locality. Safe farming could be literally right up to the pad itself.
Wind farms require a road to each and every turbine, roads that endure frequent travel to each and every turbine. Wind farms require safety zones, safety zone as in citizens are not allowed; there are those who insist from personal experience that enforcement of the safety zone enables wind farm’s to conveniently and surreptitiously discard bird kills before anyone can report them.
Wind turbines are known to ‘catastrophically fail’. Ever hear of even one fracking pad fail dangerously?

Reply to  Mike
July 8, 2015 3:42 pm

“Ever hear of even one fracking pad fail dangerously?”

Reply to  Mike
July 8, 2015 5:22 pm

I have had a well on my land for years and other wells around me. The lease on my land is for less than five acres but the road and well site uses only a little more than an acre. The well went operational in 1953 or 54 and is still pumping oil 61 years later. The only inconvenience is haying around them and ensuring the access road gates get closed. The well in my field looks very much like Josh’s cartoon, complete with Eagles, Elk, Deer, Cougars, Wolves, Coyotes, Moose and a great variety of birds and other animals as well as livestock. I have six working wells within rifle range of my house. Don’t even notice them. I couldn’t say the same about those rotating monstrosities that are popping up in fields a few hundred kilometres south of me. I don’t understand anyone allowing them on their land. But maybe the money is good.

Reply to  Mike
July 8, 2015 7:57 pm

–The left hand image with it’s barren grey landscape if equally inappropriate. There is no reason why land under and around turbines should be desolate. The usual complaint is that they are spoiling beautiful countryside by their simple presense. —
You don’t want trees which can block the wind. And they are ugly and make noises. A rational human would not want to live within a 1000 feet of them, and many don’t want to have them within miles of them.
But worse part is they cost too much and tend to involve a lot of governmental corruption.
Only the stupid government wants and needs them.

Reply to  Mike
July 8, 2015 9:15 pm

“Joel D. Jackson July 8, 2015 at 3:42 pm”
“Ever hear of even one fracking pad fail dangerously?”

Joel D. Jackson, again you pop up with stuff and nonsense. Oooo, a dramatic newscast by the ignorant media thrilled by drama and disaster.
Shame you didn’t dig up the actual report.

“…”They were fracking a well and something exploded, either in the pump or around the pump,” Heaster said.
Heaster said that they were pumping water down a well, part of the hydraulic fracturing process for recovering gas trapped in shale rock.
He said that the tanks that recover the water and other materials after they return to the surface are what exploded. “The holding tanks that they were pumping into, that’s what exploded,” Heaster said. “It was a supplementary operation to the drilling process, the wellhead was not involved.”

Still waiting for the fracking pad failure.

Reply to  Mike
July 8, 2015 11:58 pm

About the access roadways you will find that the fracking companies are usually obliged to upgrade the usual gravel county roads to paved standards for large loads. The infrastructure improvements implemented by the fossil fuel industry far exceed those of the county and state ability to provide.
In Alberta Canada where I live we have paved roads into the back bush and across the prairies that are the envy of most other jurisdictions. Most of these roads were the result of the fossil fuel industry.
During the last few years of oil exploration and development next door in Saskatchewan many municipal roads were upgraded to winter standards because of the need to implement constant inspection and logging of new gas well heads on an ongoing regulated basis. A side effect of this is the improved access for local isolated farmers during the long winter season.
If you check the maps of cell phone coverage by major carriers in Canada it is easy to see that Alberta has almost total provincial coverage whereas most other jurisdictions are covered only in populated areas or along the transcanada highway. Go 50 miles off and you are looking for a pay phone. All because of the oil boys!
Now the wind and solar industry have their access infrastructure provided from years earlier all paid for by private money from the fossil fuel folks. Do think the windmill installers are going to pave 60 miles of secondary county roads to install a windmill farm? they are already sucking at the government teat with all the fancy green subsidies and would not contribute one iota to public good.

Paul Mackey
Reply to  Mike
July 9, 2015 12:13 am

I live in West Sussex, a few miles from an oil well. It is in a wooded area, surrounded by farming and agricultural land and the weald, much like the cartoon depiction of the gas tap. It does have a small country lane leading up to it. It is in a beautiful part of the country, where we have lived for about 13 years.
For the first five years, we weren’t even aware the oil well existed.
So I think, in my experience Josh has got it right.

Reply to  Mike
July 9, 2015 12:24 am

Consider this: the fracking”chemical” is comparable with water with a bit of dishwasher liquid. It is pumped into underground that is black from heavy organig matter. So fracking cleans the underground from dirty organics.

Reply to  Mike
July 9, 2015 4:31 am

Bad loser.

Brad Rich
Reply to  Mike
July 10, 2015 9:31 am

I didn’t think “they” ever came here.

Cecil S. Teddy
Reply to  Harrowsceptic
July 12, 2015 5:25 pm

You skeptics claim some moral high ground on your devotion to empirical evidence. However, you’re only skeptical of things that you don’t agree with. Endless studies show Wind Farm Syndrome doesn’t exist. If it does then it is a English speaking only disease that is caught by talking to anti-wind farm activists. Similarly the impact of wind farms on birds is overstated (although the bat impact is more significant).

Michael 2
Reply to  Cecil S. Teddy
July 12, 2015 9:44 pm

Cecil S. Teddy says “you’re only skeptical of things that you don’t agree with.”
That goes without saying. 😉
It’s (almost) the definition of the word.

Michael 2
Reply to  Cecil S. Teddy
July 12, 2015 9:47 pm

Cecil S. Teddy says “Similarly the impact of wind farms on birds is overstated”
Overstated by whom? Audubon sent me this:
“Duke Energy appears to be the culprit behind the recent spate of attacks on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).
Duke Energy—the nation’s largest electric utility company—has launched a vendetta against the MBTA after being slapped with a $1 million fine for killing more than 150 migratory birds, including 14 Golden Eagles, at one of its wind farms in Wyoming.
The $25 billion company has hired a lobbying firm in Washington to help eviscerate the law. Last month, Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC)—who received $23,000 in campaign contributions from Duke—introduced two measures that would cripple America’s oldest and most important bird protection law.”
Fourteen golden eagles at ONE wind farm! I had no idea the problem was that serious. So where is your moral high ground?

Cecil S. Teddy
Reply to  Cecil S. Teddy
July 13, 2015 1:38 am

I know that you guys don’t read or trust peer reviewed papers but – . I don’t see your bird lovers campaigning against high tension power lines –

Mark from the Midwest
July 8, 2015 4:59 am

Here’s a little tidbit about the Traverse City Light and Power wind turbine, which was recently sold to a private operator at a substantial loss. The turbine was built in 1996, and was one of the first commercial wind turbines in the U.S. The whole idea was sold to the TCLP Board under the guise of “free energy.”
“The capital cost of the turbine is $785,616 and, when adding operational expenses to date of $396,278, the total cash outlay of the turbine is $1,181,894. After collecting Green Rate revenue of $107,200 and avoiding purchase power costs of $386,241, the turbine remains a deficit investment of $688,453.”

kevin kilty
Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
July 8, 2015 5:45 am

There must be a thousand stories like this. The LCCC Board thought they were “energy innovators” when they installed a 1980s technology turbine on branch campus ten years ago. Since the thing refuses to run at all its B/C is as close to zero as the number of decimal places you use.

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
July 8, 2015 5:46 am

The variable cost IS near zero. But the fixed cost is extreme.
Exclamations of “free energy” from wind/solar are childishly naive.

Reply to  Gamecock
July 8, 2015 8:15 am

The variable cost IS near zero
You want to estimate the cost of maintenance of high-torque mechanical parts 200′ off the ground?
Those are Green Jobs, too.

Reply to  Gamecock
July 8, 2015 9:09 am

Maintenance is a fixed cost.
Finance class, anyone?

Reply to  Gamecock
July 8, 2015 9:14 am

It’s lower than if you had to buy fuel, but the maintenance equipment is expensive. Due to its spread design, you have huge expenses moving cranes and people around. Each of those monstrosities runs on hundreds of gallons of diesel.
I like to joke that Wind power is really money-laundered diesel power.

Reply to  Gamecock
July 8, 2015 9:33 am

Gamecock, I think you mean, Managerial Accounting class – not Finance. Also, some Managerial Accountants might assign a variable cost to replacement of mechanical parts that are so highly correlated to operating up-time.

D.J. Hawkins
Reply to  Gamecock
July 8, 2015 10:10 am

Preventive maintenance may be a fixed cost if it’s under contract, but the things that go “sproing’ in the night cannot, by definition, be captured as fixed costs, unless you have a maintenance contract with the supplier or a third party that covers anything that can go wrong. Very pricey, that.

Reply to  Gamecock
July 8, 2015 2:26 pm

Stephen, Gamecock old soul, ben, wobble, D.J.,
My thanks – you’re all right.
Now, if I may seek your indulgence for a minute.
Imagine those towers not on good American soil, but – rather – in a part of the World Sea [70% of our planet’s surface area, near enough].
And those wind turbines are placed where there is most wind.
That’s the object. Am I wrong?
And something goes ““sproing’ in the night ” [DJ, hat-tip!].
So now a service ship must go out and transfer technicians – and, very likely, kit – to the tower.
In a roughish sea.
Let’s hope the boat master is good – and the techies have good life insurance. And the access steps haven’t corroded dangerously.
And – you know what – these towers are in the sea.
Which is salty.
Salt and warmth and moisture literally eats mechanical bits.
A bit slowly, true, if they’re ‘marinized’ (horrible word. First saw it applied to a roll and pitch recorder I saw applied to a supertanker deck rail in about 1974. Three months later it was rust and scale).

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  Gamecock
July 8, 2015 3:49 pm

All of you are right. This is the problem with people who are strictly academicians
Ask one of them to calculate the velocity of the end of the blade tip if it was to break off. Something I always alert new machine operators to when dealing with open spindles . I don’t know the max or average speed for the blades on one of these wind mills but , hmm now what was the formula for the area of a circle? Dia.. times pi. Oh well I hate math have fun.

Reply to  Gamecock
July 8, 2015 8:02 pm

Mike the Morlock
July 8, 2015 at 3:49 pm
Don’t know if present technology agrees with what I learned in the eighties, but back then, rule of thumb put the tip speed at eight times the wind velocity. Given the design speed of wind is ~twice the average velocity for that location, and a good location might average ~twelve mph, that puts the design tip speed at about 196mph.

Reply to  Gamecock
July 9, 2015 5:02 pm

Maintenance of rotating machinery is not a fixed cost. For example, consider the propeller or engine on an airplane. FAA requires overhauls based on operation (rotating) time, not calendar time. Same with these windmills. There are fixed maintenance costs, also, but blades, gearboxes and generators require maintenance based on time (and load) in use.

Cecil S. Teddy
Reply to  Gamecock
July 12, 2015 5:41 pm

Nuclear energy is far more extreme and only exists because of HUGE government subsidies. Part where is the confected moral outrage with respect to that industry?

July 8, 2015 5:10 am

The greens just prefer their wildlife finely pureed.

Cecil S. Teddy
Reply to  R T Deco
July 12, 2015 5:42 pm

Number one destroyer of wildlife is habitat. If you’re really concerned with preserving wildlife (which you aren’t) then start campaigning against that.

July 8, 2015 5:13 am

Remember also for each of those 87 turbines there is in each approx 250 tonnes of steel, motor pod with 250 litres of lubricants inside, multiple rare earth minerals, sitting on a 100 tonne of concrete plus the gravel roads to each turbine in order for the diesel maintenance vehicle to get to them regularly or if on the sea a diesel powered motor vessel. All with an effective shelf life of 10-15 years, it’s an environmental disaster of epic proportions waiting to unfold.

Reply to  davidgraham08
July 8, 2015 6:24 am


Reply to  davidgraham08
July 8, 2015 2:29 pm

+1 or ore
But see my comment on gamey and Stephen a bit above.
Extract: –
“And something goes ““sproing’ in the night ” [DJ, hat-tip!].
So now a service ship must go out and transfer technicians – and, very likely, kit – to the tower.
In a roughish sea.
Let’s hope the boat master is good – and the techies have good life insurance. And the access steps haven’t corroded dangerously.
And – you know what – these towers are in the sea.
Which is salty.
Salt and warmth and moisture literally eats mechanical bits.”

July 8, 2015 5:14 am

What infuriates me is governments/industries demand proof of physical harm. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I won’t deny there might be actual harm, but I can’t believe people even have to show physical effects. The simple fact of having one of these things near you is an obvious psychological violation which wouldn’t be tolerated in other context or for any other use. And apparently simple enjoyment of property and reasonably unspoiled environment is no longer something people are entitled to!

Reply to  christopher swift (@swiftsteel7)
July 8, 2015 2:33 pm

What infuriates me is governments/industries demand proof of physical harm.

Whereas for fracking, no actual evidence is necessary. It would be nice if the powers that be could be forced to be consistent.

July 8, 2015 5:16 am

hum … pretty unfair. turbine country will be green, too. And rabbits can thrive, thanks to giant raptor-chopper.
There are some wind-farm where i live, they are actually farm land, too. Farmers can, and do, produce on the land.

kevin kilty
Reply to  paqyfelyc
July 8, 2015 5:40 am

Out in the west, which is not especially green, but which has inspiring vistas, the inclusion of hundreds of turbine will convert the Vista to a view of turbines. A few of our more blinkered resident lefties claim the turbines remind them of ballerinas, but they won’t when there are thousands of them.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  kevin kilty
July 8, 2015 6:53 am

not especially green, but which has inspiring vistas,
Here you go:

Michael 2
Reply to  kevin kilty
July 8, 2015 9:59 am

John’s photo looks like the Columbia River Gorge probably looking north into Washington State.

Pamela Gray
Reply to  kevin kilty
July 8, 2015 2:30 pm

I know those two hills! There is a dark metal barrel placed on the top of each one.

Reply to  kevin kilty
July 8, 2015 9:02 pm

You’re teasing us again. Not that we mind.

Reply to  kevin kilty
July 9, 2015 11:00 am

Pamela Gray
July 8, 2015 at 2:30 pm
And they have a name, the “Petite Tetons” as opposed to the better known Tetons in Wyoming. 🙂

Reply to  gary turner
July 9, 2015 6:00 pm

Save the TaTas!

Mark from the Midwest
Reply to  paqyfelyc
July 8, 2015 6:01 am

If your dealing with low efficiency grass lands you can get some agricultural value from coexisting with a wind farm. But the reason these lands are being leased to wind operators is because they are otherwise worth very little. Modern farm equipment can’t move in and around windmills. Just go to the John Deere web site and look at some of the low-til rigs, the turning radius for some of this stuff starts at 140 feet. Many of the more productive farms in Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, and Michigan like to have a minimum of 2 miles of straight and unobstructed land so they can maximize the efficiency of the big rigs they are operating.

Don penteluke
Reply to  paqyfelyc
July 8, 2015 6:03 am

I have read the worms within 100 metres of each windmill either die or leave due to the harmonic frequencies emitted into the ground, this renders the land infertile. No worms, no growth. How about we do away with both of these failed systems. Fracking sites fail to keep the surrounding Eco safe also. This cartoon must be sanctioned by Dick Cheney and all the money mongering gas executives.

Reply to  Don penteluke
July 8, 2015 9:37 am

What damage is caused by wells that are fractured compared to wells which are now? Are you saying that you want to do away with all domestic oil and gas wells?

Reply to  Don penteluke
July 8, 2015 9:49 am

Do you have any actual evidence that fracking sites are damaging to the surrounding area, or are you just assuming it must be.
As to your crack about Cheney and gas executives, you just blew what little reputation you had left.

Michael 2
Reply to  Don penteluke
July 8, 2015 11:53 am

Don says “How about we do away with both of these failed systems.”
There is no “we”. You can do away with your failed systems, I will do away with my failed systems.
“This cartoon must be sanctioned by Dick Cheney”
There is no requirement for Dick Cheney to sanction any cartoon other than perhaps one featuring him, but even then it is not required in the context of politics or political parody.

Reply to  Don penteluke
July 8, 2015 3:41 pm

“I have read the worms within 100 metres…”

Read a lot of actual science about worms?
Or is it that you don’t read any actual science about worms, except what some yahoo claims in their own emotional diatribe?
Worms are bothered by much. Vibration may cause some of the worms to surface, but not all of them.
At the worst, a hundred meters is easily reclaimed by nearby worms.
Now about all of those birds and bats the windmills chop up? President O’ giving a fifty year free pass to wind farms towards killing raptors and endangered birds or bats is not a response to false claims. Wind farms are deadly to flying creatures!

Reply to  Don penteluke
July 9, 2015 9:24 am

Fracking is only a failed system to the minds of losers… (Eco warriors and your ilk ) The fact that you try to detract with the smallest of things like oh Worms being “disturbed” shows much of your priorities in this universe. Where are the scientific evidence of Worms being “bothered” to the point of destroying soil conditions? is this evidence stronger than the dead (and larger) animals that surrounds the Windfarms of fail? As far as Energy density and usefulness Fracking is far superior. But to the Eco minded. All forms of energy is OPPRESSION. hahahaha. I’ve always wondered what a hippie social justice warrior would look like trying to operate a laptop with out energy. Please send me pictures.

Ernest Bush
Reply to  paqyfelyc
July 8, 2015 7:53 am

They have destroyed the beauty of the landscape at and on the mountains on the way to San Diego on Interstate 8. Usually the blades are not turning when I go through there on the way to San Diego. Some are located on migration routes of birds. Wildlife habitat and vegetation have been destroyed by the criss-crossing roads. These things are an economic disaster as has been shown in a mountain of studies. The only people who are making money here are the investors in the likes of Halliburton, Honeywell, and GE.
A solar plant (Solana Generating Plant) on Interstate 8 near Gila Bend has turned a once tranquil agriculture area into an industrial park. It currently generates electricity at about 38 percent of its rated capacity. This is considered really great output for a solar plant. It also uses about 30 percent of its output for internal operations. It would not exist if it weren’t for government subsidies and a $1.45 billion federal loan guarantee. This monstrosity cost $2 billion to build. It will never pay for itself.

Grady Patterson
Reply to  paqyfelyc
July 8, 2015 11:32 am

“turbine country will be green, too.” Really? That certainly has not been my experience.
The Alta Wind Farm – the largest in the US – is in the Mojave desert. The next 9 largest are all similarly in dry areas of California, Texas, Oregon, and one in Indiana. The conditions needed for even remotely efficient wind power generation are almost certain to be slightly hilly, dry, and brown.

Reply to  Grady Patterson
July 8, 2015 12:09 pm

I entered my comments above before I read the whole list of them. It seems that my experience of wind farms in California and Oregon may not be too warped by sampling bias….
Where I live now in Salem, Oregon, and the surrounding farm country (it’s almost unbelievably, really, fantastically green in the Willamette Valley!), the windmills appear as singletons that are almost never running (I did spy one near my job 15 miles outside Salem that was running–but only once in over 3 years working out in Sublimity Valley).
The proverbially wild winds in the Columbia Gorge are a severe threat to the windmills themselves, and in that area (both sides of the Columbia) the windmills have usually been shut down when I’ve driven through.

Reply to  Grady Patterson
July 9, 2015 1:29 pm

Please confirm – for the sake of good order – that you are not the Grady Patterson featured here: –
Many thanks – appreciated.

July 8, 2015 5:23 am

In southern Brazil some wind turbines were “planted” in a coastal region, the contractor bulldozing some protected sand dunes to gain access to the area.

July 8, 2015 5:30 am

Most of the green people I know wouldn’t know the difference between a square mile and an acre…

Reply to  Brian McCool
July 8, 2015 8:24 am

I am not green people but I prefer metric.

Reply to  Brian McCool
July 8, 2015 8:30 am

most of them are illiterate regarding simple physics.

kevin kilty
July 8, 2015 5:34 am

But, but, but the two degree centigrade inferno…

July 8, 2015 5:40 am

5 acres? I just visited Weld County Colorado, as place with lots of fracked wells. A small natural gas pad was the size of a very small house, 1000 square feet on the large side. The largest oil well pad I saw was possibly an acre. I can’t imagine what a 5 acre site would have on it. The 1 acre site had a very large mechanical oil pump, a natural gas area that was plumbed to a natural gas line, storage for 1200 barrels of oil, and 400 barrels of recovered water. I was told that when it was first operational the storage was emptied a couple times a day, so it was a non-trivial well.

Reply to  gregfreemyer
July 8, 2015 5:59 am

The 5 acres would include the right of way, a road needs to be built to the well so that the vac-trucks can remove the water.

Reply to  gregfreemyer
July 8, 2015 6:06 am

I think he was going for “entire disturbed area” as a concept in the Report that Josh used as a source. When you first drill the wells, the drilling site and attendant equipment can easily be 3-4 acres in distribution, especially when you are sharing the equipment amongst multiple new wells in the area to drive down costs. (Yes, you CAN lower the foot print, but drillers aren’t a high-efficiency bunch for anything but punching a hole in the ground. 🙂

Reply to  gregfreemyer
July 8, 2015 11:47 am

5 acres is a very generous estimate on the high end. A horizontal well pad will typically have multiple wells drilled from the same pad and will need room for the drilling rig, trucks, trailers, and pipe. Add in the road, usually about the same size as a ranchers access road, and the largest pads might be 5 acres.
The biggest thing using the road are the trucks moving the drilling rig, not the water/vac trucks.

July 8, 2015 5:41 am

[More wasted effort by a banned commenter. Deleted. -mod]

Michael 2
Reply to  icouldnthelpit
July 8, 2015 8:23 am

I Couldn Thelpit says: “You should go and show it to someone living in a fracked area.”
Why should I do that? Are you unable or merely unwilling?
Besides, it is a web page. How exactly do you “go and show it”? They can come look, same as you and I.
One of the larger fracking pads in Texas can be viewed here and in that county are many such pads:
32° 33.471’N 97° 47.255’W
A smaller pad nearby measures 250 by 340 feet using Google Earth to measure it.
32° 35.042’N 97° 39.902’W
And as for the people that live near fracking sites, Steven Lipsky is one such. He lives in a mansion on the Brazos River. How much sympathy does he expect?
32° 33.770’N 97° 47.508’W

Reply to  icouldnthelpit
July 8, 2015 9:40 am

I do and I did

Reply to  icouldnthelpit
July 8, 2015 9:54 am

I love it when the wackos start substituting their opinions for reality.
The vast majority of those who live in fracked areas have no problem with it. For the most part, the frackers were invited in.

July 8, 2015 5:49 am

I actually “know” Mackay indirectly (and have exchanged email with him a couple of times) as he wrote an absolutely brilliant work on artificial intelligence and neural networks and information theory. I would take his report very seriously. He is not an idiot.

July 8, 2015 6:00 am

Most “greens” I know, their main contact with nature is the narrow strip of weeds growing out of a few cracks in the city pavement, which receives their weekly “blessing” after a night out at the pub…

July 8, 2015 6:05 am

With a gas well in the middle of 5 acres, the nearest building/residence lot would be about 450 feet away. Local residents might not even know it was there. Not the same thing for a 200 foot tall turbine that produces noise and vibrations.
According to GE Reports:
“The closest that a wind turbine is typically placed to a home is 300 meters or more. At that distance, a turbine will have a sound pressure level of 43 decibels. To put that in context, the average air conditioner can reach 50 decibels of noise, and most refrigerators run at around 40 decibels.
At 500 meters (0.3 miles) away, that sound pressure level drops to 38 decibels. In most places, according to Keith Longtin of GE Renewable Energy, background noise ranges from 40 to 45 decibels, meaning that a turbine’s noise would be lost amongst it. For the stillest, most rural areas, Longtin says the background noise is 30 decibels. At that level, a turbine located about a mile away wouldn’t be heard.”
Might not be heard but would be an eyesore. This also does not address the very low frequency sound that turbines generate, below 20 Hz, that are inaudible but may have adverse health effects over time.

Reply to  BobM
July 8, 2015 9:10 am

BobM – you say ‘Not the same thing for a 200 foot tall turbine’.
In fact pylon heights now easily exceed this, with a swept height greater than 400feet. Those heights will increase further in the near future, making them even more of an eyesore. Fortunately the new Government in the UK is withdrawing subsidies to any new on-shore wind farms, so the won’t do any further pointless damage to our countryside.

July 8, 2015 6:07 am

Great cartoon! Thank you Josh!! As a raptor conservation organization we will add this to our packet advising people regarding the truth of conflict energy. See our site:

July 8, 2015 6:24 am

I read this article on Sunday, Mr Booker writes a great deal of commons sense. One of the things he picked up on was Drax power station. Common sense tells me that felling trees in USA, pulverising those trees to a powder and the reconstituting them into pellets, then transporting them by land in lorries to the nearest port to then be loaded into ships to bring them to Liverpool where they are transported by rail and lorry to Drax where they are burned, at about 1/2 the calorific value of anthracite.
Personally I would not have a problem living next to a fracking station because I know I would benefit from the cheap reliable energy, I cannot say the same about of living next to a wind farm. The energy is neither cheap nor reliable.

July 8, 2015 6:39 am

Issue is not the damage on-site, as either of these would cause less harm to the immediate surroundings than, say, a highway (not to mention that animals would learn to avoid the blades, as they’ve learned to avoid electric wires). The issue with fracking is that you pump thousands of tons of water (or, in some cases, acid) to erode rocks and free the gas bubbles that are collected and piped away. Similar techniques were used on salt mines, which later collapsed inward.
Much of the gas dissolves in water, essentially becoming poison for humans and the environment alike (hence the many court rulings against fracking, and the videos of tap water sustaining flames).
I agree that wind turbines are ugly and involve a large concrete cylinder buried underground as a foundation, but they are effective if used (and taxed) properly. In the US, taxes for wind turbines or other alternative energy sources are high, which is why they seem a bad investment, but in Europe these things are even subsidized, so you can find them in lots of places. In fact, the technology in the field is getting cheaper so fast that the accurate subsidy is hard to determine, so people build wind parks and have to return much of the money initially received.

Reply to  Max
July 8, 2015 8:10 am

Max, Max, Max,
Fracking happens a mile or two below the water table. Fracking does not change groundwater, no matter what video you saw of natural gas in drinking water. Fracking is contributing to the energy boom here in our country, which is now the world’s largest producer of fuels. Fracking takes money AWAY from ISIS!!!
Now how do you feel about it?
And, by the way, how does a dead bird learn to avoid wind turbine blades?

Reply to  Michael Moon
July 8, 2015 10:08 am

I love it the way he actually believes that water is pumped underground in order to absorb the natural gas.
Like most alarmists, max only excels at one thing. Complete ignorance.

Ernest Bush
Reply to  Max
July 8, 2015 8:15 am

ALL wind turbine farms are subsidized by federal and state governments, not taxed. Where do you think that subsidy comes from? Taxpayers are paying taxes to keep these turbines operating and have fees attached to their electric bills for the privilege of having “free” energy. These must be factored into operating costs. No turbine operates at a profit when all costs are correctly accounted for.
Britain is about to stop subsidizing land wind farms and the U.S. subsidies disappear in less than two years, I believe. Britain is about to start fracking for natural gas as their economy is collapsing from the use of renewable energies. People in Europe are actually freezing to death because they can’t afford the electricity to keep their homes heated. Countries worldwide are getting out of the subsidy business for renewables. The turbine production market will collapse in short order and a lot of wind farms are going to cease operations.
What was the source of your information? It sounds like a propaganda piece.

Reply to  Max
July 8, 2015 9:48 am

That video of tap water was due to a shallow gas pocket not disturbed by fracking. Chemical analysis showed that it was a completely different gas pocket that was well know. It was reopened by lowered water levels due to high consumption.
This is perfectly natural. If you want proof, I suggest reading Little House on the Prairie, where they hit gas while digging a well. Kind of pre-fracking there

Reply to  benofhouston
July 10, 2015 7:38 am

The best proof are the videos of burning tap water made years before fracking was done in the area of the well. Man is very deliberate where he does what. Nature is rather haphazard. Natural geological activity lets pockets of gas migrate into the water table.

Reply to  Max
July 8, 2015 10:06 am

One constant with CAGW’ers, is that they have absolutely no knowledge of anything.
And what little they do know is almost always wrong.
1) How do birds/bats/etc learn to avoid windmill blades? The first contact is almost always fatal. Additionally the problem is that from the perspective of the animal, the blade comes at them from their blind spots, they can’t avoid the blades, they can only avoid the areas where the blades are, which means giving up their most productive hunting sites.
2) Birds don’t have to learn to avoid power lines. Power lines are immobile and can be seen as the bird approaches them.
3) Water is only used in the fracking process at the beginning to fracture the rock so that the gas can escape. It is not used during the production as the pressure of the gas alone is sufficient to force it out of the rock structure. There is no “dissolving” involved, so your fantasy about ground collapse can’t happen.
4) There have been no court rulings against fracking.
5) The videos of water bursting into flame are all completely bogus. The few places where it actually does happen, were occuring for as long as man has lived in the area. IE, it preceeded the fracking.

Reply to  Max
July 8, 2015 11:33 am

“Much of the gas dissolves in water, essentially becoming poison for humans and the environment alike”
Methane dissolved in water is a poison? In that case, am I ever glad for the gift of flatuence to help my body get rid of it as efficiently as possible.

Bruce Cobb
July 8, 2015 6:45 am

Sometimes you have to wreck the planet in order to “save” it.
Ok, pretty much all the time.

July 8, 2015 6:53 am

I think there are more dead birds than that in turbine country.
Just sayin’.

John F. Hultquist
July 8, 2015 6:56 am

Great {cartoon} image.
As I looked closely (I’ve visited and been in a large wind tower) my thought was the relative sizes of the little dead bird and the base/flange of the tower. The big towers have a large in-ground concrete plug with threaded steel rods sticking up and nuts for holding the tower to the base. Thus, reality is such that the scale of things would likely not work in a cartoon. See here:

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
July 8, 2015 7:02 am

How deep does the concrete base need to be in order to support say a 100 foot high turbine and does that increase in proportion to the taller ones?

Reply to  climatereason
July 8, 2015 10:12 am

I would imagine that as the tower gets taller, the base of the tower will have to get wider, this means that the concrete pad will also have to get wider. Secondly, since a taller tower will face greater wind pressure against it, the concrete base will likewise have to get deeper in order to withstand the greater horizontal pressures.

Silver ralph
Reply to  climatereason
July 8, 2015 11:30 am

>>How deep does the concrete base need to be in
>>order to support say a 100 foot high turbine?
Bigger than this………….. !!

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  climatereason
July 12, 2015 10:13 pm

Hi tonyb,
Sorry, I missed your question the other day. I don’t have facts on how things scale but you might find the “Fast facts” on this page interesting.
This place is about 15 miles east of us. Trees block the view but from ½ mile down the road we can see these. We’ve been on the tour. Nice facilities for visitors at this one. Some places do not have such. They allow you in the base of a working tower, but only VIPs get to go up.
[I’ll try e-mail]

Mark Hladik
July 8, 2015 7:17 am

Toolin’ around in Utah’s back country, many years ago, I came across a steel post. By law, any petroleum well that is abandoned (at the end of its productive life) must be plugged, and the hole located by this type of post, which indicates the name of the operator, the location (using US Township-Range-Section designation), the total depth, name of the formation that produced … … …
… … … and so on. The key point is, that without the steel post there, there was absolutely no other indication that a productive well had been there. The area was (dare I do some ‘enviro-speak’?) “reclaimed”, and looked as natural as before the rig punched a hole thousands of feet into the Earth.
The Jeep trail I was on was likely the result of the access road created for the drilling rig. This road permitted access to some amazingly beautiful country, where one could find peace and quiet, a natural experience, and great (non-damaging) recreation.
Will the IPCC ‘reclaim’ all those avian slicer-dicers, at the end of their “useful life”?

Michael 2
Reply to  Mark Hladik
July 8, 2015 8:28 am

In my youth I lived in southeastern Utah. BLM has reclaimed some roads with such perfection that when I revisited the area some 15 years ago, not a trace of the old roads existed. That’s impressive.

Michael in Dublin
July 8, 2015 7:27 am

I live some 700 metres from four 25 metre turbines which were intended to be central to Ireland’s first sustainable park. Clearly the costs show them to be far from sustainable let alone profitable.

July 8, 2015 7:50 am

Except that it’s really unlikely you would only drill one well and stop. More likely, you would drill a lot of wells at 40-acre spacing (16 wells/mi^2). That would be about 80 wells on 5 mi^2. It seems like the real question is which is a better use of 5 mi^2? 87 turbines or 80 wells producing 80X more energy over the 25 years.

DD More
Reply to  Craig
July 8, 2015 8:50 am

Check your spacing requirements.
B) Drain a broad area from a single drilling pad.
This method has been used to reduce the surface footprint of a drilling operation. In 2010, the University of Texas at Arlington was featured in the news for drilling 22 wells on a single drill pad that will drain natural gas from 1100 acres beneath the campus. Over a 25 year life-time the wells are expected to produce a total of 110 billion cubic feet of gas.

Reply to  DD More
July 8, 2015 10:36 am

That’s a unique example with drilling in an urban area. If it wasn’t state-owned land, it wouldn’t have been drilled period. Also, spacing generally was a lot greater in 2010. ~40ac spacing is fairly common now.

Matthew R. Epp
Reply to  Craig
July 9, 2015 5:58 am

Craig, I am a Directional Driller working in Wyoming. In the past year alone I have drilled 16 extended reach laterals, these are wells 7000 to 10000 feet below the surface the extend horizontally 10,000 to 12,000 feet. 8 have been drilled on 2 pads, meaning 4 wells per pad, and the rest on 2 and 3 well pads. These padsare probably 3 to 4 acres and are designed big enough to accomodate more wells in the future. The pads are usually built in adjacent sections, 1 square mile areas, but sometimes to deduce the amount of disturbance they are located closer together.
Back in the early 2000’s Wyoming was experiencing a boom in production of “Coal bed Methane”. Those wells were shallow and were used to pump ground water out to release the trapped Methane from the formation. They were spaced every 40/Ac. Perhaps this is what you are thinking of.
Matthew R. Epp

Reply to  Matthew R. Epp
July 9, 2015 7:55 am

Matthew, actually I’m referring to the increasingly tight spacing in the Eagle Ford, but we are seeing it in other basins as well. Notwithstanding, my point was simply that shale gas/oil produces more energy per square mile as compared to wind.

July 8, 2015 7:51 am

Thanks, Josh. Excellent cartoon!
To me, these wind mills look like the alien invaders in “The War of the Worlds”.

Bruce Cobb
July 8, 2015 7:52 am

The concrete bases are massive, and most likely will be left in place after de-commissioning, since destroying and removing them would be both hugely expensive as well as destructive of the landscape.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
July 8, 2015 8:28 am

Looking at your link this phrase stood out
‘The average wind turbine foundation is between 12,360 cubic feet and 15,892 cubic feet of concrete, the report said, and contains between 45 tons and 70 tons of steel rebar’.
Anyone able to translate that into an actual depth of c0ncrete if the average turbine height is 100 feet?

Mark Hladik
Reply to  climatereason
July 8, 2015 12:59 pm

It’s not that difficult, but there are a lot of assumptions.
From the photo with Hultquist (6:56 AM) and Silver Ralph (11:30 AM) I made an assumption of the size of the pad. My best guess is about thirty feet diameter (fifteen feet in radius).
The volume of a right circular cylinder (another assumption) is V = (pi) (r^2) (h), where r = radius, and h = depth (or height) of the pad.
Take the average of the two figures you gave ( [12,360 + 15,892]/2 ) for an “average” volume of 14,126.
Solve for h, and it is just two decimal places under 20 feet.
Note that I did not include the volume occupied by the rebar. This is just the approximate amount of concrete used in a pad.

Reply to  climatereason
July 8, 2015 1:21 pm

Thanks for that. So A concrete pad for a 100 foot high turbine,a modest height these days, would be some 20 foot deep with a 30 foot diameter. That is a lot of concrete which then needs to be multiplied over the total number of turbines. Presumably these are factored into the overall sustainability calculations. In the UK we have many concrete structures left over from the war including pill boxes and lookout posts. In reality Therfore these tirbine concrete bases are never likely to be removed. I have no idea what effect that might have on the environment long term
Whether wind turbines can ever produce enough electricity to overcome their carbon footprint, their long term impact and general visual damage is an interesting thought. Whilst not being against renewables per se, their drawbacks need to be looked at in the round against their perceived advantages.

July 8, 2015 7:54 am

I think it’s wise to have lots of different ways to make electricity. Coal, gas, and hydroelectric are traditional. Nuclear would be smart, though in past it has caused dangerous insanity in the body politic. Some wind and solar are a good idea too. That way, if there is a catastrophe like the Carrington event, we would probably still have some of our power generation working. I live in Minnesota; our likely catastrophes are blizzard, tornado, and flood. In California, they worry about earthquakes, mudslides, and drought. In New York, they had an — interesting time — getting things back together after a storm with high water; of course they can worry about snow and floods also. And there’s always Florida and hurricanes.
With lots of different kinds of power generation, we would have an easier time bootstrapping ourselves back into a modern civilization.

Reply to  Ellen
July 8, 2015 7:55 am

Of course (I think to myself) it’s wise to rely on the continuous, efficient generation more strongly than the intermittent.

Reply to  Ellen
July 8, 2015 10:15 am

A Carrington event would take out the electric grid itself. Doesn’t matter how the electricity is being generated if you can’t get it to your house.

Matt Bergin
Reply to  MarkW
July 8, 2015 12:34 pm

“A Carrington event would take out the electric grid itself.”
Also it would probably take out most of the windmills and solar arrays as well. Expensive to fix those little beasties. Lots of delicate non-E.M.P. protected electronics. Built by the lowest bidder don’t you know.

Reply to  MarkW
July 9, 2015 1:44 pm

You d o know it was the lowest bidder.
Sleep well!

July 8, 2015 8:15 am

The gas well will be exhausted after 10-15 years, the groundwater contaminated and depleted. The wind turbines will still be producing electricity and will have long ago paid for themselves. It’s well documented that wind turbine opposition is driven by vested interests within the fossil fuel industry.

Michael 2
Reply to  andrew
July 8, 2015 9:41 am

andrew “The gas well will be exhausted after 10-15 years”
“the groundwater contaminated and depleted.”
Without a doubt, but most likely from agriculture.
“The wind turbines will still be producing electricity and will have long ago paid for themselves.”
Unlikely. I cannot think of any wind turbine that has lasted for 15 years nor any installation that has paid for itself. Perhaps you could provide an example.
“It’s well documented that wind turbine opposition is driven by vested interests within the fossil fuel industry.”
If it is so well documented, why do you not provide that information? I wonder if there is such a thing as “unvested” interests. It seems you are regurtitating someone’s talking points. How difficult would it be for me to discover your source?
Ah so, you are a shill for the Guardian. You see, certain writers develop “tics” or predictable and somewhat unique styles of writing and when you repeat those unique styles it reveals your alignment and sources.
“According to BP, the UK’s proven economically viable reserves would run out at current production rates in just seven years for oil, four years for gas and 12 years for coal.”
Yup, shilling for the Guardian. What a surprise.
As to the success of windmills, some work, some don’t, all fail eventually. Is it worth doing? For England it is worth it. When the fossil fuel runs out, it’s back to the dark ages.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  andrew
July 8, 2015 9:42 am

Actually, it’s well-documented that wind turbine proponents are driven by vested interests in Big Wind, Big Green, and by CAGW ideology.

Reply to  andrew
July 8, 2015 10:18 am

This fool actually believes that windmills last for ever.
How are wind mills going to pay for themselves when they cost more to operate than they can generate in actual electricity.
It’s been proven has it? Do you have actual evidence or is this just more of your paranoid fantasies coming to the surface.
BTW, coming on the same day that yet another paper trying to claim that AGW deniers are prone to conspiracy theories makes this nonsense especially ironic.

Reply to  andrew
July 8, 2015 11:46 am

If wind turbine opposition is driven by vested interests within the fossil fuel industry, why does BP ( among other fossil fuel companies) own wind farms? Would they not be opposing themselves?

July 8, 2015 8:26 am

Josh’s cartoon is good, but let’s be fair. The well head is accompanied be either a set of storage tanks or a pipeline with a clear-cut right of way.
But Josh is right in the larger sense. I was listening to a books-on-tape, Oil Boom, by Russell Gold, that chronicled the development of the fracking boom. In a late chapter on the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, some one was lamenting how the frackers had come into old forest (actually 2nd old growth forest, the first being cut down in the 18th century), and had done damage by installing pipelines with wide right of ways so they can be inspected from the air. I was thinking at the time,

“Ok, and how would you feel if instead of an occasional silent pipeline right of way (which serves as a fire-break, by the way, you had a hundred wind turbines with a low-frequency noise pollutions and just as many, if not more, rights of way built to construct the turbines. TANSTAAFL”

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  Stephen Rasey
July 8, 2015 9:11 am

I have to agree with you. The drilling pads are not nice and green with bunnies running around. However, in the forest, they are a tiny speck. The pipeline cuts are a boon for the wildlife, the animals love the break in the trees. They also provide exelent access to the wilderness for recreational activity (hiking, hunting, etc.

John M. Ware
July 8, 2015 8:30 am

I hope this cartoon (and all of Josh’s work) gets wide distribution. How might it get published in (say) the Washington Post or the New York Times? I know . . . wrong papers . . .

David Larsen
July 8, 2015 9:31 am

The best part is only the wind turbines kill our eagles! We need that.

July 8, 2015 9:51 am

5 acres for the well head? Are you sure about that? It seems awfully high to me.
Most of the single well sites I’ve seen have fenced in areas less than 100ft square.

The Old Coach
Reply to  MarkW
July 9, 2015 12:04 pm

While they are drilling, the pads use anything up to five acres, and never less than three, as far as I can see from the drilling going on around me. They need laydown area for equipment, space to unload trucks, space for the holding ponds for the drilling mud and whatever else comes up the hole, space for mobile offices, etc., etc. They do make one heck of a mess at it, but at least it’s temporary. State law in my area requires complete remediation after they leave, and they do do that to a reasonable degree. One thing I could do without is the permanent open lanes from the pipelines, because they attract outsiders with dirt bikes and ATVs. THOSE people do an amazing amount of damage, tearing the hillsides to start severe erosion, poaching, even starting fires.

July 8, 2015 10:19 am

Nice effort but do try not to be so passe and so gauche. 9 out of 10 Academics and politicians agree – worthless wind turbines are art, as well.
The beauty of windfarms – in pictures – The Guardian
And this:
“It turns out that David Suzuki isn’t the only one that thinks wind turbines are beautiful. This year’s American Wind Energy Association’s National Conference and Exhibition not only featured the usual array of speakers, meetings and poster presentations, but also hosted the National Wind Art Exhibit, a display of paintings all featuring wind turbines from a group of internationally-recognized artists.”
And this:
“Chief executive of the European Wind Energy Association, Thomas Becker, claimed the UK was missing out on a valuable energy source. In an interview with the Sunday Politics in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire Mr Becker said: “The debate in the UK has become overly negative. In my opinion, wind turbines are beautiful.”
This is the National Science Foundation’s “holistic” and “interdisciplinary” approach to knowledge, synthesizing art and science for the “public good.” Sure enough, Environmental Science is looking more and more like a Picasso with each passing day.comment image

July 8, 2015 10:35 am

“Over 25 years, he calculated, a single “shalegas pad” covering five
acres, with a drilling rig 85ft high (only needed for less than a year),
would produce as much energy as 87 giant windturbines, covering 5.6
square miles and visible up to 20 miles away.” McKay
But even this is far too generous, and probably deliberately so.
Wind turbines cannot run a blast furnace under any circumstances. The ore would be destroyed by the intermittancy of the power before any iron or copper could be processed. The volatility introduced into price and supply by worthless wind, and the resulting risk and losses to industrial metal producers, are hidden costs which of course good environmentalists mass produced by Universities are willing for everyone else to pay.
Take home point: you cannot smelt the metal to produce a wind turbine using wind power.

Michael 2
Reply to  Zeke
July 8, 2015 12:07 pm

“you cannot smelt the metal to produce a wind turbine using wind power.”
Producing the concrete for the base of the windmill pylon requires an enormous amount of heat.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Michael 2
July 8, 2015 1:14 pm

And burning the limestone to make the lime to make the concrete releases lots of CO2. One CO2 molecule for each CaO molecule. And lime is used to produce the steel. All to produce a wind turbine to reduce CO2 emissions. Circular reasoning?

Silver ralph
July 8, 2015 11:15 am

Professor Mackay produced a pdf report, available online, “Renewable Energy without the Hot Air”. Although he is an uber-green he did point out that there is not enough landspace in the whole of the UK to generate our energy needs from wind. And even if you could there is nowhere to store it.
Sustainable Energy – without the hot air
This booklet is worth a read, as it has a lot of good info in it. However, Mackay has still not rectified the error where he says that electric vehicles are 5x more efficient than fossil vehicles. This is simply Green propaganda, and does not deserve to be in an otherwise reasonable account of the merits and pitfalls of Renewable Energy.

Reply to  Silver ralph
July 9, 2015 2:11 pm

Many thanks.
Based on a skim of perhaps a dozen pages – a very interesting book.
With numbers – so far as I checked them mentally – they seem reasonable.

Gunga Din
July 8, 2015 1:03 pm

Looking at the horizon in “Turbine Country” made me think of a WW1 battlefield’s “No Man’s Land” with all it’s barbed wire..
I don’t know if Josh intended that or not.,d.cGU&psig=AFQjCNF_53hr2LYwT8CWZaguT__no5CYFA&ust=1436452400308762

Gunga Din
Reply to  Gunga Din
July 8, 2015 1:52 pm

OOPS! Sorry about redirect.
Here’s what I was trying to link to.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Gunga Din
July 8, 2015 1:55 pm

Scroll down just a little to “No Man’s Land somewhere on the Western Front”.

Reply to  Gunga Din
July 8, 2015 5:53 pm
Gunga Din
Reply to  clipe
July 8, 2015 6:58 pm


Louis Hunt
July 8, 2015 1:06 pm

I have to wonder which scene the Pope was looking at when he said, “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” But since he wants us to subsidize and export solar and wind technologies to developing nations, he must not mind landscapes covered by concrete structures and dead birds.

July 8, 2015 1:19 pm

Heh. Well, when things DO go wrong with gas wells they go wrong in a very very bad way. Fracking isn’t even a science yet. Addair knew more about putting out oil wells when he died than the oil industry knows about Fracking.
Honestly I don’t really care one way or the other. The big windmills are nearly completely renewable and their locations are unlikely to “run out of fuel” in 6 years. Once placed and maintained they’re there forever.
The trouble with fracking fracking is that it DOES destroy the underment and give the people doing it the opportunity to push hazardous waste down the well instead of properly disposing it. It needs lots of regulation and zero mistakes to go right and you almost never get a second chance to install it correctly.

Michael 2
Reply to  prjindigo
July 8, 2015 1:47 pm

prjindigo says “Honestly I don’t really care one way or the other.”
Except your entire comment reveals that you DO care; pro-windmill, anti-fracking.
I also care. Windmills are good where they are good, such as remote Alaskan villages that have no grid and are happy to have unreliable electricity as compared to none whatsoever. If the wind is blowing, do your laundry. If not, then wait.
Fracking postpones “peak oil” a bit and buys some time.

Reply to  prjindigo
July 8, 2015 1:48 pm


The big windmills are nearly completely renewable and their locations are unlikely to “run out of fuel” in 6 years. Once placed and maintained they’re there forever.

Not true. They last about 7 years with “regular” maintenance, only 10-12 with “exceptional” maintenance … Which does not happen very often.

Reply to  RACookPE1978
July 8, 2015 2:57 pm

RACookPE1978…..You’d better do some research on “big turbines”
I suggest you look at this for the real answer…..
“No one really knows how long a wind turbine will last until there have been wind turbines around that long.”

Reply to  RACookPE1978
July 8, 2015 4:36 pm

Joel, they’ve been installing wind turbines for about 100 years. The really big ones for 20 to 30 years.
The maintenance record is there for the looking.
Too bad you are afraid to look at anything other than propaganda.

Reply to  RACookPE1978
July 8, 2015 5:52 pm

Yup, you are correct, and the record shows that Mr. RACookPE1978 is not even close when he says, “They last about 7 years with “regular” maintenance, only 10-12 with “exceptional” maintenance”

Reply to  RACookPE1978
July 8, 2015 5:56 pm

PS MarkW
Look what good maintenance will do for you..

Reply to  RACookPE1978
July 8, 2015 6:20 pm

Hey clipe
Did you actually read the link you posted?
I suggest you re-read it and pay close attention to the part that goes…..“Better turbines are being developed all the time, so it’s absurd to focus purely on the past as this report does,”

Reply to  RACookPE1978
July 8, 2015 7:16 pm

Joel D, do you mean the bit by Dr Gordon Edge, dthe irector of policy at RenewableUK, the body that represents Britain’s wind farm industry?

Reply to  RACookPE1978
July 8, 2015 8:07 pm

Hey Joel D
Your buddy seems to be everywhere – hoovering up subsidies.
“Dr Gordon Edge, the director of policy at RenewableUK, said: “It’s simply untrue, and not looking at the full picture – blah, blah, blah”!

Reply to  RACookPE1978
July 8, 2015 8:50 pm

Do you agree or disagree with the statement that “Better turbines are being developed all the time” ????

Reply to  RACookPE1978
July 9, 2015 5:59 am

“Joel D. Jackson July 8, 2015 at 5:52 pm
Yup, you are correct, and the record shows that Mr. RACookPE1978 is not even close when he says, “They last about 7 years with “regular” maintenance, only 10-12 with “exceptional” maintenance” “

More stuff and nonsense Joel D. Jackson.
Official reports have already identified the shorter lifetime cycles for the larger windmills. Their sheer size exceeds or causes to exceed normal operating parameters so that bearings fail, blades fail and the generator fails.
So to help counter the short lifecycles they’ve increased the maintenance and windmill rebuild frequency.
RACookPE1978 has accurately identified the current life cycle of the windmills. Note, this is counter to all announced planned or expected lifecycles as the windmill farms refuse to admit and include the new lifecycles; they’re only too happy to increase maintenance at extra charge.

“Joel D. Jackson July 8, 2015 at 6:20 pm
Hey clipe
Did you actually read the link you posted?
I suggest you re-read it and pay close attention to the part that goes…..“Better turbines are being developed all the time, so it’s absurd to focus purely on the past as this report does,

More sheer absurdity Joel D. Jackson?
Typical eco-nut expectations. The future will bring
new and exciting machines that will solve all of our problems!
The technology does not exist.
The technology requires substantial design analysis and physical testing.
Normally, the real world expects that unproven technology is proven first! Funded by non taxation derived sources!
Instead the eco-nuts want the government to throw stupendous amounts of cash at immature technology, all at the burden of citizens.
All subsidies should be eliminated immediately. Windfarms and solar bird fryers should be taken offline until their owners and operators can prove safe and economical operation!
Stuff that in your eco-nut beanie Joel. It is time for renewables to join the rest of the world’s capital equipment investment and deployment economic processes; they’ve had a free ride for much too long.

Reply to  prjindigo
July 8, 2015 4:34 pm

The industry has been fracking for over 60 years.
Why is it that the renewable energy fanatics feel that it is OK to lie?

The Old Coach
Reply to  prjindigo
July 9, 2015 12:19 pm

After 50 years of experience at it, fracking is not even a science yet? Spare me.

July 8, 2015 1:21 pm

Yes gregfreemyer, five acres is far too high. There is one adjacent my kido’s lot, no more than two city lots 80’x140′. Green grass all around but for the 50’x50′ gravel pad and fence about the well and equipment. Very quiet, sometimes a soft hum. Unless you have a some disdain for metal or two lots missing a house you would never even know it was there. But were I come from this area provide the energy 24/7/365 that heats and cools the US’s homes, powers the US’s transportation, but as for relying on the sun shining (not today and many) and the wind blowing (not today and many) with hot black acre-eating panels or noisy obnoxious bird-shredder monstrosities needing to be replaced every decade or two? You won’t find them here, thank goodness.
Yes, I will take Josh’s Fracking County option with the hundreds of years of reserves I hear. Personally I think even that is a bit too low and abiotic will be proven to be the source.

Tom G(ologist)
July 8, 2015 1:43 pm

Josh: I love your work and don’t mean to criticise, but an operating shale gas well site is less than 2 acres It is about 3 to 4 acres while drilling and hydraulic fracturing is conducted, but as soon as the wells a complete and they go into the 30 plus years of production, the actual pad is reduced to about one acre plus the access road. And we are drilling sites with up to 18 or 20 wells on each.

Tom G(ologist)
July 8, 2015 1:49 pm

Oh, and as a follow-up, that one-acre production pad includes the gas processing units (separators, basically) and the condensate storage tanks, as well as the meter and connection to the underground gathering pipeline.
Moreover, we DO have bunnies and other critters at the sites. I have spotted deer, rabbits, bear, raptors, coyotes, and the myriad other small indigenous animals using the land immediately around our well sites.

The Old Coach
July 9, 2015 12:28 pm

Something I haven’t mentioned yet about gas. While the wells are fairly innocuous after completion, the compressor stations that gather the gas and pump it into long distance pipelines are not. Typically 40 acres, huge buildings that house the compressors, 100+ foot towers to flare off gas, going 24/7/365, high tension electric lines leading in, and for some reason they insist on placing them on high ground where they’re visible for a long way. I’ve noticed that one small farmer that lived on land immediately adjacent to one of these monsters simply abandoned their place and moved away.

Reply to  The Old Coach
July 9, 2015 2:36 pm

And they give us power.

Michael 2
Reply to  The Old Coach
July 9, 2015 8:59 pm

Old Coach says “and for some reason they insist on placing them on high ground”
High voltage transmission lines are made as straight as reasonably possible. Sometimes that means high ground, sometimes low ground. Obviously you are more likely to notice the parts that are on high ground.

Michael 2
Reply to  The Old Coach
July 9, 2015 9:01 pm

Old Coach says “I’ve noticed that one small farmer that lived on land immediately adjacent to one of these monsters simply abandoned their place and moved away.”
I am mildly curious as to her actual reason for moving. Debt? Death in the family? Got tired of farming? Eyes sore from looking at transmission towers? I find them fascinating and take pictures of them especially if I can line them up so I’m looking through a dozen or so towers. Perhaps she didn’t like the thought of being near that much electricity crackling overhead. I don’t get out of my car to take these pictures — stop for a moment and then hurry out from under.

Robert Landreth
July 9, 2015 2:34 pm

I had a long discussion with my brother concerning gas in the water due to oil and gas operations, he kept insisting that friends of his in Wyoming had natural gas in their water because of fracing. After a long period of explaining how the fracs travel only a few hundred feet out from the well bore. He finally admitted that they had gas in their water prior to any oil and gas drilling. Most zones which are being fraced today are at least 5000 feet or deeper below the surface of the land. It is a physical impossibility for a frac to reach the surface of the land. We do not have enough horse power to push the water that far from the well bore. Rock mechanics, overburden pressure, and several other factors contribute to this.
Unfortunately oil and gas people have been poor stewards of the earth in the past, and using fresh water to do these huge fracs is another example of our problems. Recently we have been using well water which is brackish, (unsuitable for irrigation and drinking), for these large fracs. The water can be recycled and used for a number of fracs after flow back. When finished with this water it is pumped back into zones in the subsurface and disposed of.
I am a Petroleum Geologist, and just keep laughing at these people who are protesting fracing in this country. (Please note that I am using the industry accepted spellings for the various forms of frac). They have all these arguments, most of which are totally bogus.
Wells have been fraced since the early time of the industry in the 20th century. In the old days they would lower nitroglycerine down the well bore and set it off at the bottom of the well to fracture stimulate the producing zone. Then we progressed to hydraulic fracturing using water loaded with sand. Today the frac fluids are a mixture of chemicals designed to help break the rock along with a significant amount of sand mixed into the fluid. The sand is designed to keep the fractures from closing after the frac is ended.

July 9, 2015 9:10 pm

The one thing that troubles me about wind power is the lack of raw numbers. What is the honest cost of delivery to my outlet? I’d like to see the cost with the following breakouts: KWHr cost counting only operating expenses and profit; KWHr cost including all capital costs for towers; Total cost including distribution (since line loses are going to be huge given the long-haul nature providing hundreds or thousands of miles of HV lines); installation and operating expenses. I’d like to see the numbers showing both subsidized and unsubsidized costs per KWHr. I can’t seem to find honest numbers and I need numbers to know if we are making good or bad decisions. Also, when I can’t easily find the numbers, then I assume someone is ripping me off!

July 10, 2015 7:42 am

Enviromentally PAID administration

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