FAIL: Busted Wind Turbines Give College Whopping Negative 99.14% Return On Investment

From the “it’s OK, we used other people’s money” department and Andrew Follet at The Daily Caller:

Two wind turbines on the Lake Land College Campus in Mattoon, IL Image: Google Earth

Two wind turbines on the Lake Land College Campus in Mattoon, IL Image: Google Earth

Lake Land College recently announced plans to tear down broken wind turbines on campus, after the school got $987,697.20 in taxpayer support for wind power.

The turbines were funded by a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, but the turbines lasted for less than four years and were incredibly costly to maintain.

“Since the installation in 2012, the college has spent $240,000 in parts and labor to maintain the turbines,” Kelly Allee, Director of Public Relations at Lake Land College, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The college estimates it would take another $100,000 in repairs to make the turbines function again after one of them was struck by lightning and likely suffered electrical damage last summer. School officials’ original estimates found the turbine would save it $44,000 in electricity annually, far more than the $8,500 they actually generated. Under the original optimistic scenario, the turbines would have to last for 22.5 years just to recoup the costs, not accounting for inflation. If viewed as an investment, the turbines had a return of negative 99.14 percent.

“While they have been an excellent teaching tool for students, they have only generated $8,500 in power in their lifetime,” she said. “One of the reasons for the lower than expected energy power is that the turbines often need to be repaired. They are not a good teaching tool if they are not working.”

The college estimates it would take another $100,000 in repairs to make the turbines function again after one of them was struck by lightning and likely suffered electrical damage last summer.

Even though the college wants to tear down one of the turbines, they are federal assets and “there is a process that has to be followed” according to Allee.

The turbines became operational in 2012 after a 5-year long building campaign intended to reduce the college’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to fight global warming. Even though the turbines cost almost $1 million, but the college repeatedly claimed they’d save money in the long run.

“It is becoming more and more difficult for us financially to maintain the turbines,” Josh Bullock, the college’s president, told the Journal Gazette and Times-Courier last week. “I think it was an extremely worthy experiment when they were installed, but they just have not performed to our expectations to this point.”

Bullock states that the turbines simply haven’t been able to power the campus’ buildings and that most of the electricity wasn’t effectively used.

Lake Land plans to replace the two failed turbines with a solar power system paid for by a government grant. “[T]he photovoltaic panels are expected to save the college between $50,000 and $60,000 this year,”Allee told the DCNF.

Globally, less than 30 percent of total power wind capacity is actually utilized as the intermittent and irregular nature of wind power makes it hard to use.Power demand is relatively predictable, but the output of a wind turbine is quite variable over time and generally doesn’t coincide with the times when power is most needed. Thus, wind power systems require conventional backups to provide power during outages. Since the output of wind turbines cannot be predicted with high accuracy by forecasts, grid operators need to keep excess conventional power systems running.

Wind power accounted for only 4.4 percent of electricity generated in America in 2014, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Edgar County Watchdog adds:

Lake Land College (LLC) wind turbine history can be seen here:


2007:  Wind feasibility study completed for $30,000

2010:  LLC provided $500,000 from Illinois DCEO to “build one turbine.”

2010:  LLC provided 18% of $2,542,762 from US Dept of Labor for “green job training program and related equipment including a 100 kW turbine.”  (The turbine portion of this US DoL grant calculates to $457,697.20 per the small print details.)

WHAT DO WE HAVE TO SHOW FOR TAXPAYER $987,697.20 spent to build these boondoggles?

Operation date: 2012

(read the comments from “gringa”in 2012……totally good point about it never paying for themselves)

No mention of payback periods in this article. Seems like LLC would include the economic effectiveness of this investment in any discussion of it. After all, isn’t this all about return on investment? Maybe not. Wind is free, but the land and equipment and maintenance to that equipment is NOT free.

in 2014, another article was written touting the “savings”:

LLC should update their college website “infomercial” found here since the turbines no longer (if ever) actually saved $44,000 per year per the over-optimistic claims:

Just for fun, IF the turbines saved $44,000 per year, these two junkers would have to last 22.5 years, but they only lasted a shameful FOUR YEARS!!!!!

The Lake Land College Newsletter was full of praise in 2012:

Wind Turbine at LLC

Source: Laker Low Down eNewsletter published January 26, 2012

Despite the bad weather, the first of the college’s two 100 kW wind turbines has been installed. This project is made possible by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding via the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and a Community-Based Job Training Grant from the U. S. Department of Labor.

The new turbines will offer students advanced training for large-scale turbine maintenance and energy production. They will also power buildings on campus with alternative energy, further reducing the cost of utilities for Lake Land College. Because Lake Land College officials and experts worked with the manufacturer to create customized turbines, it is projected that there will be a significant return on this investment of Class Two wind speeds, making these turbines a very affordable option for the college.

The two turbines are estimated to produce more than 220,000 kilowatt hours each year, thereby reducing the number of kilowatt hours of electricity needed by 440,000. The college estimates that the initial energy savings will be around $44,000 annually.

What exactly does this mean? Here’s a real-world example: the average Illinois home consumes 1,100 kilowatt hours each month. The two turbines should produce 36,667 kilowatt hours each month. Based on this information, the two turbines could produce enough energy to power the average Illinois home for just over 33 months, or 2.8 years!

Source: Laker Low Down eNewsletter published January 26, 2012


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the other MarkW

oh, but they’re sure that the new solar panels will save them even more!

george e. smith

Well I disagree with her assessment of their value as a teaching tool.
I think they clearly demonstrate the folly of trying something when you have no skin in the game.
When you simply are trying to spend ALL of the somebody else’s money, you can get, then you don’t actually need to make critical decisions, about what works and what doesn’t.

Big G
I am in full agreement, further more they are getting (if not already, then very soon they will) another $250,000 of taxpayers money to finance a study why the project has failed.
Colleges are places of learning and no money should be spared to augment the advancement of science.

Michael Jankowski

I think they provide an excellent teaching tool and valuable lesson…just not in the way the college wants them to.

Christopher Paino

The claim of a “teaching tool” is very reminiscent of my kids’ arguments for video games when they were young.
“But Dad, they teach us hand-eye coordination!”

george e. smith

I figure you go to school to learn how to learn.
In many ways, it doesn’t even matter what the subject material is; if it works to teach you a process for learning any darn thing you want to learn later. Much of what you learn in school, in some of the sciences, anyhow, is already obsolete by the time you get out of school.
I had the very good fortune to get my first job in the USA at what was then one of the truly great engineering learning schools; Namely Tektronix in Cedar Hills, Oregon (was then). The other one of those great institutions was Hewlett Packard, and I was privileged to spend the last 23 years of my industrial career working there (including a double spin-off).
Tektronix had a (possibly unwritten) policy that as an engineer, if you were in a current limbo stage in your project; maybe it was in the post engineering / pre production phase, you should try and busy yourself learning something new, engineering wise; even to the point, of letting you use their components to design and build yourself a hi-fi solid state stereo amplifier for example. The rule was, while you were working on the design, experimentally, you could avail yourself of whatever components they had in stock, which at the plant I was at, was the whole aisle-ways of the engineering department. But once you had a design, they wanted you to give a complete parts list to a stock room clerk, and (s)he would gather up those parts, and bill you for them, at a very respectable price.
I used such a pause (excuse me; that’s ‘ hiatus ‘) in my first design project, to teach myself everything there was to know about high frequency magnetic core power circuits, and I ended up designing an SCR capacitor discharge ignition circuit for my Jaguar XK-140 hard top coupe.
That ignition instead of the Lucas standard would spark, even if the spark plug had the side electrode broken off. Almost didn’t need to use gasoline to get a power stroke. I’ve designed a whole lot of DC-DC or AC-DC switching power circuits since then.
Howard Vollum, and Jack Murdock, the Tek equivalents of H and P believed that anything you learned in such an unwritten program couldn’t help but become useful to Tektronix, in your job.
Yes some guys did design some incredible stereo amplifiers; that would rival anything you can buy today. Well in those days, they actually believed in high fidelity, rather than two inch cube boom boxes.
So yes, I’m a believer in teaching people how to learn.
So while common core believes that emphasis on the method is more important than just getting the right answer, they fail to understand, that the very definition of the “correct method” is that it is the method that ALWAYS gets the right answer, no matter who implements it.
Any other criterion of correctness in simply pretentious .edu-drivel.

Once upon a time went for a technical course to Tektronix up in Grass Valley, great place, great company, clever people.


I agree. A good teacher could make a lot of this failed experiment, as long as they are trying to teach and not just to preach AGW propaganda ( which was undoubtedly the real aim of the project ).
There is a lot more for the students to learn from such a situation than just having a wind tubine running and going : cool, it produce X amount of electricity last year.


They have not been a good teaching tool, because someone hasn’t learned their lesson yet.

David A

it would only be a “good teaching tool” if they used it as a microcosm example of why wind is a failure, and they do not need $250,000 to teach that.

George – your observation and comment is 100% CORRECT!


There is no lessen. The Administration is hell bent to do away with fossil fuels and are incapable of being stopped by the numerous failures or listening to anyone who displays sanity on the subject. Besides it is subsidizing his “friends” and ensures votes in the fall.
It does not matter that alternative fuels have failures, they are the right thing to do .




Yes, these people are incapable of learning any lessons of value in this context. And this in spite of the fact that they’re “educators”. The irony here is so thick , you could cut it with a knife.

Javert Chip

lesseehere…College Campus in Mattoon, IL; maybe they could repair it “just enough” so it would blow snow off the solar panels.


It taught them that wind is not a viable energy source. Damn expensive lesson for everyone.


While they have been an excellent teaching tool…
Was the lesson “a fool and his money are soon parted”?

Alan the Brit

My thoughts precisely!


FIFY: “Was the lesson “a fool taxpayer and his money are soon parted”?”

And they didn’t even learn the &$@#% lesson cause they are gonna exchange them for solar panels “which will save them 50K a year”……
Facepalm squared….


From my experience with that size wind turbines and their proximity to the buildings, the students learned that they could hear the Thump, thump, thump in their class room.

Leo Smith

Was the lesson “a fool and his money are soon parted”?
No, the lessons was ‘forget working just get with the government program’


‘forget working just get with the government program’
That statement can be interpreted in more than one way…


“a fool and his money are soon parted”?
Well, they didn’t learn that when they borrowed the money for college, they probably won’t learn it while they are IN college, either.

Doug in Calgary

I was unaware that one could get a PhD in Folly…


“[T]he photovoltaic panels are expected to save the college between $50,000 and $60,000 this year,”
…as long as you don’t count the cost of the system. As usual.

Michael Jankowski

They were way-off on wind savings, but now solar will save even more.
Different verse, same as the first.

Different verse, same as the first.
A little bit louder, and a little bit worse.


“now solar will save even more.”
Well, that’s what I tell Mrs. Jones when she says that we’ll “save” 25% by buying something we don’t need on sale: we can FOUR times as much by NOT buying it…


“We’ll sell at a loss, but make it up in volume.” Post-modern, government-sponsored business math.


No they’re getting the solar panels for nothing silly. The $50-60k will be what’s left of the $100k in savings to repair the turbines, providing all goes to plan again.


They got the windmills for free also. Turned out they were a white elephant that cost more to maintain then they provided. Will the solar panels be any better?


That’s assuming that there is no snow in any given year and that dust never lands on the panels.
In reality, the cost to keep the panels clean will quite probably be greater than the value of any electricity generated.


Students will clean the panels as part of their “teaching”

mike restin

I doubt it.
Unions will scream bloody murder.

bike mike

Don’t forget they do not work well at night, and have to be cleaned of snow and ice in the winter


They also need to check int the OSHA requirements on roof top work, WPE, and the needed fall protection, ladders, fall-proof climbing apparatus for the ladders, railing along the roof, Union wages, etc, etc, etc.,


Actually, they ARE a good teaching tool. They teach that wind is a low density, intermittent energy source that cannot compete with conventional fossil fuels. They should save themselves the effort on solar. Its energy density is even lower than that of wind. Another good lesson in Economics 101 would be to not try to reinvent the wheel. Just check out the Yahoo failed renewable energy experiment before spending any money on this stuff.

Do you mean Google’s failed RE<C project, or did Yahoo also try something similar?
Would love a link to the Yahoo project, as I couldn't find it in a quick search.

Probably meant that those at Google are a bunch of yahoos. (yahoo: a person who is very rude, loud or stupid).

I was astonished by the maintenance costs of $240,000 since 2012 with another $100,000 needed to bring them up to proper working order. Part of that seems to be due to a lightning strike on one of the turbines.
Is this sort of excessive maintenance cost on land based turbines normal or have they just been unlucky?
Britain now has many off shore turbines and a recent BBC documentary showed repairs being carried out by helicopter so I can imagine these will have high costs, but land based turbines?
One of the links leads to a document whereby solar and geo thermal seem to be working for this organisation at present


“Part of that seems to be due to a lightning strike on one of the turbines.”
Don’t they have insurance for such events?

Tom in Florida

No insurance company would be foolish enough to insurance a windmill from lightning strike without huge premiums that would make the insurance unaffordable. On the other hand, government ………

Tom Yoke

Last time I checked, insurance doesn’t come for free, and if your intent is to insure a mechanically finicky, tall metal spike against lightning strikes in Illinois, it would be horrifically expensive.


Maybe they can replace them with one of these
•Tunisian start up Saphon Energy has created a super efficient wind turbine
•Bladeless design uses a disc and is inspired by 2,000-year-old sail ships
•Firm claims it capture twice as much wind energy as traditional turbines
•Its makers say a wind farm of just 50 of the devices could power up to 1,000 homes in an ‘off grid’ village in developing countries
Surely they are having a laugh. The video is a must watch

They claim 80% efficiency in collecting wind power. A joke?

Javert Chip

How can it possibly be a joke? It was reported in the Daily Mail.
Just saying…


It is physically impossible to reach more than about 50% efficiency in collecting wind power. Reason: the air after passing the wind turbine must have enough energy left to get out of the way for the air following it.

Interesting concept, but they need to work out the asymmetric torques.

A feature – not a bug. Until maintenance time.

It surely gave me a great laugh 🙂

chris y

Thanks for posting this interesting news item!
The cross-sectional area of the turbine ‘sail’ determines the maximum power generated. Claiming that it collects twice as much energy as traditional turbines is meaningless without data on relative cross-sections.
The efficiency of a wind generator, irrespective of design, is limited by Betz’s law to 59.3%. The best blade turbines can reach 45% – 50% under lab testing.
The design in action reminds me of the radio dish antennas on the flying saucers in the movie Mars Attacks!


our Zero-Blade device is capable of capturing twice as much wind kinetic energy as conventional bladed wind turbine for the same swept area

Who wouldn’t love to see a wobbling dish that was 117m (384 foot) in diameter on a 91.5m (300 foot) tower?
They also claim

Thanks to the specific motion of the sail-shaped body and the absence of blades, the Saphonian has set itself free from the Betz law


The efficiency of a propeller (ie: a turbine) is proportional to the drag it induces. Which is why aircraft propeller are crafted to produce very little drag. But this thing produces drag by the bucket load. Can you imagine reversing this into a propeller system, and powering an aircraft with it? It ain’t going to work. Not in a million years.
However, what will work is that they can bamboozle the liberal-left leaning NGO representatices, and government foreign aid representatives, and the high-tech foundation representatives. These are normally ex- right-on arts students with the technical expertise of a brown-back slug, and can be parted from their grant money allocations with remarkable ease. So just like this absurd college scheme, these enterprising snake-oil salesmen will come out of this experiment as Tunisian millionaires, without a single production turbine being built.


Moving parts are always a source of engineering vulnerability. Of these rotating moving parts are the most reliable – torques and velocities are relatively steady. Whenever reciprocating motion is involved the accelerations amplify the wear on contacting surfaces and fatigue of connecting parts. This wobbler has more than it’s share of such weak spots.


April 27, 2016 at 1:12 pm
Thanks for the link. Good stuff.


It looked like something had already worked loose.

Easy to see what part of hat will break a lot.


Lessons learned for the children: 1) It’s all in the grant writing and who you know for receiving the free stuff, 2) Advocacy claims of benefit and savings are often inflated by an order of magnitude, 3) Machinery breaks from time to time especially if the provider is not reputable in the industry and does not properly ground the equipment or buildings, and 4) Performance claims versus reality are important metrics to study when you get older and away from institutional learning facilities.


Wind turbines are the perfect government sponsored project. Hyperinflated costs, and negligible or negative return on investment. What we need is the department of wind turbines that will last in perpetuity. Like every other worthless agency.

John M

Just cherry-picking.
Why don’t you talk about this whopping success?!?
Read the glowing report! In five years, the 2 MW turbine generated 23.47 MILLION kWh. Why, that’s a fantastic capacity factor of…um-m-m-m…er-r-r-r…0.027.
Oh rats, and I thought it would be worth it to ruin the coastal view of Delaware’s largest resort area.


So the two examples given here today are Delaware and Illinois. The climate con continues.

Curious George

My back-of-envelope calculation yields the capacity factor 0.27 – not bad.

I get 2.67E-4, I think you dropped a decimal point or two. 5*365*24*2E6 / 23.47E6 and then take the inverse of that.

John M

oops, you’re right. I guess the ruined view IS worth it.


M Simon I think you missed the *mega* Watt (peak power production of 2MW) vs *kilo* Watt.hours. (energy generated)
5 years is 5*24*365 hours = 44e3 hours. If the energy was continuously 2 MW during this time, this makes 2e6*44e3 = 9e10 W.h
They have got 23e6 kW.h = 23e9 W.h, that makes a 0.27 efficiency (or 27%).
Am I correct? (there are some rounding in the process)


“Why, that’s a fantastic capacity factor of…um-m-m-m…er-r-r-r…0.027. ”
Are you sure? Check my math, but:
23.47 MILLION kWh is 23,470 MW/hrs.
Over 5 years that is 4,694 MWh per year.
8,760 hours per year, that’s 0.535 MWh per hour.
Cap factor of 0.27 (0.2677), no?

“According to a recent Department of Energy report, wind power is expected to contribute 35 percent of the nation’s energy by 2050, up from 5 percent today.”
Apparently journalists do not understand the difference between ‘could’ and ‘expected’. I expect wind will be less than 1% in 2050. The new occupational disease will wind tower knees.

Will Nelson

I don’t think there is enough fossil fuel in the world to support 35% of US wind energy. When FF runs short how are they going to sustain -99% ROI?


I just looked outside (I live 3/4 of a mile from the UDEL turbine) and wonder of wonders it’s turning! I don’t know what the “duty cycle” is but more often than not I look over there and it’s still. Doesn’t really affect the view that much since it’s built on the edge of a large marsh but many days I can hear the blades so I’m glad I don’t live any closer.

Bear looks like a nice place to live and sail.
From Google maps it does not look like there is much potential for more than one wind turbine. One is interesting but if you want to build more where people live, there will be a loud out cry.
Been watching the output for a few minutes. Output is about 10% of rated at 11 mph. output changes with every computer update. No idea how this affects duty cycle.

Mark Luhman

My question they talk about the power generated but there are no cost factors in the report, In five years they did generate about 2.4 plus million dollars of electricity at retail of course at wholesale it would be half to a quarter of that. So again did the project pay for itself with out seeing the expense side we cannot know. Generally when someone shows you only half the ledger you begin to smell a dead rat somewhere in the numbers.

A long time ago I went to an independent Danish windmill maintenance company. They showed me a yard full of broken down 100kw windmills. They generally fail on main bearings and breaks.
I’ve still got two horrendously worn bearing I use as paper weights.

george e. smith

Because of the wind shear problem, the top blade (position) generates more torque, and axial thrust than the bottom blade (position). So the blades experience both a torsional and an axial oscillation at the rotation rate. So they literally shake themselves to bits.
I suppose in principle, you could feather the individual blades, as they rotate (even more bearings to wear out). BUT I believe that you can’t eliminate both the torsional and the axial thrust fluctuations at the same time.
If you change the angle of attack at the top of the circle to get the exact same torsional force as at the bottom of the circle in lower wind speed, then the axial thrust amplitude is even higher than without feathering, and if you vary the other way to keep the drag (axial thrust) constant over the circle, the amplitude of the torsional force is much higher.
So it’s a perfect nowin, nowin situation.

Exactly. Asymmetric torque tears stuff up.


Put that thing on it’s side, and the Kia hamsters would have a blast.

I was thinking one could hang the washing on it – but MarkW’s idea is much MUCH better. 🙂

these are large things, you know. Far too big for hamsters, it could easily accommodate half a dozen ‘renewable energy enthusiasts’, to keep it going when wind stops blowing.


According to the commercial, the Kia hamsters are about 6 feet tall.

Leo Smith

Needs a helicopter style collective,.
No. It doesn’t. The whole concept needs scrapping. What AM I saying?

“……. the Kia hamsters are about 6 feet tall.”
so are many ‘greenes’, and as it happens they are surplus to requirement.


Does the blanking by the tower when the blade passes the down position create any noticeable vibration?


Translation: More Obama policy hot air and failed investment with you money

Dodgy Geezer

….The turbines were funded by a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor,..
No, they weren’t. They were funder by a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. taxpayer. Actually, given the costs of collecting that tax and then administering the grant, it was probably $3 million.
Topic for a University study group – ‘What is the best way to spend $3 million:
1 – to address climate change?
2 – provide other assistance to humanity?


A related question is…What is the cost of a $2.5 million federal grant that is actually money rolled onto national debt and never really paid off over many generations?


See Krugman if there are questions about how WW2 debt was paid.


One way or another they are all paid for with borrowed money. Another point of view is that each big wind turbine could have been half a dozen MRI scanners.

george e. smith

If you think the government’s tax collection system is 80% efficient, you are dreaming. And if you factor in the adder costs to the taxpayer, trying to comply with millions of individual tax laws, the system is even more inefficient.
If their system can beat 50% , I would be very surprised.
Topic for a University study group.
1- Learn something, that will enable you to get a paying job that can make you a lot of money.
2- Now that you are financially self sufficient; provide some assistance to other folks you might meet in your neighborhood.


“No, they weren’t. They were funder by a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. taxpayer. Actually, given the costs of collecting that tax and then administering the grant, it was probably $3 million.”
Actually, it’s more like 0.5 million from that grant. (plus another 0.5 million). It’s even written in the article (much further away that the 2.5 million reference) that the turbine funding is 18% of that grant, but the article is not very well written. (like this comment) I don’t know if the author is just bad, or if he wanted to mislead the readers on purpose.


You mean to tell me the US Department of Labor didn’t actually do any work on the turbines? How do they earn money then?


$2,500,000 grant wasted. That money could have paid for 250 scholarships of $20,000 each.

Curious George

A negative return on investment – but I wonder how much carbon dioxide was generated producing these turbines, and how much will be generated tearing them down.
Solyndra got a lot of publicity. There are probably many of these smaller federal projects.


Tells you something about the econ department at a community college.


Ha Ha! Many, Many Moons ago, I attended school there for two semesters…
And even better, they’re going to continue to scam the taxpayers by replacing them with solar panels?

So they lost money on the Wind Turbines but will surely do better with solar voltaics? Delusional.

and i just sent in my taxes


I didn’t pay taxes this year, I got money back.
very big /sarc on that.

Snarling Dolphin

Excellent teaching tools indeed! There’s definitely a master’s thesis lurking in there somewhere. I would expect the same steep learning curve opportunity to be provided by the solar power system. Hopefully they will be as willing to lay the costs and benefits on the table for all to see.

Would have been funnier if the return was negative 97 percent.

I lived not far from there in 1999. The wind absolutely howls there, as there is no windbreak or even any trees for hundreds of miles to the west. The few trees that do grow frequently sustain wind damage to the windward branches. If wind turbines can’t work there, well…


At least it was an inefficient bird slicer system. Now it can be just your ordinary over promised solar efficiency lie involving silicon panels that lose efficiency in hot, humid conditions like on rooftops. Such rooftop systems are a minimum of 2x more costly than utility scale solar per kwh, but in this case it is government procurement so it my never be turned on. Or it may be up to 8x more costly depending on the installer and the lax procurement policy applied to renewables.


Wind power accounted for only 4.4 percent of electricity generated in America in 2014, according to the Energy Information Administration.

None of which was commercially viable.


I can’t remember the name but there is a paradox in economics. If my town is flattened by a tornado, it drives economic activity as people rebuild their houses and businesses. Using that logic, we should cancel the fire code to encourage conflagrations that will cause economic activity.
Using the above logic, it doesn’t matter how much electricity the wind turbines generate. The maintenance activity is good for the economy.
With the above in mind, here’s a story on how good wind power is for the Ontario economy.

The Compass analysis found that in the 25 years from 2006-2030, wind energy in Ontario will have stimulated more than $14 billion in economic activity, including $650 million that will flow directly into local economies in the form of land lease payments, municipal property taxes, and community vibrancy funds. The industry will create 73,000 full-time equivalents (FTEs) — each representing one year of employment — and pay more than $5 billion in wages and benefits.

It’s Bastiat’s ‘Broken Window Fallacy’.


Thanks, that was bugging me. 🙂
Parable of the broken window


commieBob and dbstealey. All improvements require maintenance and repair in this imperfect world of ours. The more improvements you make to a property the more maintenance and repairs there will be. If you improve a property to a level greater than you can maintain, you will be forced to endure the level of differed maintenance you cannot afford. This is kind of the essence of private enterprise.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the more statist try to improve things, the worse it gets for the majority, whereas when private enterprise screws up, it is their loss not yours and mine, as it is with government subsidies or grants. The only beneficiaries now are those skimming from the public treasury. The company that sold these idiots the wind turbines. Since the companies are backed by the oligarchs see what happens when you try to sue them. Too many people still drinking the coolaid. Please review Venezuela’s current financial situation and the number of social polices they have implemented over the last 35 years starting with the nationalization of the oil and gas industry. The society is failing. Why? Very simple, all political jurisdiction rely on taxation and the greater the level of taxation the less well off the majority. By it’s nature government will continuously try to expand it taxing authority until it one day places it society into bankruptcy. To stay off bankruptcy they print more money until the day comes when that money rapidly becomes worthless as Venezuela is now experiencing. This is a common occurrence with every single nation state that has ever “graced” our world. Time and time again the Citizens of our world must endure the boom and bust cycles created by the poor economic policies of the national state. Isn’t it time to get off the marry-go-round and dispose of the nation state? Oh that’s right, the thieves within government will not allow that for fear of upsetting their oligarch masters.

Les Francis

Venezuela is in an even worse position now because their local currency notes are printed offshore. The government must use foreign reserves to buy their own printed note currency. Since the government is running out of foreign reserves they cant even afford to have their own currency printed.
Of course the currency notes are of a low denomination – no government want’s to print notes of a higher value because this would admit there is inflation.
Currency notes have previously been printed and then sent to Venezuela in cargo 747’s.

Samuel C Cogar

hskiprob – April 27, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Please review Venezuela’s current financial situation and the number of social polices they have implemented over the last 35 years

And here is the latest review, to wit:

Venezuela’s public workers get 5-day weekend, full salary, and extra time for food lines
The country’s socialist administration already gave nearly 3 million public workers Fridays off earlier this month, and on Monday initiated daily four-hour blackouts around the country.

hskiprob says:
Isn’t it time to get off the marry-go-round and dispose of the nation state?
I agree with a lot of what you wrote. But not that.
What makes you think the next step — a world government — wouldn’t be the same, but much worse? It would be a giant, worldwide bureaucracy of nameless, faceless, and unaccountable rulers. You want that??
What the US needs to do is get out of the UN, evict them from our shores, and deal fairly with the countries that support us. And to hell with the rest.


db – a nation state is a nation state. It does not matter if it is a one world government or the 230+/- we have now. They all fail to do what they are supposed to do and each cause great hardships for the majority most of the way through their cycles. The seldom if ever truly provide what is in the best interest of the majority. Taking away individual rights in order to protect them is not a rational objective or historical true. We have obviously been lied to but adjusting to a stateless society has only occurred when the various States from time to time actually fail. Of course the oligarchs are quick to reestablish them historically relying on enough people to be paid off to join them and start the theft and coercion all over again. Humans do not learn from history despite what they are led to believe.

I agree that we don’t learn from history. But not all states are bad. It sounds like you think there can’t be good nations.
For most of our history the U.S. was good for the citizens. I don’t like the past few decades. But it’s not a lost cause yet.
The UN is a lost cause. Most countries are, too. But the whole world wants to flood into the US. Ever wonder why?
It’s because they know this place is so much better than their hellhole.
There’s nothing wrong with a country of reasonable laws. And that’s the problem right now: they pick and choose which laws to enforce, and which to turn a blind eye to.
If the same crowd gets into office here, after 8 years of dragging us down, then I’m all for the anarchy of a stateless society. But we’ll see, won’t we? I think folks are getting pretty tired of the status quo.

Samuel C Cogar

This needs to be repeated, repeated, repeated, …………

What the US needs to do is get out of the UN, evict them from our shores, and deal fairly with the countries that support us. And to hell with the rest.

Donald Trump is America’s last great “White Hope” …… because 4 or 8 years of “more of the same” will prevent the socio-economic pendulum from ever swinging back from its leftist liberal position.

I have worked at many nuke plants. They are a boon to the economy because of the property taxes and the salaries of the highly skilled staff. Since nukes plant generating costs are low, ratepayers also benefit.
PNW communities with wind farms benefit in much the same way. If the ratepayers are in California, local ratepayers are not hurt.

Ben of Houston

It’s about your stuff/$ ratio. Your efficiency.
The issue is not that we are replacing energy, but that wind is replacing more efficient energy. In the case of a broken window, you are getting nothing for your money. It’s simply returning you to your prior setting. The glazier comes out ahead, but you come out behind, so the economic benefit is less than if you had spent the money on something you actually wanted..
In the case of a nuclear plant, you are providing more power for less money, so everyone wins.

Bob you will find the the higher the level of taxes in a society, the less the majority is well off. Taxes to not create a boon to society, just the opposite, free enterprise does. The lesser the taxes the higher the welfare of the majority. Taxes and regulations kill many incentives to the middle class and poor. I guess the question is how much poverty do you want in your society. 100 million now living at or near the poverty line. Keep all the taxes and regulations and that number will increase. It pretty simple math.

Bubba Cow

“community vibrancy funds” ??? new one to me
maybe should be “community vibrating funds”


Never heard of community vibrancy funds? Try Ontario wind developers provide additional money to local communities for local community projects. Santa Claus parades, fire trucks, money for school projects, hockey, and on and on.
Vibrancy funds supposed to make local communities feel better about putting up with wind turbines. Known locally as “bribrancy” funds.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Anyone who thinks the Compass analysis you quoted above makes sense has either (a) a financial stake or other connection to the wind industry, or (b) a Bernie Sanders sign on their front lawn.

PNW communities with wind farms benefit in much the same way. If the ratepayers are in California, local ratepayers are not hurt.

Exemplary govenment project 🙂


The conclusion is clear: It’s time to disband the Department of Labor.


Why stop there?


Yep get rid of most bureaucracy. Department of labor…. So Orwellian. They last thing they do is labor.

They were credite with $85,000 in generated electricity. For everything it took to erect them, seems likely their production and decommissioning they must have consumed more energy than they ever generated. Ignoring costs you likely get more emissions than if they had never been conceived, It would be informative to know how much.


Berényi Péter

“It is becoming more and more difficult for us financially to maintain the turbines,” Josh Bullock, the college’s president, told the Journal Gazette and Times-Courier last week.

Poor little babies! And how difficult it will be be, financially, I mean, to reimburse $1 million to taxpayers, already spent on a failed project. Or irresponsible and fraudulent use of taxpayer’s money is no longer a crime in the US of A?


“I think it was an extremely worthy experiment when they were installed”
It’s a “worthy experiment” to find out something that everyone else already knew?

Javert Chip

This is a community college.
Good chance they really didn’t know.
Good chance they still don’t know.

Tom in Florida

“worthy experiment” means they used other people’s money.


Lake Land plans to replace the two failed turbines with a solar power system paid for by a government grant. “[T]he photovoltaic panels are expected to save the college between $50,000 and $60,000 this year,”
These guys are just suckers for punishment.

They’re just suckers.
Sounds like Mr Haney is in the Wind Turbine and Solar Panel business over near Green Acres.


Leave them in place. Monuments to folly.


Tilt them a little. Drill holes. Use them Martin nests.

Tilting windmills?
No Tilting Zone


Tilting at windmills? Are you Don Quixote?

Tom Yoke

When we visited the Big Island of Hawaii a few years ago, there was a huge abandoned wind farm on the southern tip of the island. It was quite an eyesore on an otherwise spectacular island, and I’ve since wondered whether it is still there, in all its rusted glory.


Damage due to a lightning strike suggests bad grounding design to me, tho I understand no grounding system can be perfect.

Owen in GA

One of Ben Franklin’s inventions from the 1750s could have come in handy too, The lightning rod!


Maybe they left that out of the procurement list or shaved expenses by skipping that part under the table. It works in Brazil.


Can make the situation worse as the added lightning rod makes the wind turbine taller?
There are videos online that show lightning striking wind turbines and at least one that shows a tornado hitting a wind turbine.


“2007: Wind feasibility study completed for $30,000”
A lawsuit should be able to get that money back at least.


…plan to install solar panels……HELLO….when your in a hole, stop digging!!!

Brian R

If a lightning strike knocked the turbine out, it wasn’t properly grounded(i.e. it wasn’t properly installed to begin with). The grounding system for a structure like that should be pretty massive and able to dissipate even the largest of strikes.


Industrial size wind turbines installed in Ontario are not required to be government inspected. As far as is known the foundations are not inspected either.
There is one now leaning near Owen Sound, ON that is said to have been installed in 2002.
Wind turbines installed in Michigan’s Thumb area have already been damaged by weather related issues and one collapsed recently. Might have been heavy wet snow on the blades but cause of the collapse not known for sure.


Owen Sound Times, April 12, 2016
‘Wind turbine at Ferndale leaning’
Now secured by tethers.
Photo at:


Don’t panic, they’ll come up with a new and improved way to waste other peoples money!


Plastics……..renewable plastics

Bill Powers

“…They are not a good teaching tool if they are not working.”
Oh they are a great teaching tool. You are just not teaching the right lesson.


A teacher of mine used to proclaim that we are always learning. It’s just that we aren’t always learning what we intended.

Jimmy Haigh

If windpower had ever been any good we’d never have needed to mine any coal.

CD in Wisconsin

First, they squander over $1 million (inculding maintenance costs) on a failed wind energy project. And now they want to….
“……….. replace the two failed turbines with a solar power system paid for by a government grant. “[T]he photovoltaic panels are expected to save the college between $50,000 and $60,000 this year,”Allee told the DCNF.”
Reminds me of Einstein’s definition of insanity (which this college apparently feels doesn’t apply to them): Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results each time.


It’s called Illinois, where they can’t even pay their bills.


Illinois s**cks. I pay over $500 a month in property tax on a dumpy little 60 year old two bedroom house. I pay 10% sales tax. I pay 3.75% income tax. I would move in a heartbeat if I could.

L Leeman

They’re teaching indoctrination and that the students should go to electrical maintenance school instead of college.


That’s much too practical. In case you haven’t noticed environmental and ecology degrees are everywhere in U.S. education offerings. It’s lower cost and high return credit hours. All you need is a bus for field trips and a climate preacher faculty member.

Tom Yoke

“Climate preacher”. That’s good. I’ll have to remember that.

Carter Burger

Somebody saw these morons coming and sold them a bag full of magic beans and a gallon of snake oil.

+ 100


I can’t remember which publication it was Design News or Machine Design had an article in the last year or so about the rolling element bearing problems they were having with turbines. If it was feasible hydrodynamic bearings might have been the better choice.

Interestingly the main reason the Danes did so well early on was because they accidentally created a system whereby the got real mechanical engineering companies – like Vestas – who started by building agricultural machinery – so I mean REAL MECHANICAL ENGINEERING. And they managed to keep the academics out of the Danish wind industry.
I had the opportunity to meet one of the original 5 from Riso their “research institute”. I was interested, because at the time the UK were pushing to create a “research institute” for wave energy (run by academics). The first thing I noticed about him was his stubby fingers. The second was that unlike most Danes he was not fluent in English (although his English was far better than my Danish).
But I asked him “what kind of research did you do at Riso”. He looked at me quizzically. I repeated the question. Eventually after much pushing he eventually said: “we did go down to the scrap metal yard and select a few lorry gear boxes to test”.
That was the kind of guy who literally created the modern windmill – and note, in Denmark it is called a Windmill referring back to the past machinery. Whereas in the US and UK which failed appalling to produce any machine capable of being reliable …. they were called “wind turbines” … trying to suggest they were new an “innovative”.
And of course, I do not blame the guys at Riso for the current “wind scam” … which was largely I regret to say as a result of UK and US academics. So, the same US/UK academic culture that couldn’t build a reliable windmill, could produce a reliable climate model … I think that sums up the whole debacle very well.


Thanks so much for your reply. It put a smile on my face. I particularly liked your thought to keeping the academics away.
I my initial reply I should have stated hydrodynamic or hydrostatic bearings. I spent 35 years in rotating equipment design.


Actually the Vestas aren’t any good. The gearboxes fail quite frequently. It’s gotten so bad that in Sweden insurance companies now refuse to insure the gearboxes (the rest of the windmills seems to work OK).

If these fools want to use old technology to generate electricity, at the speeds they rotate at they need old technology bearings.Big old plain bearings with an oil feed, it will wear but not collapse.

Amateurs making electricity is on my list of stupid things people do. I do not care what your IQ is, if you do enough stupid things, you are stupid. Unfortunately, the inverse is not true. One awh sh#t, wipes out a 1000 atta boys.
First on my list is smoking, it is expensive. I did not need the government to tell me that smoking was bad for my health, my chain smoking parents and grandparents did. I would like the government to stop using scare tactics and adopt a cost/benefit approach.
Second is tatoos. It is a navy thing. Again I learned from my parents. When I was a young sailor I was told not to get any by my father who had none and my father-in-law who had them. The latter mentor lied about his age to get into the navy during WWII. Again, cost/benefit.
Third is having a phd and thinking you are all knowing. It tells me you were not able to get a good job with a bachelor’s degrees. If you are unsure of this, think of all of the phd’s who comment on making electricity with no experience in the field.
Amateurs making electricity is is way down on my list of stupid things people do because in the past they had good reasons. For examples, dairy farmers have backup generators. If they can not milk the cows during a power outage, they will lose their livelihood.
The biggest reason I am against amateurs like Lake Land College is safety. We do not put nuke plants is school parking lots. I would much prefer an alpha particle to be absorbed in a dead layer of skin that absorb the kinetic energy of a broken turbine blade.
As far as economics, why do amateurs think they can do it better than professionals? Claims of saving money is a code for a scam.
I have yet to see a case where amateurs actually protect the environment better than the professionals at a coal plant


I have yet to see a case where amateurs actually protect the environment better than the professionals at a coal plant

Some northern countries have been experimenting with cogeneration. With cogeneration you heat your house with the waste heat from a generator. In theory this recovers waste heat from the generation process better than a large scale generator can do.
If cogeneration were truly viable, it would be much more common because people have been working on it for a long time.
On the other hand, there are places in the world where many people have their own generators. Local conditions can make it feasible or even necessary. If the government were to jack the price of electricity up to a buck per kWh, I would seriously consider it.


The problem with co-generation is that the houses have to be pretty close to the power station.
You can use it to heat buildings on the plant, but that’s about it.

I had this debate a few years back with Robert Rapier about a home VW system cogen system. Bob nailed it when he said you would see more if it were viable.
The primary reason heating with natural gas or propane is very efficient.
“buck per kWh, I would seriously consider it.”
I have two generators for my motorhome. With fuel cost at $2/gal, you break even on fuel costs.


Cogeneration is quite practicable. It is used on a large scale in Sweden. Economically it works OK and the energy efficiency can be very high, but there are two drawbacks:
1. Even when used on a very large scale (like in Sweden) it only produces a small part of the required electricity (in Sweden c. 8,5 %). This is because only a relatively small part of the energy comes out as electricity.
2. The amount of electricity thast can be produced is strongly constrained by the amount of heat needed. It is extremely uneconomical to operate a cogeneration plant for electricity only. On a short term basis (say over 24 hours) heat production and electricity production can be decoupled to some extent by storing hot water in storage tanks, but this is not possible for longer periods.


“You can use it to heat buildings on the plant, but that’s about it.”
Definitely not. If the hotwater lines are properly insulated the heat can be transported several kilometers without undue losses. A more serious constraint is that you have to have reserve plants in all large hotwater systems. You can’t let a whole city freeze because a single cogeneration plant is inoperable.

If they really want a lesson, they should try it without grid back-up. None of them ever seem confident enough for that. I wonder why. /sarc


A rule of thumb in project management is that, since estimates for projects on the drawing board are always done by optimists, the costs are underestimated by a factor of 2, and the benefits are overestimated by a factor of 2. In a typical ‘break-even’ project (which would never get started as project managers won’t touch projects that don’t show a reasonable chance for a profit), the ROI would be about -75%. Because of the expectation of profit a real-world PM looks for projects where double the anticipated cost is less than half the expected benefit.
The PM for this project must have been a tyro, but even an experienced PM would have been beaten by this project.
The calculations in the last paragraph are bogus. You can’t generate power for one month and then store it to supply a single house for 32 more months. The correct meaning is that the 2 turbines producing 36,667 kWh/ mo could supply 33 homes in that month – weather permitting.


Try working with software engineers as my company does. I use a factor of 7 for both of those estimates (Costs underestimated and benefits overestimated). I also apply an additional factor of 7 for testing and debugging of the original cost estimation because the majority of software engineers never include this in their numbers I also then add 50% of that test estimate again as I figure half of the testing time requires the original engineer(s) to debug and patch their original code for all the things the test team finds. I constantly am challenged by the stakeholders but time after time I have been proven to be right (at least for the past 39 years).


Of course, photovoltaics have their own problems including having to be kept very clean. And during winter months the hours of effective solar input (in Illinois) is drastically decreased, further diminishing output. It’s a sure thing that their projected savings with PV are very optimistic.


This is never a major concern.
Usually, in the subsidy rich western world solar panels work extremely well in almost all conditions and climates.
Inasmuch as you just put them on your roof and connect them to the grid – and then when the sun shines generous quantities of other people’s money flow directly into your bank account. (sarc.)

You gotta love the liberal mind set. “It’s not a learning experience if you have to keep fixing them”. Oh contraire, realizing you have to maintain stuff is a wonderful learning experience….Everything must be maintained! Before something is built, it must be able to provide real value, besides “being a learning experience”.


I’d agree. While they are being maintained, you can observe the inner workings and see how they work. While they are working, it’s not learning unless you are actively involved in its operation. Effectively, it’s art to be looked at.

Tom Yoke

That quote, “It’s not a learning experience if you have to keep fixing them”, seems remarkably backwards.
What the administrator really means is that there is only a single outcome that equates to “learning”, and that is that “renewable energy” is mighty swell and we should therefore dictate that result to society. If their experience with renewable energy fails to support that conclusion, then the experiment must be wrong, rather than the politically driven fore-ordained conclusion.


It really has been a wonderful learning opportunity for all the students.
They will hopefully have learned that the modern day so-called “grown ups” who pretend to be able to teach them, are a bunch of daydreaming retards who over-estimate their own competence.
Frank Zappa — ‘If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library.’

chris y

So here is my estimate for the solar PV project they mention at the end of the article.
The College is near Mattoon, IL. Average solar irradiance is 4.74 kWhr/m^2/day, or 4.74 hrs/day of peak sun.
The plan is to replace the 1205 kWh/day that was supposed to be delivered by the two wind turbines.
That requires a solar PV system output power of 1205/4.74 = 254 kWAC.
A system typically has an all-in DCpanel-to-ACwallplug efficiency of 80%. So the PV system needs to be rated at 318 kWDC.
The California Solar Statistics website keeps track of solar project costs. Current costs for a system >10kW is $4.37/WDC.
The total project cost before all the extras for ‘training’ will be about $1.4M.
Double it and add 32 gives a predicted request for $2.8M.

Alan Robertson

Kelly Allee, Director of Public Relations at Lake Land College, told The Daily Caller News Foundation…
“They are not a good teaching tool if they are not working.”
Director Allee,
In order to make that statement, you must still be operating within a framework of beliefs, instead of knowledge.
The best teaching tool is that which most closely resembles reality. Exchange your beliefs for knowledge of the reality of wind generators.


“They have been an excellent teaching tool for students….” Yeah? What lessons did they learn?
“Lake Land plans to replace the two failed turbines with a solar power system paid for by a government grant.” Apparently, only the wrong ones.