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


239 thoughts on “FAIL: Busted Wind Turbines Give College Whopping Negative 99.14% Return On Investment

    • 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.

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

      • 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!”

      • 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.


      • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

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

  1. While they have been an excellent teaching tool…
    Was the lesson “a fool 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.

    • 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.

  2. “[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.

    • They were way-off on wind savings, but now solar will save even more.

      Different verse, same as the first.

      • “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.

    • 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.,

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

      • 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 ………

      • 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.

  5. 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

      • 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.

    • EricHa-

      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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Naysayers!

    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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

  9. 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.

    • 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.


  10. ….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?

      • 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.

    • 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. 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…

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

      • 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.

      • hskiprob.
        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.

      • 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.

      • hskiprob,

        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.

      • 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.

    • Bob

      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.

      • 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.

    • “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.

    • 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.

  18. 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.

  19. “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?

  20. “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?

  21. 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.

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

    • 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.

  23. “2007: Wind feasibility study completed for $30,000”

    A lawsuit should be able to get that money back at least.

  24. 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.

  25. “…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.

  26. 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.

      • 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.

  27. 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.

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

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

      • Bob

        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.

  31. 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).

  32. 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.)

  33. 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.

    • 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.

  34. 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.’

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. “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.

  38. Hopefully, they learned that government should not be giving out grants for anything. Nope, they’re are going to do solar pv next, again on the taxpayers tab. Is it the quality of our education system or are people getting degrees that shouldn’t? or both?

    • What they actually learned was that if you fail with one government grant you can always get another. Consider the logic: the government will give you a grant for a product that will try to make up for the other product that failed to produce what the government said it would because otherwise the other grant would be money wasted. And you thought there was no such thing as perpetual motion.

      • Hey Tom, I was just looking through some of the data from the Department of Energy seeing how much money is being doled out by just that agency and the long list of small departments under it. No wonder this country is near bankruptcy and 100 million people are living at or near the poverty line. A while back I found one consulting company in CN with some 4,500 current funded government contracts. All the do is consulting. Can you imagine how much money the people involved in that company dole back out to the politicians and major political parties each election cycle. When people tell me they can determine which candidates are lying to them the least, I start looking for their glass of Kool Aid.

      • You know the old saying: “How do you know when a politician is lying? They are speaking”.

      • The poverty line is defined as a fraction of average income.
        No matter how wealthy or poor the country is, there will always be about 100 million living near the poverty line.

      • MarkW = that must be socialist logic. What you need to do Mark is take a 30 to 40 year old person and see what it costs for them to actually live in the majority of communities in America. Then see what the weighted average income in America really is. The first thing you will find out is that the government doesn’t publish the weighted average income, only the average which is of course heavily skewed by millionaires and billionaires. The second thing you will find is that what most people would call the poverty line is much higher than what the government publishes, so likely there are even more people living at or near poverty in this country.

        The government will always try to either make themselves look better if they are trying to make it look like their policies are working and make the stats look bad, if they are trying to get people to believe that more government policies are needed. Conclusion, Government statistics are generally as bad as their performance at solving our social problems. That is why are military budget is now higher then the next 11 highest military budgets of all other countries combined. Even China with the second largest defense budget and a population and geographic size multiples times larger than ours, spends only about 15% of our budget. That’s just one reason why there are more people living at or near the poverty line today, then ever in U.S. history. We are the largest debtor nation in the world and the Federal Reserve is having to buy our own Treasuries because we can’t pawn them off on anyone else. What most people also don’t know is that we have started making U.S. member Banks and Corporations also buy our Treasuries to sure up their balance sheets, even thought Treasuries are declining internationally in value. At one time a bank would give you a high loan to value if you used a Treasury as collateral for the loan. That is no longer true.

        Not all things are wonderful in paradise my fiend. Remember, don’t drink the Kool Aide and please try to get others to stop drinking it.

    • “academic report”

      Another useless report written by amateurs who know nothing about generating electricity. Part of being skeptical is checking references.

      The Rocky Mountain Institute, Really!

      I am not defending solar but I am criticizing academic reports.

    • The report is by the Institute of Political Economy, Utah State University. It may (or may not) also be called the Rocky Mountains Institute.

      That by itself, mixed with condescending snobbery, is not a reason to dismiss the report. It contains factual information and analysis which would require detailed rebuttal from would-be faux skeptic critics.

      • @Ptolemy2

        Footnote 58 is RMI.

        “would require detailed rebuttal from would-be faux skeptic critics”

        Be happy too. Since you posted the link, pick what you think the most significant ‘analysis’. Tell me why and the page number. You may want to check the reference first.

        An example would be from page 10, “Photovoltaic and concentrated solar power have some of the lowest capacity factors of any major energy source. Their low capacity factors indicate that solar resources rarely produce near their full capacity. ”

        Full design capacity is a 20% CF for fixed PV. If the assumptions the business plan are valid, it does not matter what CF of a nuke or coal is. Amatures!

        As far a good analysis goes, how many fixed PV systems get the expected 20% and for how long. The same panel will get 14% in New Jersey. The best I have seen 19% near Tucson. The panel on Google roof in Sunnyvale was very poor. It has to do with the marine layer.

        So reference footnote 40 comes from government data of ‘reported expected performance’ not actual data. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

        There is a reason wind and solar does not work. The purpose is to get your picture taken so you can brag about how ‘green’ you are. If they produced enough electricity to pay someone to fix them they would work.

  39. Didn’t the fools buy the turbines with a warranty? You’d think a minimum bumper-to-bumper of five years would be standard practice, longer on non-consumables/non-ware parts.

  40. Many decades ago when I when to University, they also had a windmill. It never worked from the day I got there to the day I left. From that I learnt that wind doesn’t work.

    Perhaps some of the more enlightened students will learn the same lesson?

  41. I did find the ‘expected savings’ for the new solar panels blithely stated to be one of the most amusing statements of the day. It is classic, now that their last boondoggle failed to ‘save’ money, why, it’s replacement surely will save them even more.

  42. The rules of economics change depending on the funding sources. In 2010, each turbine was worth 500,000 USD/OPM (US Dollars – Other Peoples’ Money). Today, two aren’t worth 100,000 USD.

    In addition an unrealistic capacity factor, they used an overstated avoided cost of power. They used $0.10/kWh rather then the actual commercial rate for that area of $0.06/kWh. Didn’t they look at their electric bills? Or is 67% too high, considered “close enough for government work”?

    $2,542,762 from US Dept of Labor for “green job training program”; isn’t learning how to fix these stupid things considered a “Green Job”? Or are “Green Jobs” strictly limited to rent seeking? What are the classes? Grant Writing (English 101), Cost/Benefit Analysis for Government (Business 202), Green Public Relations (Communications 205), Blame Shifting (Communications 208), Climate Science (Religion 102), “Crédit Mobilier a 19th Century Inspiration” (US History 203)?

  43. “Since the output of wind turbines cannot be predicted with high accuracy by forecasts, grid operators need to keep excess conventional power systems running.”

    So, actually, their wind power didn’t save a dime. They still had to keep conventional power systems running at all times in case the unpredictable wind decided to stop.

    • Stupid, stupid, stupid!

      Louis you might want to ask yourself what idiot wrote what you quoted and what the source is. The link is too some really absurd modeling study. The statement is wrong, wrong, wrong.

      I supported the production tax credit under Bush. At the time, we were building new facilities to import LNG because existing LNG import facilities were at capacity.

      Every MWh generated by wind reduced the amount of very expensive LNG imported. This saved every US taxpayer money either directly or indirectly.

      The US grid operators are not having a problem with wind.

      • For every MW generated by wind we have to maintain highly inefficient combustion-based gas turbine to handle sudden changes in power output. Those generators need to spin all the time. Even if they don’t produce power, they have to spin. And in order to spin they do require LNG. Maybe not as much as to produce power, but they do require that.
        Normal high-efficiency power generators would probably consume similar overall amount of fuel as wind turbines and low-efficiency fast combustion turbines. You would get some positive return here, fuel wise, but lot less than what is being claimed, so the statement is not wrong at all. And if you count actual installation and operating costs, the wind turbines are much more expensive even without accounting for spinning reserve.

        It has nothing to do with modeling – it’s a real world.

  44. This is like Roosevelt’s New Deal initiative that created jobs by government investing in expanding infrastructure. The only difference being that the jobs Roosevelt created actually resulted in something useful (like roads and bridges) in helping the economy and the country to grow. Wind and solar government funded projects not so much.

    • Alx – Resent research by those such as Amity Shaels “The Forgotten Man” showed that FDRs policies exacerbated the length and debt of the depression and caused a number of the existing businesses and utility companies to go bankrupt having to compete against such entities as the Tennessee Valley Authority. Some were employee owned companies which caused many of the employee shareholders to lose their life savings.

      All enacted social policies have negative ramifications. Statists just don’t like to talk about them, only trying to beef up the alleged intentions. However, what I have found through my research and reading over the years, that most of the social policies enacted, are disguised as a common good, but behind the legislation there are special interest trying to obtain benefits at the expense of everyone else. FDR was a part of the ruling oligrachy with strong family ties to banking. Just think about the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Within 16 years of the enactment, the banksters put this country and much of the world into one of the longest and deepest depressions in world history. It is a simply formula. Expand the money supply, then contract it, watch some major businesses go bankrupt, than have your cronies buy them up for pennies on the dollar. The Washington Post is my favorite example, but their are many more. The Washington Post went bankrupt in 1933 and was purchased by the then Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, Board of Govenors who was also the former President of the World Bank, Eugene Meyer. That was Katherine Grahams father who had married Phillipe Graham, who not only ended up running the newspaper, but owned WPLG TV Miami and numerous other TV and radio stations in Florida. Ex- Governor and Senator Bob Graham of Florida, is their nephew. I could tell you how a group of Banksters in Tampa Florida, ended up owning half of the utility companies in such countries as Dominica, Nevis and Granada but that is a story for another day. The book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins tells the similar stories of numerous countries in south and central America which is basically to what happened to many Islands in the Caribbean. One of the banksters in Tampa just so happens to be the son of one of the largest Caterpillar dealers in the south, and low and behold, the islands referenced above are all using Caterpillar Diesel Generators to provide electrical power to their grids. Before the economic hit men came in to Dominica, the electrical utility was fully owned by the government employees pension fund. They were forced to sell off half of it for pennies on the dollar, because the country had defaulted on their IMF loan. It’s always about the money. Finding the truth about it is not always easy, but there is always one there. Even honest Abe Lincoln has some pretty pathetic stories behind his Republican protected legacy. Lincoln Unmasked by DiLorenzo is my favorite book so far.

  45. “The new turbines will offer students advanced training for large-scale turbine maintenance”

    Well they certainly got their monies worth there.

  46. “They are not a good teaching tool if they are not working.”

    Sure they are if your teachers are smart enough and honest enough to forward to their students the lessons the turbines are teaching… doing the wrong thing is equally destructive whether the action is driven by good or bad intent.

    The college should leave the towers in place as a monument to poor judgement and make every new student study their history during orientation. Graduates will be wiser for it.

  47. There is no way the PV system is saving $40k – $50k the first year. From what I could find online the PV system is planned to be 100kW system. Assuming a total install cost of 3.30 $/wdc and a utility cost of $0.09/kWh, I get a savings of $10700 with a cost of $0.23/kWh. If they get a commercial rate for electricity then the savings is about half that and the cost per kWh is about half. The only way they are getting more than that is by recieving a rebate from the DCEO solar and wind energy rebate program. Il has a $0.20 kWh solar energy incentive program too.

  48. “I think it was an extremely worthy experiment when they were installed, but they just have not performed to our expectations to this point.”

    How can any sensible person attend a learning institution that has this to say? I wonder how Donald Trump would have phrased this disappointment? You folks need a polar bear like him for president to start the pyramid building effort of cleaning up political correctness pollution. It was effusive political correctness by the time he got to the word “expectations” but to then add “to this point” because, after all, he didn’t want to sound too critical was, just too much! They learned something indeed about windmills as sources of energy and it wasn’t anything to do with learning to become wind technicians.

    So hey, they were only going to save 44,000 with the windmills, but it’s basically win-win what happened…..they are now going to save 50,000 with solar panels. So let’s get started – black side up, students, and facing the sun.

    • And guess what? Once they pull them down they still won’t perform to their expectations. So before and after the point.

  49. The carefully crafted lie of the day award goes to Ptolemy2.

    ““Not having a problem with wind”
    Apart from these eleven?”

    Add in the context of ‘The US grid operators are’ and it changes things.

    Thanks for the dire predictions about the future of some journalist with an agenda.

    In any case, Ptolemy2 reading skill are a little off. No current problems for US grid operators dealing with wind and solar.

    No impending doom, the sky is not falling.

  50. “Illinois s**cks. I pay over $500 a month in property tax…”

    Thanks Marty, I forgot. Worked at two different nuke plants in Illinois as a consultant. Both places offered me a good job. I did not think they could stay in business so I would not move the family.

    Last two places I lived had good schools, low taxes, and no crime, and hardly any snow.

  51. This example isn’t even the frost on the tip of the iceberg of the failures yet to come on a global scale. building infrastructure before the engineering (robust) is proven leads to this. History is full of similar examples.

  52. It’s even worse than claimed. Traditional electric/utility rates have been driven significantly north to raise money for all of these silly renewable projects. Electricity would be substantially cheaper had we not proceeded down this ridiculous and slippery slope.

  53. Lightning causing electrical damage to a wind turbine? I think that means poor electrical design. Lightning would hit a turbine blade, then the current would flow through the shaft, the shaft bearings, the housings of the shaft bearings, and from there through the fixture’s structure to ground. This would cause pitting of the bearings, which should be replaceable wear items, which is mechanical damage (probably bearable before bearing replacement) and not damage to electrical parts of the wind turbine. Assuming the bearings are metallic – which I consider preferable so that lightning current would pass through them. Otherwise, put a contacting brush where it will contact the shaft so as to be part of a conductive path for lightning current. Electrical damage would be to associated electronics and maybe generator windings that did not have simple and easily available protection against the effects of lightning current passing by nearby.

    • Lightening didn’t actually strike the wind turbine. It struck the government money-pot sitting along side it that fueled the wind turbine. That turbine died from fuel starvation. I figure burning money directly in a conventional, money-fired boiler plant would have produced more power than the money-fired wind rig did over its useful lifetime. Now there’s a “learning experience” students can take home and put to good use.

  54. ‘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.’

    in short ‘Because Lake Land College officials and experts improved the turbines.’

  55. ‘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.’

    This time ‘Lake Land College officials and experts’ should withstand from improvements.

  56. “While they have been an excellent teaching tool for students,…. They are not a good teaching tool if they are not working.”

    On the contrary, this installation is an excellent tool for teaching the folly of reliance on wind energy.

  57. The two turbines are estimated to produce more than 220,000 kilowatt hours each year

    So one windmill will be 110,000 Kilowatt hours per year and at at 8766 hours per year that comes to 12,500 watts per hour divided by 745.7 watts per horse power. That’s less than 17 horsepower.

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

    Comes to nearly $30,000 per horse power.

    • “HORSE” power??? Wow. A real blast from the archives.

      And by the way – ‘watts per hour’ is meaningless.

      • “‘watts per hour’ is meaningless” unless you’re describing the time variability of power generation.

  58. Last Paragraph in the Article: “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!”

    Does this make sense to anyone? If so, please explain.

    • I think I can help you out there. It absolutely doesn’t make sense!

      I suppose it’s unkind to mock them, but then they are some sort of educational establishment, so you’d expect them to get some elementary facts right.

      What they are trying to say is that they can produce electricity at 33 times the rate at which the average home could use it. Fair enough. So you could connect 33 homes, and provided they all used electricity at the same modest rate throughout the 24 hours, you would have enough power.

      But they then show their utter confusion about the difference between power (watts) and energy (watt-hours, or kWh, when talking about electricity consumption – or joules when talking about mechanical work), by suggesting that you could leave your wind turbine running for 1 month and then power one home for the next 33 months

  59. From the article: “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.”

    That’s funny. Seems to me like they’ve been an excellent teaching tool throughout, if one understands the lesson(s), that is.

  60. There are many lessons to be learned in Illinois. 1) Wind power involves over promising and under delivering much like the original nuclear power push at any price, 2) Federal stimulus funds were wasted on pet political biases with no report card followup, and 3) Illinois is a great place to study how not to run a State government or government budget or government pension plan or state constitution rigged by unions.

  61. Shouldn’t someone be going to jail for misuse of the taxpayer’s money? Who has been fired?

  62. “While they have been an excellent teaching tool for students, they have only generated $8,500 in power in their lifetime,”

    A miniature classroom working model would have cost a few hundred dollars and it wouldn’t have cost them a cent more in its lifetime. I can only assume the lesson learned here is to not waste other people’s money on expensive vanity projects.

  63. Petroleum Oil is the greenest form of energy produced by the Sun on our planet (Solar panel) formed through millions of years through decaying photosynthesis/plants ect to produce oxygen. People over time will come to realize that carbon “emissions” are simply returning carbon to feed the same plants. Burning oil believe it or not is probably the greenest form of energy, but of course it will take green kids a long time to understand this.

  64. A bit late to this entry, but a few facts bear mentioning.

    First, this article appears to be yet again an example of confirmation bias at WUWT against any example of a renewable energy source that has a problem. We have seen featured on WUWT, just from my memory, a wind turbine that caught fire, a wind turbine being de-iced by a helicopter, a solar power tower project that actually works but is in the news for barely missing its estimated production volume, and now this on a small wind turbine that did not perform as expected.

    Second, a bit of research shows that this wind project, two small turbines of 100 kW each, cost a bit above average for that size wind turbine at barely over $400,000 US for the both. What is glaringly missing from the article, and the commentary above, is that one of the wind turbines was installed with a defective rotor bearing, so of course it never performed to expectations. This fact is from another article on the college’s wind turbines, see below.

    “The 40-inch bearing is the cause of this disassembly, which is likely the result of a manufacturing error that came to light during the first months of the turbine’s operation,” explained Tillman. “We suspected this flaw was preventing the turbine from operating properly and Bora confirmed our suspicions. We can now move forward to make the repair and get the turbine back in working order.” — source:

    Third, the wind turbine manufacturer is Bora Energy, a very new company formed in 2010 that has only the Lake Land College project listed in its website news articles. It is very likely that the Bora company’s first project was these two wind turbines, as they were installed in 2012. It appears that Bora has a steep learning curve. Indeed, the failure of the Bora wind turbines is more of an outlier, and not the norm for the wind industry.

    Fourth, the article mentions nothing at all about the US wind industry’s overall management of operating and maintenance costs. Readily available information from DOE shows annual average O&M costs of 0.5 to 1.0 cents US per kWh sold. However, as with most mechanical things, O&M costs increase with operating age. At 20 years, O&M for wind turbines is approximately 3 cents US per kWh. see my blog for “Wind Turbines Operations and Maintenance Costs: O&M is Key to Profitability”

    What is indisputable is that utility-scale wind turbine projects work quite well, and the power flows when the wind blows. They have an average capacity factor of 34 percent in the US, which is actually better than all natural gas power plants at 29 percent, and barely less than the capacity factor for hydroelectric power plants at 37 percent.

    What is also indisputable is that renewable energy worldwide produced the same amount of electricity, 1520 terra-Watt-hours in 2014 as did all of the planet’s nuclear power plants in 1986 combined, the year Chernobyl exploded and spewed radioactive particles across the northern hemisphere. In that almost 30-year span, renewables grew from almost nothing to an annual production of 1520 tWh. Unlike nuclear power, though, the growth of renewables is very likely to continue at a very rapid pace.

  65. If we, as a society, want to find out what wind power can do, then end all subsidies and invest 10% of that amount into a series of structured incentive prizes, akin to the Project X prizes. Ten million for a home sized turbine that costs $15,000, five million for a household sized battery pack or method of storing electricity that will last a home for 72 hours and run for 15 years without replacement and cost $5,000, and then different amounts for scaled up turbines and methods of electrical/energy storage. (All numbers are arbitrary and pulled out of thin air…I don’t know what makes sense).

    When someone can put forward devices that can accomplish these things, then there will be no need for mandates for renewables, the public will purchase them. Instead of forcing a prefered by political hacks solution, through open the gates of creativity and the free market system and risk no money but the offered prizes.

  66. I don’t know what the fuss is. As long as it doesn’t get hit by lightening more than once every 22.5 years, and nothing bad ever happens, they can break even.

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