Costly wind power menaces man and nature

The true costs of wind energy are too often (deliberately?) ignored or underestimated

Dr. Jay Lehr and Tom Harris

Wind energy can never replace fossil fuels, despite claims of environmentalists and advocates of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal (GND). It’s not environment-friendly either. Indeed, wind power is hampered by many limitations, including:

* its intermittent and inefficient nature

* insufficient sites with adequate, reliable wind

* acreage required to erect turbines and harness wind

* excessive expenses, many of them rarely mentioned

* dangers to bird and bat populations

* dangers to human health from light flicker and low frequency throbbing noise (infrasound).

* costs, limitations, and health and environmental impacts of batteries and other back-up systems

Wind turbines are highly inefficient. Large industrial wind turbines (IWT) typically produce about 2.5 megawatts of power when wind speed is between about 8 and 25 miles per hour. However, most of the time it’s not, even at the best locations.

Today’s wind farms have a 30–40% average “capacity factor.” That means their average annual output is only 30–40% of “nameplate” capacity, or what they would produce if the wind were blowing 8–25 mph 24/7/365. As we erect more turbines, they must be placed in less optimal locations, and capacity numbers will drop, perhaps dramatically. And no one can predict when they will generate electricity.

When the wind isn’t blowing, the electricity grid cannot provide the energy we need to operate and maintain our standard of living. Today fossil fuels stand ready to step in when wind speeds decline. But under the GND, virtually all fossil fuels would be eliminated, making it impossible to keep the lights on without a major increase in nuclear power, which environmental activists hate even more than fossil fuels.

To generate significant wind energy, facilities must be located where there is steady wind most of the time. Such areas exist along the West Coast of the United States and a strip of the Midwest from the Dakotas to Texas. But 75% of the conterminous 48 states have only half the wind of these locations. Offshore areas have higher wind potential but are be at least three times more expensive to develop.

Perhaps the biggest drawback to relying on wind power is the immense amount of land required. IWTs must be placed far apart so they don’t interfere with each turbine’s “wind capture area.”

In his keynote address at the 2018 America First Energy Conference , Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry explained that generating enough electricity to power just the Houston metropolitan area would require almost 900 square miles of wind turbines. This is six-times more land than an equivalent solar farm of photovoltaic cells, assuming they operate at full efficiency 24/7/365; dozens of times the land required for an equivalent nuclear power plant; and 16 times the size of Washington, DC.

Wind is also much more expensive than existing conventional energy sources. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) claims that wind power can generate electricity for 8¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh). However, this is based on poor assumptions and glossing over important realities.

It assumes average wind turbine lifetime is 30 years, the same as a conventional fossil fuel power plant. In reality, most turbines last only 15 years, and less offshore. It ignores the cost of backup power. It includes no cost for transmission lines from wind farms to distant cities. Most significantly, it omits subsidies.

A 2016 Utah State University study shows the following extra costs omitted or miscalculated by the EIA for wind power: 15-years not 30-year life expectancies (US 7¢ per kWh), backup power (at least 2.3¢ cents if the back-up is natural gas), transmission costs (2.7¢), government subsidies (23¢). All that means the real cost of wind power is a staggering 43¢ per kilowatt hour! That’s seven times the cost of natural gas-generated electricity! What family, factory, hospital, office, church or school can afford this?

GND promoters would like wind farms everywhere, but even the most supposedly environmentally friendly communities often do not want wind turbines in their own neighborhoods: they spoil the landscape and cause serious environmental impacts, such as killing many birds and bats each year.

In 2013, Loss, Will and Marra estimated that 140,000 to 328,000 birds are killed each year in the contiguous United States by wind turbines. The Audubon Society says that makes wind “the most threatening form of green energy.” Other sources say the death tolls are far higher.

Bat deaths are even worse and potentially more threatening to human health and welfare. Spain’s Save the Eagles International says industrial wind turbines “kill millions of bats & birds, worsening an environmental and epidemiological crisis.” The 2016 study “Multiple mortality events in bats: A global review” reports that since 2000 industrial wind turbines have overtaken all other causes of mass mortality for bats in North America and Europe.

A conservative estimate of bat mortality in the USA is that at least 4 million bats have been killed by wind turbines since 2012. Bats are our primary natural defense in keeping mosquito and crop-damaging insect populations in check. One bat can eat between 500 and 1,000 mosquitoes and other insects in just one hour, or about 6,000 per night.

Fish and wildlife specialists were stunned at the number of dead bats they found at industrial wind turbines in the eastern US. About half were due to barotrauma: a bat only has to come close to a spinning blade, and the pressure change bursts the blood vessels in its lungs.

Save the Eagles explains that killing millions of bats results in billions of extra mosquitoes. It is no coincidence that mosquito populations have increased up to tenfold over the last 50 years, according to long-term mosquito monitoring programs, which also note that increased urbanization and reduced use of insecticides were the main drivers of this change.

Finally, noise generated by wind turbines is akin to that of a helicopter, affecting quality of life and causing serious health problems for people living within a quarter-mile of a turbine. A 2013 Canadian paper reported, “People who live or work in close proximity to IWTs have experienced symptoms that include decreased quality of life, annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, headache, anxiety, depression and cognitive dysfunction.” Other studies report the same problems.

A woman who was forced out of her Ontario, Canada home said “the problem is not just cyclical audible noise keeping people awake, but also low frequency infrasound, which can travel many kilometres.” The former operator of the Wind Victims Ontario website added, “Infrasound goes right through walls. It pummels your body.” Sherri Lange, CEO of North American Platform Against Wind, says she has “personally received hundreds of phone calls from distressed people who need to vacate their homes.”

Across the world, governments have received tens of thousands of complaints. They rarely even try to address the problems raised. “It is my experience from talking to doctors, researchers and other high-level professionals, that governments seem to be [under the influence of] the industry,” Lange says.

Less frequent but more serious are 192 deaths over the past decade, primarily from massive failures of turbine blades. The deaths have prompted Finland, Bavaria and Scotland to propose legislation that no wind farm be allowed within 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) of any housing.

Many Americans think wind energy is cheap, eco-friendly and wonderful. But that’s because few are ever exposed to the real human, animal, scenic and environmental costs. Green New Deal supporters are counting on people to remain in the dark about these serious problems, to turn their plans into law.

We all need to do more to get the truth out, and confront activists, legislators, regulators and journalists with tough questions and hard realities.

Dr. Jay Lehr is Senior Policy Analyst for the Ottawa-based International Climate Science Coalition. Tom Harris is Executive Director of the ICSC. (Some of the information for this article was derived from the 2018 book The Mythology of Global Warming by Bruce Bunker PhD, published by Moonshine Cove. The authors recommend this book as an excellent source of information on the climate change debate.)

94 thoughts on “Costly wind power menaces man and nature

    • Colleen Ryer

      If you want to save people and animals, ban cars.

      Surely you are being sarcastic.

      And how will the people who DON’T live deep inside inconvenient and overcrowded cities with inconvenient and dangerous and unuseable “public transportation” get around?
      How will they survive? Get to school, get to work, get to stores, get to doctors and schools and churches and parks and to the facilities they need every hour of every day?
      How will food get from farms and fields to the trucks to carry it to the processing plants to get it to the trucks to carry it to the stores?

      Do you seriously think animals were not endangered before 1902?

      • Would need to reorganize society into a vertical structure. Elevator up to your Apt and down to Stores, Work, Etc…
        Of course every building would need to be Self Sustaining and Self Sufficient

        • Are you going to grow your own food in those vertical buildings, too? Make your own steal and glass? Drill underneath to get oil to produce the plastics for your computers, cell phones, pill bottles and many other products you use everyday? Where are you going to put the factories to make the plastics, next door?

          From where and how are the stores going to get their items to sell all you fine folks who are living off the land er, off of concrete, which also emits a great deal of CO2 to make?

        • Since every person needs about 2 acres to supply food, both animal and vegetable, it is impossible for a building to be self-sustaining. The solar panels on the roof will not supply the building’s needs. No water, No sewer, No garbage disposal, no school, no holidays.

          You haven’t thought this through for one iota.

          • Vertical allows for more open farmland and pneumatic tubes would allow for transport. Musk was failing to work out that portion just as fabulously as he was working out the electric car.

    • You left out … ban meat. Yep. Completely shut down ALL cattle, pigs and chickens grown – for food – production. That is the latest “Save Gaia” hysteria. No cars. No meat. Force all of humanity back to hunter-gatherer’s … oops! Did I say “hunter”. Nevermind … we MUST all become “Gatherer’s” … Gatherer’s with cell phones. Ordering our high-protein powdered meals from Amazon.

      • And history shows that intelligence started increasing when humanoids started eating meat. Thus elimination will cause a decrease – making the Planet of Apes story a reality.

      • Don’t forget to ban killing and eating vegetables. They can’t run away. Fruit (wants to be eaten) is the only safe food.

      • Deadly CO2 emissions. Don’t worry about being hit by one at 70mph, you’ll bounce right off.

    • Colleen, you seem to be ignoring the ”fit for purpose” aspect. Many things in life, are a risk. Certainly driving a car or crossing the road would come under that rule. A significant difference with turbines is, they are totally useless when it comes to competing with Fossil fuels or indeed, Nuclear. They are not a suitable alternative.
      What is your alternative to cars?

  1. Dr. Jay Lehr and Tom Harris

    “But 75% of the conterminous ( Contiguous?) 48 states have only half the wind of these locations. ”

    Great post…

  2. In Ontario the previous liberal government explicitly exempted new wind power projects from the otherwise mandatory environmental assessment any other project would require. Supposedly to speed up the construction process, but I suspect also they knew some of the issues mentioned above. Also because many liberal friendly people were given preference when wind farms were approved. Amazing how many liberals were suddenly appointed to the boards of these energy firms.

  3. Funnily enough, I’ve been saying this for many years. But, of course, it nearly always falls on deaf ears unless you are speaking to someone who already appreciates all these problems exist: Leftists have the blinkers on, and will not hear anything negative about these blasted wind factories.

    It is worth adding that there are huge environmental problems caused by the production and construction of wind factories – from the mining of the rare earths required for the magnets, etc, to the huge quantities of cement used to secure the towers, pylons, etc. The list is a long one.

    Not only that, but in addition to the millions of birds and bats which are slaughtered by the blades of the whirling eco-crucifixes, many marine animals are slaughtered both by the propellors of the ocean-going barges which are used to instal the turbines, and by disorientation and beaching caused by all the noise.

    These appalling monstrosities ought to be banned, and the culprits behind the scam rounded up and held to account.

    }:o(

    • Leftists have the blinkers on, and will not hear anything negative about these blasted wind factories.

      Exactly.
      I looked for a news video of Iraq’s “Comical Ali” doing his piece to camera asserting that Saddam’s army was overwhelming the US forces, while their tanks rolled down the street in the background.

      Wind & solar proponents exhibit this same level of denial & delusion.

    • Go get them, Dreadnought! As I have posted at WATTS many times, anyone serious about the issue of wind turbines, in their role as bird choppers, no matter which side of the issue you are on, should go for a walk underneath a line of these monsters. This is especially revealing when the choppers are along a rise in topography in grasslands. This is due to the raptors riding the wind-wave over the rise while they scan for mice below. The best time for the walk is first light Monday morning before the clean-up crew arrives. Some advice: only walk on public lands and have a hard hat, goggles, and hearing protection with you. I did this and therefore you can include me in the people who believe bird kills are far higher than reported.

  4. From the posting: “….more serious are 192 deaths over the past decade,…. ”
    Compared to ZERO for nuclear power which the greens oppose.
    What is their motive anyway?

    thanks
    JK

      • I agree with their sentiments but when exactly are they pushing off with their cylinders of CO2 to save the planet?

        • The idea that there are too many people is as absurd as the rest of the nonsense being pushed by the people haters.
          People who grow up in cities grow up with a perverted notion of the world. Only someone who has grown up in a big city could come up with the insane notion that the world is anywhere close to being over crowded.

          • Probably the best answer to overpopulation I have heard, ever. Perhaps the best retort is “where is the World overpopulated, exactly?” (Around your hipster apartment?)

            Unless you live in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, etc. , where country is harder to find. A point best made in the large empty countries like the USA or Russia, perhaps? Anyone who has flown over these countries knows they are very not overpopulated. and most of the population is on the sea shore, or a bit behind it in hot latitudes, the hinterland being much less populated.

    • For the record, I am a huge supporter of nuclear power. But the Chernobyl accident did directly kill between 31-54 people (number is in dispute). Let’s not hurt our credibility by denying that.

      • The discussion was about deaths in the last decade. Chernobyl happened over 3 decades ago, so is not relevant.

      • Note that the term is “past decade”. Chernobyl was over two (2) decades ago.

  5. Promoters of Wind energy proudly like to point out that the marginal cost of electric generation from wind is near zero and massively less than fossil fuel generation. Which undoubtly true – ie the cost of the fuel for wind is zero.

    yet they ignore all the additional fixed costs associated with wind.

    The university of North Texas (Denton TX) has 3 wind mills near their football stadium. 2 of the windmills havent worked for the last 3-4 years. Why havent they been repaired and returned to operation.
    Like duh – Because the cost of repair exceeds the revenue from electric generation.

    • They learned that talking point trick from the nuclear industry where they talked up the low variable costs of electricity while not mentioning the massive offloading of cost overruns to ratepayers and fixed costs in general.

      • Lets just forget the role of enviro-nuts and eco-activists in causing most of those over runs through lawsuits and regulatory changes mid-flight.

      • re: “while not mentioning the massive offloading of cost overruns to ratepayers and fixed costs in general.”

        Cost overruns WHICH in large measure was due to ever-changing government regulations at the time and were best described as FLUID.

        How do you economically address a FLUID, ever-changing spec WHEN every change requires the pulling out a million dollars worth of pipe, tubing, concrete and the re-laying of said materials AGAIN plus the cost of labor …

  6. […] Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry explained that generating enough electricity to power just the Houston metropolitan area would require almost 900 square miles of wind turbines.

    The population of the Houston metropolitan area is 6.16 million (2016 number). If the US population is around 330 million, then we’d need roughly 48,000 square miles of land for the wind turbines required for a population of 330 million. Make that 48,000 square miles of suitable land.

    The area of the 48 contiguous States is about 3.18 million square miles. Even if you assume 1/2 of the land is unsuitable for wind turbines, 48,000 square miles is still not a huge chunk needed, right? But it appears that due to health effects on people, that 50% assumption of suitable land is probably way too high. States with high populations will have the devil of a time coming up with the land needed to serve their populace with wind power without affecting the health of consumers.

    I think the NIMBY factor will kill major wind projects more so than the economics. As stated in the main article, people are being bombarded with misleading numbers about the economics, so most people think wind turbines are great except… NIMBY, because message of the negative effects on health is getting through to the general population.

    So we have plenty of land to site the necessary wind turbines. The problem is that most of that land is in someone’s back yard.

    • No.

      “Suitable” for wind mills means that there is enough wind enough days of the year to produce even marginal amounts of power.

      Fully 1/4 of the US land area (48 states) CANNOT produce power because it lays under the Bermuda highs (doldrums latitudes): Draw a line from the north border of Arkansas (start about at the middle of AR) and go south to the Gulf coast. Draw a line from the Chesapeake Support Bay to Arkansas.
      That entire region (tiny exceptions on the east coast like Hatteras and Cape Fear, Kitty Hawk) gets no useful wind almost all of the year.

      Up north, you are claiming that the “gimmicks” like that windmill in the middle of Boston’s skyscrapers generate power?

      Remember, nationally, windmills even in the BEST POSSIBLE sites – nearly all of which are already filled up! – are AT MOST 32% effective. The average is 17 – 23% effective. So you need to build roughly 5 TIMES the number of windmills to get the power you think you will get from just one windmill.
      But! You MUST build five TIMES the infrastructure and power cables and inverters and controllers and transmission towers and transformers as you want to get from one windmill, because during a storm or cold front, all five windmills “might” produce 100% nameplate rating. Nevermind that, after a few hours of 100% production which forces the fossil plants to shut down and begin cooling down, you get 0.0% production from ALL of the ones you built. Then, you MUST immediately restart and reheat and speed up those same fossil plants you just shut down.

      No, your calculations are wrong.

      • Then you would need to eliminate the central “Tornado Alley” portions for their potential damages during Tornado Season

        • Simple solution. Put the bird choppers on elevators and retract them into the ground whenever a tornado is in the area.
          (For those who have to buy their clues wholesale, that’s sarcasm.)

    • All of the best sites are already taken. As the build out continues more and more marginal land will be required, which drastically increases the total amount of land needed.

      • @MarkW: That’s kind of what I was fishing for, but I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going. Thanks.

        It seemed to me that there was enough land area in the Lower 48 States, but… not in my back yard, which would wipe out enormous swaths of suitable land. RACookPE1978 above made the point that 25% can be written off right off the bat. Add to that your point that the really good sites are already taken and we’re back to NIMBY for the necessary sites.

        Wind turbines: a ‘Green’ thing as in “Money is green. Gimme, gimme mo’ money.

  7. “It is no coincidence that mosquito populations have increased up to tenfold over the last 50 years, according to long-term mosquito monitoring programs, which also note that increased urbanization and reduced use of insecticides were the main drivers of this change.”

    Also, we haven’t been putting wind turbines up for 50 years. The writer follows the good rule that if you use an argument that is transparently invalid, immediately provide a note that you realize that your argument is invalid.

  8. The stupidity of stating that wind could supplant fossil fuels is a testament to the kind of illogical nonsense being peddled endlessly by NGO’s and governments all with power and money to gain by taking wealth from the middle classes and poor and giving it to the rich. The populace is waking up to this hence the preponderance of populist right leaning governments gaining popularity world wide.

  9. Also in Ontario – and to confirm the authors comment regarding sites with adequate wind. About 10 years ago I attended a seminar sponsored by the Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) at the University of Guelph. The speaker was an engineering prof specializing in wind energy, and an advocate of wind energy. He demonstrated a wind map of Ontario which showed conclusively that even 10 years ago, the sites with adequate wind were already saturated with turbines. Any development since then will have had even lower capacity factors.

    • What you say is true everywhere.

      The high wind utilization number is for the best locations, high elevation and remote from the cities.

      As land is not always available and new power line right away is not always available the next and subsequent wind farm installations are less efficient.

      The value of the wind scheme becomes less and less, for more and more wind turbines.

      The Greens do not care about reality.

      In Germany there are roughly 29,000 wind turbines and their wind utilization/capacity average is 17.4% and solar 8.3% which ridiculous.

      Germany has passed, run by, the engineering/economic end of the green scheme.

      The Greens do not care about details like the scheme does not work.

      http://notrickszone.com/2015/02/04/germanys-energiewende-leading-to-suicide-by-cannibalism-huge-oversupply-risks-destabilization/#sthash.8tE9YRDj.PSllYaQF.dpbs

      Capacity without control
      The problem with the “renewable” power sources of wind and solar is their intrinsic volatility coupled with their poor capacity utilization rates of only 17.4% for wind and 8.3% for solar (average values for Germany).

      That poor utilization rate means one has to build up huge overcapacities in order to achieve a certain amount of power production. Worse, the power source fluctuates wildly according to weather conditions. As a consequence, Germany has to maintain a dual power generation infrastructure that comprises a grossly overinflated capacity of “renewable” wind and solar power plants shadowed by a full scale backup set of conventional plants.

      For example in Germany there is an installed nameplate capacity of nearly 73,000 MW. Yet the minimum power output in Germany in 2014 from both sources was a meager 29 MW (only 0.04% of installed capacity) while the maximum value was 38,000 MW (48%).

      Yet Germany has a unique peculiarity: its leaders sometimes exhibit a stunning inability to recognize when the time has come to abandon a lost cause.

      So far €500 billion has already been invested in the “Energiewende”, which is clearly emerging as a failure. Yet all political parties continue to throw their full weight behind the policy rather than admitting it is a failure (which would be tantamount to political suicide).

      Instead, the current government coalition has even decided to shift into an even higher gear on the path to achieving its objective of generating 80% of German electric power from “renewable” sources by 2050. If the situation is practically unmanageable now with 25% renewable energy, it’ll be an uncontrollable disaster when (if) it reaches 80%.

      • The further the sites get from the places that actually use electricity, the greater the transmission losses will be.

  10. A 2016 Utah State University study shows the following extra costs omitted or miscalculated by the EIA for wind power: 15-years not 30-year life expectancies (US 7¢ per kWh), backup power (at least 2.3¢ cents if the back-up is natural gas), transmission costs (2.7¢), government subsidies (23¢). All that means the real cost of wind power is a staggering 43¢ [USD] per kilowatt hour!
    >>

    I’m currently paying 21c AUD per kW/hr from COAL.

    Which is 14.5c USD per kW/hr.

    But that 43c USD of ‘extra’ cost in wind generation seems to ignore the imperative of building, operating, fueling and maintaining (plus recapitalizing and replacing at a profit) a baseload power supply, in parallel to these unreliable turbines.

    Has there ever been a more inefficient unreliable or as expensive large-scale electron generation technology than wind power?

    Symbols of supreme political failure more like.

    • Consider yourself lucky. In South Australia we are paying 42.5 cents/kwh for the first step and then the rate goes to 45.5 cents/kwh AUD. This does not include the extra costs that will have to be paid for the $13,500/mwh event on January 24th. Who knows how much the rate payer will eventually get dinged for that billing period. The bills should be going out soon.

      I’m told I should feel lucky that we have so much renewable power in SA. I don’t feel the love. I do feel the pain.

      • The power rate is not the only commodity that can suffer from high price fluctuation during times of a steady state upset. Though a shortage of power and natural gas at the same time can be enough to cause heart attacks when opening your utility bill. Case in point was the BC Canada power price for Vancouver Island during the month of February of 2019.

        The first factor was a natural gas pipeline failure and resulting explosion on the Spectra mainline north of Prince George in the northern part of BC in December 2018. The ECRB (Energy Commission Regularity Board) and the UCB (Utliities Control Board) stepped in to examine the failure and until the full investigation and inspection of this mainline is completed along with the emergency repairs the pipeline was de-rated to an operating pressure of 800 PSI from 1250 PSI. This de-rating will continue until the pipeline is internally inspected using a “Smart” pig but the pigging of this critical line needs to be done in the summer due to flow restrictions while running the pigs. At reduced pressure the flow rate drops off so down stream customers are curtailed which may cause rationing of natural gas or price increases.

        The second factor was the water levels of the main power dams were lower than normal due to lower rain fall in the summer and autumn months. This coupled with an extended lower than normal cold period in the month of February caused an increase demand on the power grid for a number of areas including Vancouver Island.

        The third factor is the government of BC is pushing that it is better to heat your home electrically as it does not use fossil fuels or wood and there fore is clean and green. A lot of homes on Vancouver Island rely on electric heaters for there sole heat source.

        In February 2019 the BC Hydro company was forced to start the two 150 MW combined cycle gas turbines on Vancouver island to meet the increased electrical demand but because of the Spectra pipeline de-rating and the increased demand from the rest of the natural gas users the natural gas price went from $3.85 a giga Joule to $125 a giga joule on the spot market to supply these very thirsty gas turbines. The rate payers that used this power have not seen their actual costs yet as the UCB is still working out what BC Hydro will be able to pass onto the power users. It is NOT going to be cheap.

    • extra costs … backup power (at least 2.3¢ cents if the back-up is natural gas)“.
      I doubt the cost of natural gas back-up is as low as 2.3¢. If a natural gas station running normally has a cost of 2.3¢, then the hourly cost of running it as a backup is higher because its capital costs have to be recouped over less operating hours.

  11. A picture is worth a thousand words and as grisly as it sounds, pics of mounds of dead bats and birds, every week, would be a valuable addition to the skeptics arsenal of facts.

  12. If the costs of wind are really so low, why have all the countries that have major wind generation raised electric prices several hundred percent? Nothing more than green prayer wheels.

  13. Also it should be obvious that wind turbines can never be built with wind or solar only, no matter how much you install.
    Not for a single activity in the life-cycle fossil fuel alternatives are available:

    – Exploration
    – Mining
    – Cement
    – Steel
    – Fibreglass / Carbon?
    – Transport raw materials
    – Manufacturing
    – Transport components
    – Excavation / Clear forest / Access Roads
    – Concrete
    – Erection
    – Power Lines
    – Transformer(s) / Substation
    – Maintenance
    – De-Icing
    – Decommissioning
    – …

    When is this madness going to stop?

  14. Today’s wind farms have a 30–40% average “capacity factor.”

    Is it really that high? I’ve seen figures a lot lower.

  15. That fundamental axiom of engineering that you can’t make a reliable system from unreliable componentry is just sitting there waiting to be knocked off. A lot like climate change. Just a few more 12 year tipping points and you’ll all eat humble pie. Just you wait and see…..

  16. It is literally the green blight. Also, a niche energy solution, which can be considered in the fullness of its environmental disruption and the availability of renewable drivers.

  17. THere IS a bit of gratuitous whining going on too, I’d venture.

    A remarkably sizeable and VERY vocal subset of humans who are essentially hypochondriacs-for-environmental perceived problems. I lived, in my youth, next to an active railroad “belt line” in Alameda California. The dâhmned trains wouldn’t just go nearly 18 hours a day, but they were required, by law, to toot their fûqueing horns at EVERY posted intersection (Alameda, being a town-with-its-own-Belt-line, had a LOT of intersections!). 3:44 AM … TOOOT! 3:53 AM … TOOOOT, Toot, tooot-tooot! And so on. Monday thru Sunday.

    Know what? We “got used to it”, quite quickly. I didn’t lose a hour of sleep; the noise, the timing, the regularity became a constant waypost in my dreams; I keenly remember even incorporating the lovely horns into several vivid dreams. We didn’t need to move away, tho’ my mother endlessly lambasted the fûqueing trains for their indecent noise. She wrote letters, spoke before town councils, made petitions, met with Belt Line executives, raised the rabble, and kept doing so for nearly 20 years.

    She and my failing Pa still live in that house.
    57 years and going.

    The Belt Line, however, went away. Anachronism of WW2. Last day was in 1982 or so. Momentuous.

    The grand irony is that is when Mom and Dad started having serious sleeping problems.

    LOL. When the toot-toot-toot went away!!!

    So, talks of bad-boy infrasound, pummeling one’s body, making it impossible to live here, there or anywhere, is just a load of hypochondria and politicized (i.e. hubristic) complaint. Just like my Dear Old Mom used to do. She was going deaf, you know. But even today, hears pins drop that I cannot. Here sleep was ruined. Except for the fact that she laid in El Sack reliably more than 10 hours a day if Pa didn’t kick her out in a timely fashion. Her pleurosy was phlegmatic (I don’t know if that means anything, but it sounds good)… but apart from being unfashionably overweight, she’s the very picture of health.

    Nope.

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy ✓

    • So, so wrong.

      This is not “noise” or sound as we hear it, this is infrasound and low frequency sound (LNF) i.e. below 20Hz which is the lower limit of hearing in most adult humans. Excess noise ordinarily disturbs us because we hear it through our ears and our brains interpret the resulting signals. Excess amplitude of noise above 20Hz (headbangers beware) can damage the small bones and mechanism of the inner ear which turn the vibration into nerve signals to the brain.

      Infrasound is entirely different. It acts directly on various tissues in the body without being “heard” first. It has been shown to directly affect the brain, arteries, lungs and trachea (as well as the ear) and it is thought that various parts of the gut are also susceptible. The American military have attempted to weaponise this phenomenon, but research has shown that a small percentage of people are resistant to the effect, not ideal in a battlefield scenario.

      Very little research is being done on Blade Pass Frequency noise (<20Hz) emanating from wind turbines (BPF noise), but for anyone interested Dr Mariana Pereira has a youtube which explains the physiological effects (and the resulting psychological conditions) suffered by people (and animals) subjected to LFN, her reference to wind turbines is late in the presentation. I doubt she would be greenfunded.

    • So, talks of bad-boy infrasound

      Bodily effects from infrasound are much more deleterious than audible sound.

      • That infrasound cause damage to internal organs has been know to some degree since sometime in the 1960s. That frequent infrasound exposure causes unusual tissue growth in certain common protein structures has been know for perhaps more than two decades. First discovered in autopsies, then biopsies, diagnosis eventually became possible by several less intrusive means.

        These changes occur in many parts of the body, including heart, lungs, trachea, inner ears, and brain. They change how the tissues work. Most are debilitating and often eventually fatal, but not widely recognized because there are no unique symptoms. The tissue changes are not obvious without particular attention to fine structure. Like hearing loss from overly high sound levels, deterioration is gradual and often permanent if exposure goes on long enough.

        The tissue changes are reproducible consistently under laboratory conditions (animal experiments, obviously). They occur under 8 hour days, five days per week, corresponding to normal factory work schedules. They progress faster under more frequent exposure.

        Birth defects and still births are common in some animals, uncertain in humans. This seems to be hard, repeatable science. I have come across no information, or even hints, that any scientist has found conflicting results, yet most investigations of possible problems seem to be done in complete ignorance of published studies, concentrating on more touchy-feely aspects (how do YOU feel about wind power?) rather than the induced physical changes.

        Wind turbines came under investigation from this aspect only recently. Previous work on the medical results of infrasound was all regarding other industrial infrasound sources. Some of the parameters have been roughed out but there is much that needs to be determined about the extent of the wind turbine problem. The particular infrasound signature of wind turbines has been measured as much as 20 Km from the source but at just what level the problem becomes insignificant has not been determined, as far as I know.

        https://www.intechopen.com/books/acoustics-of-materials/acoustics-and-biological-structures

    • I’m with you GoatGuy although I think the things are a useless blight on the landscape and even farmers in Oz have switched from high maintenance windmill bores to solar and electric pumps although pumping water into tanks for stock is no problem for intermittence.

      First up I don’t hear too many farmers suffering from infrasound living nearest to them when they’re getting paid rent for them. A lot like seafarers and submariners with the hum of engines and throb of propellers and then there’s all those paying big bucks to live on the Esplanade everywhere despite the doomsday warnings their castles are going to be washed into the sea. Not to mention the cruise liner set paying good bucks for both. Infrasound sure has its price.

      • Modern submarine-design is dedicated to as-quiet-as-possible operation. Sounds, including infrasound, can be detected.

  18. There has been no mention of the deaths of eagles in the USA.
    Why no prosecutions ?
    Being in possession of even a feather can get you in real trouble.

  19. For wind to provide 100% of demand for a given region would require building about 3 times as many turbines as needed based on name plate to offset the capacity factor. But you would still need reliable back-up equivalent to the demand for times when wind was too slow or too fast. If you insist that the back-up be CO2 free, only nuclear fission is feasible. The irony is that if we build enough nuclear plants to adequately back-up wind, there is then no point in having the wind in the first place. With some reasonable regulatory reform it might even be less expensive to build 3rd/4th generation nuclear plants than the equivalent IWT as well.

    • *applause*
      My takeaway: “only nuclear fission”.
      We already solved the world’s energy needs, 18 miles Southeast of Arco, Idaho @ 1:50pm, 20 DEC 1951.

  20. One aspekt that does the surplus trick for the IWT owners (in addition to the subsidies that are called Green bonds) is the fact that all the IWT companies I know of have negotiated a fixed high price for all the energy they produce, when ever they do produce it. In Germany this leads some times to negative prices on the energy stock trade. It mens that Germany is PAYING Poland, Belgium, Netherland aso. to get rid of all the extra energy the market does not want.

    Im very confident that if the IWT owners were given the same conditions as the rest of the energy suppliers, spot marked prices, there would not be build one more IWT facility. Their problem is that when it is windy in Germany, it is also windy in all the neighboring countries, and the spot price for electricity is very low.

  21. Wind and solar contraptions are a horrific blight on the natural landscape. Go ahead and cover all the buildings you want, with solar panels … but leave the countryside CLEAR of this blight. A single natural gas, or coal power plant has a tiny footprint by comparison of energy output , and can be strategically located to do the LEAST environmental damage.

    It doesn’t take a team of 500 government bureaucrats and 100 EIR documents to figure this out. It’s common freaking sense!!

    STOP ruining the countryside, with so-called “green” energy projects.

  22. Wind farms in the Dakota’s had to be shut down this winter because it got too cold. Life threatening situation without fossil fuels,

  23. I just shared this article on Facebook and noticed a small information icon “i” posted over the photo included with this post. If you click on it Facebook directs you to Wikipedia .Wikipedia describes the brilliant scientists who contribute to the wattsupwiththat blog are “climate change deniers”. Wikipedia and Facebook, bastions of mis information

    • That Wikipedia acts as mindless scribes for the FAKE eco Socialists by using the pejorative term “denier” says it all.

  24. So much BS to unpack this all too typical rant against wind power. Where to begin?

    First of all, the claimed data point that wind turbines only last 15 years is based upon utter bullshit – the same kind of twisted data that climate skeptics love to accuse the climate alarmists of (I am in the former camp, by the way – but being a lifetime engineer, I reject bullshit in all its forms, no matter the source). The data isn’t what it sounds like. The average lifetime of a failed turbine is around 17 years .. but unless you are a dolt, you get the difference between counting only the population of failures as being radically different from the total population of wind turbines.

    Secondly, even if a turbine “fails”, it doesn’t blow up or melt down or become a total loss. In virtually all cases a failure simply means a replacement of a part – the only moving parts being the generator rotor and the blade pitch system and the turbine rotation system … all of which are extremely simple mechanical systems of just one or a small handful of parts, all easily replaced at minimal cost. Vastly different, say, than the cost to refurbish or overhaul a natural gas powered or coal powered steam plant, which are massively complex and extremely expensive to overhaul or replace with many thousands of moving parts.

    Thirdly, the “massive bird kill” meme has been not only debunked but literally destroyed over and over again, yet keeps getting cited over and over again by the anti-wind luddites.

    The numbers of birds killed by wind turbines measure in the thousands .. the numbers of birds killed by colliding with powerlines, buildings, and with motor vehicles numbers in the BILLIONS PER YEAR. The number one killer of all birds in the developed world is ferral cats. The number of avian deaths due to wind turbines does not remotely approach even the noise level in the actual data.

    Then the luddites come back with, “well, not all birds are created equal .. it’s the raptors and bats that are really suffering”. Of course they – you all here – never provide a shred of data to back that up. In reality, if you look at the trend lines of raptor populations in the western USA where most of the US wind turbines are installed, raptor populations have either increased substantially in the last two decades since wind turbine farms became a reality, or at worst have stabilized. Again, as with all other avian mortality the biggest killers of raptors are powerlines, buildings, and vehicles. With raptors, habitat loss is the single biggest threat to their populations.

    Whether wind turbines continue to grow in number or not, they have zilch to do with climate science. The climate science is what it is. It is not necessary for climate alarmist skeptics to go all luddite on renewable technology enerty sources. They will generate whatever they generate, and no matter how loudly you whine it will make not a damned bit of difference.

    Stick to facts and logic and leave the ranting to the climate alarmists.

    • Duane, I am afraid I can’t agree with you on just about any part of your comment.
      First.
      https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-if-green-energy-isnt-the-future-11558294830

      What if Green Energy Isn’t the Future?
      There’s a reason Warren Buffett decided to bet $10 billion on the future of oil and natural gas.

      Second. Guess whose been counting the dead birds and bats? The windmill farms. Also, the endangered birds often fly away from the windmill and die well outside of its perimeters.
      From a lawsuit. Guess who’s been counting the dead birds? Thanks to a lawsuit, this may change. We will see what the counts are after a third party starts counting them.
      “The revised permit requires companies to hire a third party to collect data on eagle deaths rather than consultants hired by permit holders, a change hailed by Defenders of Wildlife…”
      us-usa-eagles-idUSKBN1432R2
      You are correct about Bald Eagles increasing but Golden Eagles are declining and they are killing bats at alarming rates. Solar arrays instantaneously roast the birds when flying over them. There is not much left to count, assuming they count any of them.
      The endangered species are rare in the cities and not often killed by bldgs. or cars. As for cats, eagles eat cats, not the other way around. You may dismiss it, but that which kills sparrows are not the same as what it killing eagles etc., which is windmills and solar arrays.
      On top of all that, these things are not green and consume vast quantities of fossil fuel energy to make, require mining and fossil fuels to get the materials and this is extremely damaging to man and earth where they are mined which is usually China which is note noted for environmental concerns, and deliver and maintain. The windmill investors in the US are not required to dispose of them when their life is over and the same is true of solar. They will, if removed at all, be sent to the third world where they will pollute the groundwater and expose those doing the disposing to toxic chemicals.
      On top of all that, more CO2 and fossil fuels are used to make, install and operate them since they all need fossil fuel backup, than if we just used natural gas to start with.
      Are we headed for a solar waste crisis?
      http://bit.ly/2ZBR4Vp

      Poison wind power: the shocking environmental damage they don’t want you… https://youtu.be/_7Q8qU4LUi0 via @YouTube

      Grid Reliability: DOE Throws Down Red Flags On Unreliable Wind And Solar

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/markpmills/2017/08/28/grid-reliability-doe-throws-down-red-flags-on-unreliable-wind-and-solar/#52056bd221ef
      ADDING More Solar And Wind Power ‘Doubles’ CO2 Emissions
      http://bit.ly/2URDcH2
      The only reason to use them is to reduce CO2 and pollutants and FF use. They do neither.

      • They will, if removed at all, be sent to the third world where they will pollute the groundwater and expose those doing the disposing to toxic chemicals.

        They’ll mostly all sit there and decay.

    • Duane

      Many thanks for this excellent, sober comment. I couldn’t have written that better.

    • This fellow is considered to be pretty smart. He has made a fortune in wind energy. Here’s his opinion about it.

      Big Wind’s Bogus Subsidies
      Giving tax credits to the wind energy industry is a waste of time and money.
      Warren Buffet

      http://bit.ly/2zOQR5x

      DESPITE BEING FAMOUS for touting the idea that the rich don’t pay their fair share of taxes, investor Warren Buffet seems to be perfectly fine with receiving tax breaks for making investments in Big Wind. 
      “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate,” Buffet told an audience in Omaha, Nebraska recently. Big Wind’s Bogus Subsidies
      Giving tax credits to the wind energy industry is a waste of time and money.
      Warren Buffet
      Also, these noted greens.
      Shocker: Top Google Engineers Say Renewable Energy ‘Simply won’t work’
      http://bit.ly/2Z1LVG0
      The Clean Power Plan Will Collide With The Incredibly Weird Physics Of The Electric Grid
      http://bit.ly/2VAQCo6

      Also, among many others, here is this fellow.

      BILL GATES Slams Unreliable Wind & Solar: ‘Let’s Quit Jerking Around With Renewables & Batteries’ |
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x443Ei7AkBk
      Even James Hansen admits they don’t work.
      * GODFATHER Of Global Warming Alarmism James Hansen Admits Renewable Energy Is A “Nice Idea” Though Useless
      * http://bit.ly/2P5L6Y1
      NOW That We Know Renewables Can’t ‘Save The Planet’, Are We Really Going To Stand By And Let Them Destroy It? |
      bit.ly/2XuPofr
      I don’t know from where you are getting your information, though, it sounds like it’s straight from those profiting mightily off of “green” energy fantasies that we are going to power the 21st Century with 13th Century technology who just happen to have created a can’t lose investment, thanks to taxpayers providing them with a profit no matter what, but you are seriously wrong. In the meantime, they are doing serious environmental and ecological damage.

  25. Birds, bats AND insects. Flying insects. Sometimes they function as pollinators.

    While true that many insects (notably honey bees) do not necessarily fly at those heights consistently they are up there. Excluding the discussion on “bees” specifically many other insects will fly at those heights and also function as pollinators so they are indeed being impacted.

    Migratory flights of Monarchs? There will be some mortality. Is that acceptable?

    Similar if not stronger arguments could be made for the impacts of large arrays of ground arrayed solar installations. Significant disruption of the native environment and alteration of the albedo within the area surely must change the ecosystem in the region substantially. You’ve taken a rather substantial footprint and completely altered it’s vegetation patterns and subsequent fauna as well. What people perceive as “dead” or devoid of life is usually a poor understanding of the ecosystem that exists, largely because it’s small and not pretty. Certainly the Sahara is not as vividly live as an old growth rain forest (or at least not as obviously) but neither is it without its own functioning ecosystem.

  26. There is nothing as exhilarating as seeing a Wind Turbine burning and collapsing under its own weight. All around you can hear the birds, bats and farmers cheering it on.

  27. A hundred years from now scientists and historians will look back on the first 2 decades of this century and wonder why there were no adults in the room when governments were making lame brain decisions regarding energy and environmental policy.

  28. The true cost of renewables must include supporting their intermittency, in the UK this is roughly 35% duty cycle, the 65% is in fact delivered by the reliable and clean gas CCGT generation on which renewables rely for their subsidies and 65% of their rated output. If fossil is removed from the hrid the 65% has to come from somewhere, basically tripled renewable generation and storage if 100% renewable generated. With battery storage or pumped storage added to the cost of over generation when renewable energy is plentiful the wholesale cost goes up 10 times for batteries, at the cheapest cost, because storing electrical energy in another form takes huge amounts of resource comared to the primary enrgy form it came from. I costed this for the UK here, it translates directly to any scenario pro rata. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3274611.

    UK renewable scenario has to be wind and battery based as there are few hydro opportunities and solar is insignificant in winter when we need the most energy for light and heat at 50 degrees North, close to serial killer latitudes. The CAPEX for battery and pumped storage is around £50Billion per TWh capacity.

    This neds renewing every 4 years or so if batteries, which would buy a lot of 60 year life nuclear power stations – which also generate energy cheaper than renewables or fossil – because their fuel is so energy dense it is virtually cost free, as with renewables, but requires so much less resource in materials and land to collect .

    If its pumped storage that needs a major refit every 60 or so years, say, so that’s cheaper. BUT the land use of the renewable generation plus the land use for pumped storage feeder lakes is still considerable iftaking days of grid supply is contemplated. U;timately nuclear must always be cheapest because it uses far less resources in material and land /KWh, so why bother with anythimg else..

    AND, FINALLY, the above gnores the simple fact that this is not even an otion for many countries because the available renewable energy supply cannot meet the demand in any practical economic or physical sense. Excepting Norway.

  29. “It is no coincidence that mosquito populations have increased up to tenfold over the last 50 years, according to long-term mosquito monitoring programs, which also note that increased urbanization and reduced use of insecticides were the main drivers of this change.”

    Wait a minute! Aren’t we supposed to be in the greatest insect extinction event evah?

  30. The big lie we keep getting told about intermittent wind and solar electricity – it’s now cheaper than coal or gas generated electricity. That ignores the cost of backup power. It includes no cost for transmission lines from remote locations and new control systems to ensure synchronous power.
    If it was cheaper, why would any mandates be required to force its adoption?

  31. I have been monitoring UK wind power now for 16 days via the Gridwatch site. We have an installed capacity capable of supplying around 30% of demand. During that 16 days it has managed less than 5% most days, with 2 days at 0.6%, one at 10%, and one at 28.5%. Today it is at 11.8%. During all that time no coal was used because we have replaced it with gas, which with a 60% capability along with 20% from nuclear, and up to 10% from imports, is the mainstay of the grid. Re. hidden costs, headlines tell us wind is as cheap as coal or gas, and it is at the point of delivery. It’s just that they don’t include the subsidies which are paid separately, and the subsidies paid to gas back up, which together triple the real cost. If you are interested to follow this saga of wind failure, go here:-
    http://gridwatch.co.uk/

  32. Suppose you are very wealthy and only had the insane option of either buying a mint condition Guards Red 2016 Porsche 911 R @ $200,000, or a beat up Monkey Barf Yellow 1976 AMC Pacer @ $1,200,000 (which only works 33% of the time)…

    Which car would buy?

    That’s the crazy option Leftists propose..

    I don’t know about you, but I’m buying the Porsche..

  33. You’re obviously not aware of large cities before the wide spread use of motorised transport.
    Cities had a stench of two things, death, and feces… both of which were due to horses.
    Horses would literally die in the streets and people would leave them there.
    People that don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it…. so enjoy the lovely aroma coming your way if you get your wish.

  34. A most fundamental problem with wind turbines is they can be destroyed by thunderstorms and then you do not have any power. It is impossible to design for vertical downloads and this is what occurs under the downbursts in big thunderstorms when all the blades would be driven downwards even if in a feathered position. Hail, lightning, icing, and huge turbulence forces can cause this damage and even if not severe enough on the first occasion it starts the degradation in the gear boxes. In Germany it is now mandated that if you want insurance you have to replace the gear box every five years – at huge costs, more than $600,000 + for a gear box. Puerto Rico still has no grid power after all it’s solar and wind installations were destroyed by ” Marcia ” over 18 months ago.

  35. Does anybody know a reliable source of comparative unsubsidized costs for various forms of electric generation, in terms of cents per kilowatt hour? Most of the stuff I’ve read seems to favor green energy sources because they are subsidized.

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