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Category — Grass Roots

Industrial Wind Technology: Interview of Jon Boone by Allegheny Treasures

Editor note: Jon Boone’s previous post on industrial wind parks led to this interview by Michael Morgan of Allegheny Treasures, an information resource dedicated to preserving the historic mountains of West Virginia and understanding the impact of industrial wind installations. 

Introduction: It’s been extremely difficult to bridge the gap that exists between those who know little about the issue and those who have a more comprehensive understanding of the workings of the electrical grid and the related technologies that supply it, like wind energy.  For many, their only information comes from the local press, “green” promotions by so-called environmental organizations, and occasional visits to web sites dedicated to one side or the other.  It’s often a mind-boggling quagmire!

The following conversation with Jon Boone, who now lives in Oakland, MD after a 30 year career at the University of Maryland, College Park, is an attempt to bridge that gap, perhaps allowing us to better understand the limitations of and problems associated with industrial wind technology. He has no dog in the fight.

Allegheny Treasures – (Michael Morgan, interviewer):  Mr. Boone, wind developers and their supporters portray their technology as a viable source of renewable electricity, providing “nearly” free power by capturing the wind – a virtually inexhaustible source of energy. Their mantra is that wind energy is “free, clean, and green.” Can you explain your concern with this portrayal?

Mr. Boone:  Industrial wind technology is a meretricious commodity, attractive in a superficial way but without real value—seemingly plausible, even significant, but actually false and nugatory.  Those who would profit from it either economically or ideologically are engaged in wholesale deception. All adults should know that if something seems too good to be true, it almost always is. Although the wind itself may be “free,” the cost of converting it to electrical energy is extremely expensive. A 100MW wind project would cost, in today’s market, about $350 million, most of it paid for by taxpayers.

AT – MorganAnd—sorry to interrupt—what about its benefits, such as its alleged ability to shut down fossil fuel plants?

Boone:  In contrast to wind proponents’ alluring but empty promises of closed coal plants and reduced carbon emissions is this reality: wind energy is impotent while its environmental footprint is massive and malignant. It can’t dent a grape in the energy scheme of things; it’s a sideshow technology with great potential for mainline environmental harm. In some ways, it’s almost the perfect enterprise for our era, as it produces no meaningful product or service but is subsidized up to 80 percent by rate and taxpayers. Like many “celebrities,” it is famous for being famous, not for its actual performance.

AT – MorganWould you explain? [Read more →]

October 31, 2009   13 Comments