Category — General problems, windpower
“Eric Bibler of Save Our Seashore writes that there are a MILLION Reasons to be Concerned About Industrial Wind Turbines. He invites you to go to your computer and type in the words: wind turbine lawsuit. The result is a staggering (his caps) ONE MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THIRTY THOUSAND. As 2013 evolves, more and more of these cases, we predict, will settle on loss of property values, loss of enjoyment, loss of health.”
The damage of industrial wind turbines is also an international issue. Denmark worked with premeditation and created a “loss of value” clause, 2008, passed to compensate property values depreciated by proximity to turbine arrays, but this has turned out to be a double-edged sword. People may be awarded for a portion of projected losses, but of the 551 claims from persons living next to wind turbines, the average compensated value was only 57,000 kroner ($8,478 US), nothing even close to the actual property losses of upwards of 20%.
To challenge the awards, homeowners need to activate a civil suit, with often dubious results and of course legal costs. Further, evaluations are done before the turbines are constructed, leaving the vagaries of the real future losses to literally “hang in the breezes.”
But the admission of property losses is a feeble economic sputter from Denmark, mother of turbines pretty much everywhere. Other admissions of massive financial loss come when communities in opposition to turbine invasions enlist appraisers such as Appraisals One, who in 2009 delved into losses from three turbine developments in Wisconsin, sponsored by Calumet County [Wisconsin] Citizens for Responsible Energy (CCCRE: Dodge and Fond du Lac Counties). The report centres on a literature study, a survey of realtors’ opinions, and a sales study of undeveloped and “improved” lands.
Again, the results were not surprising. “In all cases with a 1-5 acre residential property, whether vacant or improved, there will be a negative impact on property values.” [Read more →]
January 3, 2013 8 Comments
While Invenergy waits for the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) to be extended by this ‘Lame Duck’ Congress, as expressed in the 12/4/12 Batavia Daily News article: “Orangeville windfarm waits on the tax credit,” there are thousands of local tax- and rate-paying citizens who are eagerly awaiting the expiration, permanent expiration, of this $0.022/kWh subsidy. The PTC is nothing more than a tax-shelter-generator for wealthy, multinational, rent-seeking corporations like Invenergy.
How does a business plan dependent on massive taxpayer-funded handouts for profitability make it past the drawing board in the first place?!? Any of us would have filed such a plan to its rightful place—in the garbage can.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)– with the help of political cronies in high places–have attempted, and failed to push the PTC through various bills, not once, not twice, but FIVE (5) times in a little over a year. Congressmen were inundated with letters, e-mails and phone calls each of those (5) previous attempts from a lot of us telling them to say NO to the PTC–which they did. Yet, here it comes again.
No Means NO!
We hope that our elected “public servants” understand that NO means NO! “We the People” do NOT want more wasteful spending on an inefficient, unreliable, antiquated energy source that ruins peoples’ lives, kills hundreds of thousands of birds a year, does nothing to significantly reduce CO2 emissions, and has exorbitant costs to boot. [Read more →]
December 10, 2012 3 Comments
Editor note: This is an updated version of a previous post at MasterResource: “Wind Spin: Misdirection and Fluff by a Taxpayer-enabled Industry” which was itself an update of “Fifteen Bad Things About Wind Energy, and Three Reasons Why,” one of the two most read posts in the history of MasterResource.
Trying to pin down the arguments of wind promoters is a bit like trying to grab a greased balloon. Just when you think you’ve got a handle, it morphs into a different shape and escapes your grasp. Let’s take a quick highlight review of how things have evolved with wind merchandising.
1 – Wind energy was abandoned well over a hundred years ago, as even in the late 1800s it was totally inconsistent with our burgeoning, more modern needs for power. When we throw the switch, we expect that the lights will go on – 100% of the time. It’s not possible for wind energy, by itself, to EVER do this, which is one of the main reasons it was relegated to the dust bin of antiquated technologies (along with such other inadequate energy sources as horse and oxen power).
2 – Fast forward to several years ago. With politicians being convinced that Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) was an imminent catastrophic threat, lobbyists launched campaigns to favor anything that would purportedly reduce carbon dioxide. This was the marketing opportunity that the wind energy business needed. Wind energy was resurrected from the dust bin of power sources, as its promoters pushed the fact that wind turbines did not produce CO2 while generating electricity.
3 – Of course, just that by itself is not significant, so the original wind development lobbyists then made the case for a quantum leap: that by adding wind turbines to the grid we could significantly reduce CO2 from those “dirty” fossil fuel electrical sources (especially coal). This argument became the basis for many states implementing a Renewable Energy Standard (RES) or Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) – which mandated that the state’s utilities use (or purchase) a prescribed amount of wind energy (“renewables”), by a set date.
Why was a mandate necessary? [Read more →]
October 24, 2012 21 Comments
Energy and environmental issues need to be addressed using logic and scientific thinking, not emotion, wishes, and depiction. On a realistic basis, industrial wind energy fails to deliver the goods. By this I mean that windpower:
1) Is not a technically sound solution to provide us electricity, or to meaningfully reduce global warming, and
2) Is not an economically viable source of energy on its own, and
3) Is not environmentally responsible
When you take away the wind lobbyists’ fast-talking shenanigans, their con comes down to these two things: They are telling us what we want to hear, and we’re not really verifying the truth of what they’re saying.
The intellectual conjurers have a clever one-two marketing campaign. First we’re told that the planet is facing imminent catastrophe. And then a salesman comes to our community with a solution! The spiel is that we can do something consequential to help prevent this global disaster — and we can create jobs doing it, and make some easy money in the process.
What a deal!
Wind magicians go into a rural community and carefully cultivate the idea that anything coming from them is found money. The trick is that it’s not coming from them at all, as it’s entirely paid by taxpayers and ratepayers.
Quotations from the Trenches
Realistic assessment is needed in the PR arena. To this end, different bloggers at MasterResource provided some analogies to describe what wind power really is compared to consumer-chosen, market-proven energy.
“Wind energy can be likened to the wayward child. It’s unavailable when needed, shows up when unexpected, and when it does arrive it often behaves erratically. As a result, wind cannot be relied on as a primary fuel source.”
– Lisa Linowes, Industrial Wind Action [Read more →]
June 21, 2012 12 Comments
Dear Honorable Mark R. Warner:
I have great respect for your knowledge of information technology. But, with all due respect, sir, your May 24, 2012, response to my request that you oppose extension of the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) shows a serious lack of understanding of wind energy, energy markets, and energy research & development.
The people of [your] Virginia are fortunate that the Menendez bill (S.2204) failed. Your support for that bill was ill-advised and contrary to the interests of Virginia’s taxpayers and energy users.
You appear not to understand that the wind PTC, a tax shelter, results in shifting tax burden from “wind farm” owners and developers to ordinary tax payers and/or results in more debt that will have to be paid by our children and grandchildren. Furthermore, “wind farms” are being built primarily because of the Production Tax Credit, NOT because of their true environmental, energy or economic benefits.
Frankly, the following statement in your letter is rather naive if you are referring to “investing” our tax dollars:
In order to retain its competitive advantage in the global economy and ensure a promising future for our citizens, America must invest in research to develop new technologies and efficiency improvements across all sources of energy.
Are you not aware that from 1973 to 2010 the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its predecessors spent over $148 billion (2010$) of our tax dollars on “energy R&D” and has yet to produce a single significant commercially viable energy technology?
Clearly, technological advances will ultimately be the means to assure that the U.S. has an adequate supply of energy at reasonable prices, but there is NO reason to assume that such advances are dependent on or result from actions by the U.S. government.
In fact, the federal government’s massive spending on “energy R&D” during the past 38 years has failed because it is based on three fundamentally flawed assumptions; specifically that:
1. More R&D spending will inevitably overcome technological hurdles to whatever technology is being pursued.
2. Economics of scale will overcome economic hurdles for selected energy technologies.
3. Governments are capable of picking technology winners. [Read more →]
June 4, 2012 2 Comments
This month, two subcommittees of the House of Representatives Science, Space, and Technology Committee  held a joint hearing, “Impact of Tax Policies on the Commercial Application of Renewable Energy Technology.”
I was one of nine witnesses testifying. In addition to myself, the let-the-market-decide witnesses were Dr. Benjamin Zycher, Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, Tax and Other Subsidies for Renewable Energy Should Be Abandoned; and Margo Thorning, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, American Council for Capital Formation (testimony here).
The subcommittee Republicans were prepared, well informed, and interested in drawing out the facts. The Democrats, on the defensive, complained that the hearing was happening, argued the subcommittees lacked the jurisdiction to hold the hearing, and claimed that renewables were being short-changed compared to oil and gas.
A summary of my testimony (full version here) follows:
Background and Purpose
Energy policy in the United States calls for the aggressive deployment of renewable generation which has led to an explosion of expensive renewable resources that are variable, operating largely off-peak, off-season and are located in rural areas with limited transmission. [Read more →]
April 25, 2012 12 Comments
It was an opinion-page editorial that was not warmly received by my employer at the time, Enron Corp. “Wind power poses several major dilemmas,” my Washington Times piece read.
Among them, it remains uneconomical despite heavy subsidies from ratepayers and taxpayers over the last two decades—through 1995 the Department of Energy (DOE) had spent $900 million in wind energy subsidies. Second, wind farms are noisy, land intensive, unsightly, and hazardous to birds, including endangered species.
In response, Ken Karas, chairman & CEO of Enron Wind Corporation, wrote to Tom White, chairman & CEO of Enron Renewables Corporation:
Does Bradley still work for Enron? If so, I believe he should be terminated. This article is pure yellow journalism….
I was not terminated, but I reached a (fair) agreement with Enron CEO Ken Lay that I would stop writing about windpower given the obvious commercial interest and stockholder stake Enron had in this sector. My job was important to me, and I was able to advance my ideals in other ways by remaining an internal voice for free markets and climate realism (versus alarmism).
Here is the Washington Times article reprinted with slight revision by the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy. At the (almost) 15-year mark, and as an early windpower ‘expose’, how do the arguments hold up today? [Read more →]
April 17, 2012 6 Comments
This [new report on advances in wind integration] will make uncomfortable reading for those on this list who appear to be religiously opposed to wind energy, i.e. irrespective of the objectively verifiable facts. Wake up people, wind energy is growing world wide at 22% with 194 GW installed already, and “grid operators are increasingly positive about integrating wind power….”
- Wind advocate email, January 4, 2012
The communication concerned a new report sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: Strategies and Decision Support Systems for Integrating Variable Energy Resources in Control Centers for Reliable Grid Operations.
Subtitled Global Best Practices, Examples of Excellence and Lessons Learned,” the report admits that “there is no ‘silver bullet’ solution to successful wind integration that applies to all power systems.” But that is about all that can be said about, as John Droz puts it below, trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. Another analogy: integrating agriculture on ocean liners. (Any more analogies welcomed in the comments.)
The advocates’ email drew this response from Thomas Marks, Executive Director of Great Lakes Wind Truth; New York Director, Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council and North American Platform Against Windpower: [Read more →]
January 5, 2012 7 Comments
Wind Turbines and Whooping Cranes: Going Soft on Soft Energy (politically correct environmental damage)
The Federal agency charged with protecting endangered species under the Endangered Species Act is evaluating a plan to allow a 200-mile wide corridor for wind energy development from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The draft land-based guidelines–made ostensibly to avoid, minimize, and compensate for effects to fish, wildlife, and their habitats” — represent one more example of overt and destructive favoritism for an industry that already benefits from fat tax subsidies and mandated market purchases.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Plan
The plan by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) would allow for killing endangered whooping cranes. The government’s environmental review will consider a permit, sought by 19 energy developers, which would allow constructing turbines (over 300 feet tall) and associated transmission lines on non-federal lands in nine states from Montana to the Texas coast, encroaching on the migratory route of the cranes.
The permit from the FWS would allow the projects to “take” an unspecified number of endangered species. Under the Endangered Species Act, “take” is just the euphemism for killing or injuring an endangered species. The government can issue permits to kill or injure listed species with no penalties or risks of lawsuits to developers if they agree to craft conservation plans.
The Administration’s latest wind energy proposal raises concerns because the developments would imperil the habitat of the whooping cranes, including the Central Flyway (shown in purple), a migratory path that cuts through North America, not surprisingly where wind developers want to build, because of prevailing winds. [Read more →]
July 26, 2011 20 Comments
“The interventionist in advocating additional public expenditure is not aware of the fact that the funds available are limited. He does not realize that increasing expenditure in one department enjoins restricting it in other departments. In his opinion there is plenty of money available. The income and wealth of the rich can be freely tapped…. It never occurs to him [think Obama] that grave arguments could be advanced in favor of restricting public spending and lowering the burden of taxation. The champions of cuts in the budget are in his eyes merely the defenders of the manifestly unfair class interests of the rich.”
- Ludwig von Mises, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics (1949), 1966, pp. 856–57.
“This is where we stand in our current debt ceiling debate. Government is too big, too bloated. Washington faces a spending problem, not a revenue problem. But too many within the economy depend on the government transfers to live and to work. Yet the economy is not growing at a rate that can afford the illusion. Where are we to go from here?”
- Peter Boettke, “Why The Great Stagnation Thesis is the Most Subversive Libertarian Argument of Our Age,” July 15, 2011.
Energy subsidies are now on the table in the debt-ceiling debate now raging before Congress. But a macro approach needs to be taken to encompass subsidies in the electric generation market (wind and solar in particular), not only in the transportation fuels (oil and ethanol).
Congressional lawmakers interested in budget reduction have set their sights on eliminating ethanol subsidies and oil and gas tax breaks. But renewable energy subsidies–the holly grail of Big Environmentalism and the Obama Administration–are also under pressure.
Earlier this year, the Department of Energy’s Section 1705 loan guarantee was cut. The popular Section 1603 cash grant program created under ARRA is expected to expire later this year. And some industry insiders indicate the federal production tax credit, in effect since passage of the Energy Act of 1992, will be allowed to sunset at the end of 2012.
Indeed, the moment has come to consider eliminating all of the energy subsidies–simultaneously–to let the natural economics of a freer market prevail.
Consumer-driven energy decisions will create winners and losers, for sure. That is the creative destruction of the marketplace. The public is far better served when industries compete for market share and profits rather than fight for political favoritism and handouts.
Windpower: A Trail of Broken Promises
The U.S. wind market, which has relied on public funding since its inception in the 1970s, has a long trail of false expectations and broken promises.
July 21, 2011 18 Comments