A Free-Market Energy Blog

Dear Wind Industry: We Need Your Workers and Materials (and taxpayers need your cessation)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 6, 2012

“The stakes here could not be clearer. Economic studies have shown that Congressional inaction on the PTC will kill 37,000 American jobs, shutter plants and cancel billions of dollars in private investment. Congress needs to understand that, with PTC uncertainty, layoffs have already begun and further job losses and even plant closings will accelerate each month as we near expiration in December.”

– Denise Bode, quoted in American Wind Energy Association, “As Wind Manufacturing Job Losses Loom, Bipartisan Wind Extension Drive Continues (February 16, 2012).

Three cheers for market-driven resource reallocation for personal and economic betterment.

Some of us can speak from personal experience. I was part of the 4,000-person layoff from Enron Corporation on Monday December 3, 2001. The economy became a little more efficient that day, as many started getting jobs at other energy companies and elsewhere where consumer demand was stronger.

Such is the ‘creative destruction’ of the market economy where the good replaces the bad, and where the even-better replaces the good.

The windpower industry is entering what could well be the beginning of a death cycle. Industrial wind is increasingly losing its special ratepayer and taxpayer support with democracies in deficit and consumers in search of cost and reliability advantages.

Judging from the ‘help wanted’ signs, the oil and gas industry stands ready to absorb the precious resources that have gone into the ‘Enron’ of energy sources. Some workers will need to be retrained, while others will find a closer integration of skills.

Perhaps even the employees of AWEA can become true environmentalists or libertarian to argue against ethanol and on-grid solar and light bulb mandates to close deficits and increase personal liberty. The pro-consumer, pro-taxpayer movement can always use a few more good women and men!

Risky Business

The plight of the (artificial) wind industry should be blamed on yesterday’s government and political capitalism, not on the inevitable decline of taxpayers’ subsidies. Crony capitalism is risky business. “He who lives by a legalized sward, will perish by a legalized sword, Ayn Rand stated forty years ago.” (1)

Free-market economist Ludwig von Mises observed decades earlier: “It is precisely the fact that the market does not respect vested interests that makes the people concerned ask for government interference.” (2)

Never-Should-Have-Been Industry

Windpower, indeed, is the industry that never should have been. The perfect imperfect energy, windpower was refuted by William Stanley Jevons in 1865 and John Droz in 2011–and many times between.

Here is some wisdom from 1838 on the limits of windpower, specifically “the irregularity of its force“:

Windpower is its own worst enemy because it is dilute, irregular energy flow compared to a stock of dense, stored energy. Reality bats last, as they say.


(1) Ayn Rand, “The Moratorium on Brains: Part Two,” Ayn Rand Letter, November 8, 1971, p. 10.

(2) Ludwig von Mises, Human Action (4th Edition (1966), p. 337.


  1. Jon Boone  

    The other thing to say here is that AWEA’s Denise Bode, no doubt highly paid to confer “legitimacy” to her mendacious enterprise, plays fast and very loose with her “facts.” How many of those 37,000 wind “jobs” are American, full time, and permanent? And what’s the basis of her 37,000 figure? Why not 74,000? Or 150,000? Picking numbers out of the air because she knows no one is really county, or will hold her accountable, has been part of the AWEA schtick for generations now.

    How many wind “plants” will be shuttered? Exactly where are they, how long have they existed, and how many workers are employed in them, full time? And of those billions of dollars of private investment that could be lost, how many more billions of public dollars would be saved to invest in reality based initiatives, such as putting food on the table?


  2. rbradley  

    A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle indicates the early bad news for wind: “Wind-power Companies Lose Luster with Investors“March 6, 2012.


  3. Donald Hertzmark  

    The current issue of the (UK) Spectator highlights the likelihood of real difficulties for continuing subsidies for wind farms in the UK. (http://www.thegwpf.org/opinion-pros-a-cons/5128-matt-ridley-the-winds-of-change.html). The article also notes the difficulties of offshore wind turbines and cites an engineering study that predicts almost total failure of foundations after just a few years of operation (the same prediction was made recently for US Atlantic wind farms on account of hurricanes – http://www.climatecentral.org/news/hurricanes-pose-major-risks-to-offshore-wind-turbines-study-finds/).

    Whether the facts will make any difference on such a theological issue is not clear, but at some point they will run out of OPM.


  4. Robert Bradley Jr.: Dear Wind Industry: We Need Your Workers and Materials (and taxpayers need your cessation) | JunkScience.com  

    […] MasterResource Share this:PrintEmailMoreStumbleUponTwitterFacebookDiggRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Clean energy, Economics and tagged anti-wind, Wind power. Bookmark the permalink. ← Wind-power companies lose luster with investors […]


  5. Colin  

    More ranting from the anti-wind folks.

    If you want to start a market for wind and technology you need to invest. How do you think the oil industry got to where it is today? Do you not even know how much oil and gas has been subsidized over the decades? Do you really think cheap natural gas doesn’t come at the cost of YOUR HEALTH?

    Every single watershed that you build a fracking (i.e. “shale gas”) operation on will eventually toxify the water and destroy the entire watershed and surrounding eco-system. This has already been happening throughout Appalachia and yet the anti-wind folks are totally silent choosing instead to rant about “bird deaths” from wind turbines and how they are an “eyesore”. Like you ever gave a hoot about birds and the aesthetics of your community before wind turbines came along. Seriously dude – get off your high horse….


    • rbradley  

      Winds’ intermittency has killed it as a free market option, not only its cost and locational problem. Natural gas as reliable, inexpensive energy is all about health and wealth where there are more of us and we are living longer, case closed.


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