The Wind turbine is the modern day windmill which is marketed as a clean energy solution to replace power from fossil fuel, coal, and nuclear power plants. The addition of multiple wind turbines in the same geographical location is referred to as a wind farm. The sales pitch goes as follows, "wind turbines power millions of homes with wonderful 'free' energy". The truth is a much different story. "The wind power industry claims switching from conventional power to wind power will save consumers money and spur the economy. However, data from the top 10 wind power states show just the opposite."
At temperatures below -22° F, wind turbines cannot operate safely. They are shut down when they are needed most. Wind turbines can also overheat, catch fire and partially to totally disintegrate and collapse if pushed past their limits by excessive wind or other factors (as in one documented case, where a malfunctioning wind turbine overheated, caught fire and partially disintegrated during sub-freezing weather in rural Alberta, Canada, causing a brush fire as parts of the turbine fell off into nearby brush).
There is a good deal of controversy over whether wind power is a good idea as a viable energy source. This should come as no surprise—energy is big business. A significant fraction of a nation's wealth goes into providing energy, and the energy companies (oil, gas, coal, nuclear, hydro, wind) have a lot at stake. They devote a lot of their resources into promoting their interests. As a relative newcomer to the field, and with a lot of technological advances going on, it's no surprise that wind power comes in for a lot of both praise and criticism.
On the pro-wind side, the "treehugger.com" (the name pretty much says it all) website says: "The energy payback for a 2-megawatt wind turbine that lasts over 20 years is... 5-8 months." The American Wind Energy Association says: "Recent improvements in turbine technology has reduced the cost of wind energy, allowing electricity consumers and utilities to lock in low, affordable electricity rates through 20 to 30 year contracts."
On the anti-side, there are complaints of turbines requiring expensive maintenance, falling apart, and starting fires. From the "Stop These Things" ("We're not here to debate the wind industry, we're here to destroy it") website: "2 Year Old Siemens Turbines Falling Apart: Wind Farm Investors, Get Out While You Can."
Wind energy from turbines is a power generating loser when compared to other technologies such as coal, hydro, gas and nuclear. One major downside is that when there is no wind, no power is generated. Sources say you need at least a 10MPH wind speed to generate power, and speeds in excess of 50MPH will shut down turbines to prevent damage. Industry promoters often paint a rosy picture of the benefits of wind power when other sources claim as little as 8% of usable generation.
It is not widely known that wind turbines actually use electricity from the grid (coal/gas/hydro/nuclear) to power their hydraulic systems that keep the blades facing in the same direction as the wind. In freezing weather conditions, electricity from the grid is used to keep the blades spinning at low speeds as a method of de-icing.
The misconception is that you install a wind turbine and it will pay itself off within a decade. From that point out, it is a net energy gain at a fraction of a cost. Nothing can be further from the truth. Constant costs are involved in maintaining these mechanical structures; Overheating bearings, plastic that melts, gallons of brake oil leaking, gallons of hydraulic fluid leaking, blades that fall off, towers that collapse, replacement of yaw gear drives, bearings, gearboxes, brushes, and generators. The cost to put out wind turbine fires is also substantial. Some can self-extinguish small fires, but others need fire departments to extinguish turbines and put out the brush fires sometimes caused below.
The cost to manufacture wind turbines prevents any offset gained transitioning to a 'clean' energy environment: "A two-megawatt windmill contains 260 tonnes of steel requiring 170 tonnes of coking coal and 300 tonnes of iron ore, all mined, transported and produced by hydrocarbons." Landscape, seascape, and wildlife costs are a major downside to power from wind. Eagles, bats, and birds of all kinds are killed in the thousands by wind blades. Estimates place the number of birds killed by wind turbines at 30 million per year.
Wind Turbine Syndrome
Many people living within 2 km (1.25 miles) of these spinning giants get sick says a peer-reviewed study by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Low-frequency noise and infrasound appear to be the chief disease-causing culprit according to Dr. Nina Pierpont. In Wisconsin, a study showed noise emanating from the turbines was detectable inside homes within a 6.2-mile radius of the industrial wind plant and declared wind turbines a health hazard.
Government Subsidies and Crony Capitalists
Billions of taxpayer dollars are being shoveled into this inefficient scheme in order to promote Global Warming agendas at the expense of real power sources and the tens of thousands of jobs they replace. Government subsidies keep the growth of wind turbine construction alive and keep this technology running after installation. Without government financial involvement, wind turbines become too costly to operate, go idle and start rusting the landscape. Without government funding, investors sell their investments and shelve plans to expand. The UK's Labour party insists that wind turbines can't make a profit without subsidies. Tax credits are given to companies that manufacture, to companies that install/maintain, to municipalities that own the property. The IRS is giving away $13 Billion per year in wind energy subsidies.
The world's biggest billion dollar corporations, such as General Electric and Siemens, are reaping the investments made in subsidized wind turbine construction. The U.S. government has laid the groundwork for an endless welfare system devoted to big wind companies.
- Electricity Prices Soaring In Top Wind Power States, Forbes, October 17, 2014
- Campaign for Change: "BREAKING:WIND TURBINE. LITERALLY. CREATES BRUSH FIRE" at Twitter
- AS BRITAIN FREEZES, WIND FARMS TAKE POWER FROM GRID TO PREVENT ICING, Breitbart.com. January 2, 2015
- 2 Year Old Siemens Turbines Falling Apart: Wind Farm Investors, Get Out While You Can, Stopthesethings.com, February 1, 2015
- Carbon Shift: How Peak Oil and the Climate Crisis Will Change Canada (and Our Lives), Author Thomas Homer-Dixon, 2010
- RIP STEFAN THE STORK – ONE OF 30 MILLION BIRDS KILLED BY WIND FARMS EVERY YEAR, Breitbart, August 17, 2015
- Wind Ontario
- Wind Turbine Syndrome
- Wisconsin Wind Turbines Declared Health Hazard, Michigan Capitol Confidential, November 8, 2014
- Wind Energy's Ghosts, American Thinker, February 15, 2010
- Tories to end onshore windfarm subsidies in 2016, The Guardian,June 18, 2015
- The IRS Is Giving Away $13 Billion A Year In Wind Energy Subsidies, Without Congressional Authorization, Forbes
- What do we have to show for government subsidies of wind power?, TheHill, February 24, 2015
- Busted Wind Turbine Cost New Jersey $498,000
- Walmart wind deal
- Grassley Named a Friend of Iowa Wind Energy
- Conservative billionaire’s effort to build a massive wind farm
- Iowa Wind Power
- A panoramic view of Gunfleet wind farm with a storm rolling in
- Video of Hampole wind farm construction
- Video of wind turbine disintegrating
- Video of wind turbine killing a large bird
- Video of wind turbine on fire