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Talking back
  to wind
 Answering questions and claims
put forth in support of wind energy
Wind power:
 It’s clean, cheap and
    renewable, right?
Let’s look at the facts.
Wind generated energy is an
  old technology, already
          proven.
Actually, that is partially true. It’s
 an old technology, but NOT for
producing electricity. Wind mills
were used to pump water and
grind grains. Electrical production
was usually limited to individual
farms and individuals outside the
reach of the electrical grid.
The variable nature of wind made it
impractical for electric power, except
when used to charge a bank of
batteries. Electricity was produced
by hydro and steam turbines.
Wind is renewable.
In the sense that wind will always
 exist, yes. But wind is renewable
   only on nature’s schedule and
     available only on nature’s
         schedule, not ours.
Does a fuel that is available in varying
amounts and randomly available for use
make sense in an instant-on society,
even if it will never run out?
Wind power is
  “green”.
“Green”, other than used to describe
 a visual perception of a specific
 wavelength of light, is pretty much
 meaningless.
Green is a marketing term—
   like “new and improved” Anyone can
     describe their product as “green” by
emphasizing whatever qualities their product
 possesses that might look environmentally
           friendly and responsible.
For example, recycled products are
   often considered “green” even
  though some recycling can take
 more energy than new production.
Wind power reduces
 CO2 emissions.
Okay, we need actual figures for CO2
              produced by
 mining, refining, manufacturing and
installing turbines. We then need the
  same information for conventional
  power plants, including hydro and
                 nuclear.
Don’t forget to include any backup
plants that may be needed to provide
24/7 electricity while using a variable
            energy source.
The cost of
wind power is
coming down.
Wind power helps with
 adding power to the
grid, even if not all the
         time.
 Thinkabout this for a moment. Wind
    can go from zero to twenty very
  quickly, dumping a large quantity of
        electricity onto the grid.
   The utility companies have to cope with this, either
    by ramping down a conventional power
    plant, rerouting the electricity where it can be used
    (may require a very large grid),or shut down the
    turbines.
    What wind does is provide surges of electricity. If
    your power company delivered surges of electricity
     to your home on a daily basis, you would be very
    upset. Surge protectors would burn out quickly and
      the cost of replacement would be borne by you.
   Yet, as long as the cost of this “surge control” for
    wind plants is covered by small annual raises in
     electric costs (or may be not so small?) many
      consumers sing the praises of using a surge-
                generating electric source.
Wind can be made as
 affordable as fossil
        fuels.
Wind power
creates jobs.
This is nearly impossible to prove. Until
  2010, there was no separate code for
 wind related occupations. Without such
a code, any number thrown out is simply
           a guess or made-up.
Estimates vary widely—in Wyoming, 9 wind power
 plants employ about 50 people on a long term basis.
 Iowa (with the second highest number of turbines in
     the U.S.) employs 3,323 persons, including
        manufacturing plants. This represents
 approximately .21 percent of those employed in the
     state. Not a significant job source, it seems.
If wind uses “free” fuel, jobs only
exist to manufacture and maintain
 turbines. Construction requires a
    large number of short-term
            employees.
To really create jobs, it would require
    manufacturing and installing tens of
 thousands of turbines so construction and
  manufacturing would be ongoing. How
much of the land in the US would be covered
  with turbines to create these jobs? One
              shudders to think.


                    From sea to shining sea—turbines
                    as far as the eye can see.
Fuel for
 wind is
  free.
Technically, coal and gas are free
   also, in the sense they are in the
 ground just waiting to be dug up and
  used. The cost is in removal of the
fuel, preparation of, and transportation
               of the fuel.
With wind, there is no cost for
  fuel removal, but billions in
   transmission lines will be
     required to deliver the
electricity where the wind does
not blow or where people don’t
  want turbines ruining their
           ocean view.
Both fuel types of power
production require construction
  and maintenance of power
producing facilities. Nothing is
             free.
Turbines are less
 damaging to the
environment than
   oil and gas.
Turbines are 300 to 400 feet tall, require
  multiple acres of land (estimated at 60
 acres by one wind advocate) turbine for
 proper spacing (often there is a zone of
300 feet or more around the turbine that
     is off limits to all), require roads
  between the turbines for maintenance
         and are very permanent.
Drill rigs are smaller than turbines
(under 200 feet in most cases) and
are replaced by a pump jack or gas
line after oil/gas is found. A pump
jack is very small (under 25 feet)
and very quiet, unlike wind
turbines.
A pump jack can be located in a
back yard or even next to a
school, as was done in California
(with a “cover” over it).
Industrial turbines cannot go in a
back yard. Set backs are required
for safety, sound issues, etc.
Which is which?
Fossil fuels are
bad so we need
  to use wind
     power.
Noise from turbines is no
more than traffic noise or
     a clothes dryer.
Wind is subsidized
 less than other
      fuels.
Using absolute numbers, yes, but per unit, no, until the
    year 2010 when absolute wind energy subsidy
   amounts were higher than conventional sources.

           Family A              Family B
          2 members              8 members
       $180,000 income         $200,000 income

       Does Family B have the highest income? Yes
Is this Family B receiving a better deal and income than
       Family A? The wind industry would say yes.
Lottery winners:
4 people buy one winning ticket and get $50,000

  100 people buy one winning ticket and get
                   $100,000

The 100 people are the big winners if you treat
    winnings like the wind industry treats
                   subsidies.
Free fuel means
 price stability.
This would only be true if free
    fuel converted itself to
 electricity, which it does not.
  As in: Wind (some magic happens) Electricity
People have to be paid to babysit the turbines
   and repair them. Manufacturing costs for
 repair parts and new turbines can increase as
    can maintenance costs in general. Lease
                costs can go up.

         That is not stabile pricing.
Wind energy
eliminates the need
    for mining.
For fuel, yes. The statement is
blatantly false, however. Mining
              of iron
ore, copper, aluminum, and rare
      earth metals is needed.
Limestone quarries are required
   for cement production. With
 thousands of turbines requiring
repair and replacement, mining
 will remain as long as there are
             turbines.
Turbines
preserve land.
Turbines take only a 20 foot circle for the
 base. However, many have a 300 foot
 “safety” zone that cannot be used due to
 possible mechanical failure of the
 turbine and blade icing.
Plus, the land lost to roads between each
 turbine. On mountain tops, forest is
 cleared for turbines to go in.
Turbines may allow wildlife to keep their
   homes, but so do other energy sources.
   There is as much wildlife at mines and
     in oilfields as there is in turbine
                  groupings.
      Turbines do not allow for human
    habitation near or under the towers.
          That use is totally lost.
 They do not “preserve land”, they change
            large portions of land
  radically, introducing an industrialized
                     area.
Ranchers, farmers
       and other
   landowners can
 make money from
hosting turbines and
 still farm or ranch.
Yes, landowners can make
 money hosting turbines.
 Money can also be made
   ―hosting‖ toxic waste
storage, landfills, racetrack
           s, etc.
The recipient of turbine lease
money is happy, but one has to
   suspect that if this person’s
  neighbor decided to ―host‖ a
  landfill operation to enhance
 their income, the wind turbine
host would object.      Anything is
    okay when you’re the one
        receiving the cash.
Would you rather have a wind farm
         or a subdivision?

   (Asked by a western rancher
 defending his taking money—over
 $100,000 per year– for ―hosting‖
          wind turbines.)
Answer:
A subdivision.
Subdivisions represent true economic growth, not
 subsidized energy folly.

And houses are easier to remove if abandoned
 than 400 foot steel towers with 20 foot concrete
 bases.
Wind plants still
 allow hunting.
Some do, on BLM land or with
landowner permission. There may
 be restrictions requiring you stay
 1000 feet away from the turbines
(due to icing) and you cannot take
     vehicles off the roads. In
California, no hunting is allowed on
 wind facilities for the safety of the
              technicians.
Turbines kill only
 a small number
    of birds.
Different views on
    wind energy
Political
“We need to develop all
 of our energy resources”
Scientific
“We need to develop
 effective energy sources”
Which philosophy do
you want
determining your
energy future?
   References:
   www.endlessenergy.com/aboutwind.html

   http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm/8120/T-Boones-Windy-Misadventure-
    And-the-Global-Backlash-Against-Wind-Energy

   http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/178/

   http://www.biofuelwar.com/2011/02/awea-wind-energy-cost-competitive-with-
    natural-gas/

   http://www.zenergybiofuel.com/zbf/converting-coal-to-wind

   http://floodiceorfire.wordpress.com/stopping-sithe-global-gascoal-and-making-way-
    for-renewable-energy/

   http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/8901431/Switch-off-for-noisy-
    wind-farms.html

   http://www.rickety.us/2009/08/1-3-billion-wind-turbines-needed-to-replace-coal/
   References (cont)
   http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2065310/Google-shelves-Green-
    Energy-division-ends-promise-solar-power-cheaper-coal.html

   http://www.siouxcityjournal.com/news/opinion/editorial/our-opinion-iowa-enjoys-
    inspirational-progress-within-wind-energy-industry/article_4e788776-a349-58d3-
    b8c8-5b164350deb0.html

   http://plainshumanities.unl.edu/encyclopedia/doc/egp.ii.062

   http://www.visionofearth.org/industry/renewable-energy/renewable-energy-
    review/land-use-of-coal-vs-wind-still-room-for-debate/

   http://www.masterresource.org/2009/01/w-s-jevons-1865-on-windpower-memo-to-
    obama-part-i/

   http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2011/08/03/eia-releases-new-subsidy-
    report-subsidies-for-renewables-increase-186-percent/

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Talking back to wind (updated)

  • 1. Talking back to wind Answering questions and claims put forth in support of wind energy
  • 2. Wind power: It’s clean, cheap and renewable, right? Let’s look at the facts.
  • 3. Wind generated energy is an old technology, already proven.
  • 4. Actually, that is partially true. It’s an old technology, but NOT for producing electricity. Wind mills were used to pump water and grind grains. Electrical production was usually limited to individual farms and individuals outside the reach of the electrical grid.
  • 5. The variable nature of wind made it impractical for electric power, except when used to charge a bank of batteries. Electricity was produced by hydro and steam turbines.
  • 7. In the sense that wind will always exist, yes. But wind is renewable only on nature’s schedule and available only on nature’s schedule, not ours.
  • 8. Does a fuel that is available in varying amounts and randomly available for use make sense in an instant-on society, even if it will never run out?
  • 9. Wind power is “green”.
  • 10. “Green”, other than used to describe a visual perception of a specific wavelength of light, is pretty much meaningless.
  • 11. Green is a marketing term— like “new and improved” Anyone can describe their product as “green” by emphasizing whatever qualities their product possesses that might look environmentally friendly and responsible.
  • 12. For example, recycled products are often considered “green” even though some recycling can take more energy than new production.
  • 13.
  • 14. Wind power reduces CO2 emissions.
  • 15. Okay, we need actual figures for CO2 produced by mining, refining, manufacturing and installing turbines. We then need the same information for conventional power plants, including hydro and nuclear.
  • 16. Don’t forget to include any backup plants that may be needed to provide 24/7 electricity while using a variable energy source.
  • 17. The cost of wind power is coming down.
  • 18.
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  • 23. Wind power helps with adding power to the grid, even if not all the time.
  • 24.  Thinkabout this for a moment. Wind can go from zero to twenty very quickly, dumping a large quantity of electricity onto the grid.
  • 25. The utility companies have to cope with this, either by ramping down a conventional power plant, rerouting the electricity where it can be used (may require a very large grid),or shut down the turbines.
  • 26. What wind does is provide surges of electricity. If your power company delivered surges of electricity to your home on a daily basis, you would be very upset. Surge protectors would burn out quickly and the cost of replacement would be borne by you.
  • 27. Yet, as long as the cost of this “surge control” for wind plants is covered by small annual raises in electric costs (or may be not so small?) many consumers sing the praises of using a surge- generating electric source.
  • 28. Wind can be made as affordable as fossil fuels.
  • 29.
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  • 33. This is nearly impossible to prove. Until 2010, there was no separate code for wind related occupations. Without such a code, any number thrown out is simply a guess or made-up.
  • 34. Estimates vary widely—in Wyoming, 9 wind power plants employ about 50 people on a long term basis. Iowa (with the second highest number of turbines in the U.S.) employs 3,323 persons, including manufacturing plants. This represents approximately .21 percent of those employed in the state. Not a significant job source, it seems.
  • 35. If wind uses “free” fuel, jobs only exist to manufacture and maintain turbines. Construction requires a large number of short-term employees.
  • 36. To really create jobs, it would require manufacturing and installing tens of thousands of turbines so construction and manufacturing would be ongoing. How much of the land in the US would be covered with turbines to create these jobs? One shudders to think. From sea to shining sea—turbines as far as the eye can see.
  • 37. Fuel for wind is free.
  • 38. Technically, coal and gas are free also, in the sense they are in the ground just waiting to be dug up and used. The cost is in removal of the fuel, preparation of, and transportation of the fuel.
  • 39. With wind, there is no cost for fuel removal, but billions in transmission lines will be required to deliver the electricity where the wind does not blow or where people don’t want turbines ruining their ocean view.
  • 40. Both fuel types of power production require construction and maintenance of power producing facilities. Nothing is free.
  • 41. Turbines are less damaging to the environment than oil and gas.
  • 42. Turbines are 300 to 400 feet tall, require multiple acres of land (estimated at 60 acres by one wind advocate) turbine for proper spacing (often there is a zone of 300 feet or more around the turbine that is off limits to all), require roads between the turbines for maintenance and are very permanent.
  • 43. Drill rigs are smaller than turbines (under 200 feet in most cases) and are replaced by a pump jack or gas line after oil/gas is found. A pump jack is very small (under 25 feet) and very quiet, unlike wind turbines.
  • 44. A pump jack can be located in a back yard or even next to a school, as was done in California (with a “cover” over it). Industrial turbines cannot go in a back yard. Set backs are required for safety, sound issues, etc.
  • 46. Fossil fuels are bad so we need to use wind power.
  • 47.
  • 48.
  • 49. Noise from turbines is no more than traffic noise or a clothes dryer.
  • 50.
  • 51.
  • 52. Wind is subsidized less than other fuels.
  • 53. Using absolute numbers, yes, but per unit, no, until the year 2010 when absolute wind energy subsidy amounts were higher than conventional sources. Family A Family B 2 members 8 members $180,000 income $200,000 income Does Family B have the highest income? Yes Is this Family B receiving a better deal and income than Family A? The wind industry would say yes.
  • 54. Lottery winners: 4 people buy one winning ticket and get $50,000 100 people buy one winning ticket and get $100,000 The 100 people are the big winners if you treat winnings like the wind industry treats subsidies.
  • 55. Free fuel means price stability.
  • 56. This would only be true if free fuel converted itself to electricity, which it does not. As in: Wind (some magic happens) Electricity
  • 57. People have to be paid to babysit the turbines and repair them. Manufacturing costs for repair parts and new turbines can increase as can maintenance costs in general. Lease costs can go up. That is not stabile pricing.
  • 58. Wind energy eliminates the need for mining.
  • 59. For fuel, yes. The statement is blatantly false, however. Mining of iron ore, copper, aluminum, and rare earth metals is needed. Limestone quarries are required for cement production. With thousands of turbines requiring repair and replacement, mining will remain as long as there are turbines.
  • 61. Turbines take only a 20 foot circle for the base. However, many have a 300 foot “safety” zone that cannot be used due to possible mechanical failure of the turbine and blade icing. Plus, the land lost to roads between each turbine. On mountain tops, forest is cleared for turbines to go in.
  • 62. Turbines may allow wildlife to keep their homes, but so do other energy sources. There is as much wildlife at mines and in oilfields as there is in turbine groupings. Turbines do not allow for human habitation near or under the towers. That use is totally lost. They do not “preserve land”, they change large portions of land radically, introducing an industrialized area.
  • 63. Ranchers, farmers and other landowners can make money from hosting turbines and still farm or ranch.
  • 64. Yes, landowners can make money hosting turbines. Money can also be made ―hosting‖ toxic waste storage, landfills, racetrack s, etc.
  • 65. The recipient of turbine lease money is happy, but one has to suspect that if this person’s neighbor decided to ―host‖ a landfill operation to enhance their income, the wind turbine host would object. Anything is okay when you’re the one receiving the cash.
  • 66. Would you rather have a wind farm or a subdivision? (Asked by a western rancher defending his taking money—over $100,000 per year– for ―hosting‖ wind turbines.)
  • 67. Answer: A subdivision. Subdivisions represent true economic growth, not subsidized energy folly. And houses are easier to remove if abandoned than 400 foot steel towers with 20 foot concrete bases.
  • 68. Wind plants still allow hunting.
  • 69. Some do, on BLM land or with landowner permission. There may be restrictions requiring you stay 1000 feet away from the turbines (due to icing) and you cannot take vehicles off the roads. In California, no hunting is allowed on wind facilities for the safety of the technicians.
  • 70. Turbines kill only a small number of birds.
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  • 76. Different views on wind energy
  • 77. Political “We need to develop all of our energy resources”
  • 78. Scientific “We need to develop effective energy sources”
  • 79. Which philosophy do you want determining your energy future?
  • 80. References:  www.endlessenergy.com/aboutwind.html  http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm/8120/T-Boones-Windy-Misadventure- And-the-Global-Backlash-Against-Wind-Energy  http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/178/  http://www.biofuelwar.com/2011/02/awea-wind-energy-cost-competitive-with- natural-gas/  http://www.zenergybiofuel.com/zbf/converting-coal-to-wind  http://floodiceorfire.wordpress.com/stopping-sithe-global-gascoal-and-making-way- for-renewable-energy/  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/windpower/8901431/Switch-off-for-noisy- wind-farms.html  http://www.rickety.us/2009/08/1-3-billion-wind-turbines-needed-to-replace-coal/
  • 81. References (cont)  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2065310/Google-shelves-Green- Energy-division-ends-promise-solar-power-cheaper-coal.html  http://www.siouxcityjournal.com/news/opinion/editorial/our-opinion-iowa-enjoys- inspirational-progress-within-wind-energy-industry/article_4e788776-a349-58d3- b8c8-5b164350deb0.html  http://plainshumanities.unl.edu/encyclopedia/doc/egp.ii.062  http://www.visionofearth.org/industry/renewable-energy/renewable-energy- review/land-use-of-coal-vs-wind-still-room-for-debate/  http://www.masterresource.org/2009/01/w-s-jevons-1865-on-windpower-memo-to- obama-part-i/  http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2011/08/03/eia-releases-new-subsidy- report-subsidies-for-renewables-increase-186-percent/