In the June 18 issue of The Wall Street Journal was a piece written by Dr. Jay Lehr, a geological engineer and hydrologist. Entitled 'The is The Rationale for Wind Power Won't Fly,' the article caught my eye since we just got home from a car trip crossing north west Texas into New Mexico where we saw firsthand acres and acres on which there were hundreds of these wind turbines. According to the article almost $24 billion in federal subsidies has been given to the wind industry to bolster their startup and production. Yet, not ONE conventional power plant has been replaced with this "new sustainable" technology.
Here are some things about these turbines I did not know but was happy to learn from this article.
They require vast numbers of acres of land to operate. Their output must be carefully monitored and supplemented by traditional sources, such as coal fired plants to maintain a constant flow of power for the public's needs. In other words, when the wind isn't blowing, more coal fired electricity is required. The wind turbines must be shut down all together in high wind to prevent severe damage of the blades due to centrifugal force which would tear them apart. The concrete foundations they sit on are suffering from strains. They emit a noise that is making those who live anywhere near them want to run away from home. They kill, according to Audubon Society estimates, a million birds a year who fly heedlessly into the whirling blades. No wonder wind turbines have earned the sobriquet 'Cuisinarts of the Air.'
All of these facts are remarkable, but none of them stood out for me as much as this one. The article says that Europe's wind farms have shown that a one-millimeter buildup of bugs on the blades reduces their power output as much as 25%.
Think about that. How do you clean dead spattered bugs off tens of thousands of windmill blades spread over hundreds and hundreds of miles of land often in arid or mountainous territory? At what cost? And with how much manpower? And with what chemical or amount of water used in the process?
Understand also this fact. Three hundred square miles of land are necessary to generate a billion watts of electricity that a city of 700,000 people uses in an average year. Imagine how much land would be required to supply a city of several million. And understand that it is accepted fact that turbines produce electricity ONLY 30% of the time when the wind is blowing and that no one can predict when exactly that time will occur.
(Bird strike casualty)
Yet the money from Washington continues to pour into this industry even as new discoveries of petroleum reserves are made by private industry which has sound proven, research based technology behind it, and the ability to meet the demands of America's energy needs for decades to come and beyond. It should not be overlooked that from the earliest discoveries of oil in this country, many predicted it wouldn't last. Even Andrew Carnegie, for instance, in 1862 invested in a few wells from which he hoped to pump oil and hold it in reserve in a manmade lake until the oil ceased to flow, at which time he might ask a big price and reap a mighty profit. That was over 150 years ago and the oil is still flowing at amounts estimated to meet our growing needs for the next hundred years at the very least.
In spite of what socialists want you to believe, petroleum products aren't destroying our planet. What fossil fuel is destroying is their idea that capitalism is bad and must be replaced with a plan, their plan, naturally. Socialists must always have an enemy to foster support. Today, fossil fuel is their enemy. They will demonize it anyway they can. What they cannot deny and what they cannot overcome however, is the fact millions and millions of lives have been made better because of mining, drilling, refining, and distribution of products invented, advertised, and sold by capitalists to meet the demand of consumers.
The thing we need to question is not the further use of fossil fuel, but the motive behind the propaganda of those who do not support it. Considering the number of lives that would be destroyed, the millions who would die if it were to cease being produced and its products distributed, one can only imagine it to be the ideology of evil, the kind espoused by the master madman Karl Marx. We are expected to remain silent on this while the green movement "saves us" from destruction. Every dollar spent by our government to support companies that cannot pull their own weight, is a dollar not in the hands of an American who earned it and who might otherwise spend it to improve his own life or the life of his family, or invest it in a private company driven by the very best incentive of all, the voice of the free consumer.
Chriss Rainey is a freelance writer who lives in Virginia.
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