Wind generation is irrelevant to energy independence: Making electricity doesn’t give us oil, asphalt, plastics or tires; only 1.1 per cent of America’s electricity is generated by petroleum. As for fossil fuel savings, adding wind into the electricity mix tends to increase fuel usage and CO2 emissions due to the inefficiencies introduced into the system.
Google the short video titled Listen to Your Mother: The Case for Wind Turbine Decommissioning, Dismantling and Removal Requirements, for a reality check on the truth about Big Wind and who wins what. The narrator’s voice may strike you as a little corny, but the Allegheny Highlands Alliance video has some important things to show and tell about what could be our future. Derelict towers already litter the land and sea around the globe.
Federal and state energy tax credits, other subsidies and mandates have created an artificial market for wind-generated electricity, initially most lucrative in California, where 16,000 turbines quickly followed the money trail. Turbines built at Altamont Pass are shown 30 years later. Many have been still for 20 years. Of California’s 16,000 turbines, 14,000 no longer produce power, but they haven’t gone away.
The video producers point out: “It’s a short trip from unrenewed tax credits, low productivity, curtailments for birds and bats, to aging machinery and abandonment.”
Who will clean up the mess when the wind rush ends? Or any defunct turbine 20 years out? It takes as much skilled labor and specialized machinery to disassemble an industrial wind turbine as it did to put it up, but there’s no profit in that operation. Wind developers walk away from nonprofitable wind installations the world over. Check out photos of the abandoned wind factory in Kamaoa, Hawaii, built in 1985. After a steady decline in production, it was abandoned in 2006. You think they wouldn’t let that happen here?
Big Wind is a dead industry. Denmark recently declared they will build no more land-based industrial-scale turbines due to the havoc they’ve wreaked on their citizens. Ontario has halted all off-shore industrial scale wind projects. Spain, Italy and the Netherlands recently reduced their wind power subsidies. Danish environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg, subject of the movie Cool It, describes Big Wind as “a feel-good exercise in spending lots and lots of money doing virtually no good.”
Although claims are still being made that “the benefits to society greatly outweigh the downsides to a small but vocal minority,” the Daily Mail this week (7-11-11) quotes Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is skeptical of the government’s climate change policy, including its plans for building wind farms: “The public backlash against wind farms is not surprising. It is the inevitable and inexorable consequence of a costly, unpopular and completely pointless policy that is butchering Britain’s green and pleasant landscape without having any effect on the climate. These green projects are only viable because of multi-million-dollar subsidies supporting a few hundred wealthy landowners and a handful of energy companies. By opposing wind farms, a growing number of neighborhoods and communities are protecting both their local environments and their purses from blind exploitation.”
Why shouldn’t the Dukes County Fishermen’s Association just say no to hosting one of the last failed efforts in this trail of mercenary and pointless environmental destruction?
Helen Schwiesow Parker is a licensed clinical psychologist who lives in Chilmark.