Wind farms: the monuments to lunacy that will be left to blot the landscape These pointless monstrosities will continue to proliferate until the Government sees sense … [It] is fast becoming a full-scale disaster bearing down on Britain. – UK Telegraph/ Christopher Booker blog
Dominant Social Theme: Wind and solar power are good indeed. They are kind to the environment and provide plenteous sources of cheap energy.
Free-Market Analysis: This blog-article by Christopher Booker brings up fundamental points about the dysfunction of wind power in Britain. But one could make the case that the same problems affect mainland Europe and the US as well.
We try to track elite memes, and it seems to us that – as we have long anticipated – time may be running out for the latest alternative energy movement. There are several turning points we think we are witnessing.
When the latest green mania subsides, the alternative energy movement will be seen for the nonsensical fad it is. During the 1970s, billions were wasted on ludicrous energy schemes that had no chance of working out. The first decade of the 2000s has in many ways been a repetition of the 1970s, with the same dominant social themes of "sustainable energy" being promoted by the elites – with the same eventual problems and dysfunction.
We recently wrote about an FBI raid on the solar-power company Solyndra, which received $535 million in federal loans under a green energy program promoted by President Barack Obama. The Obama administration's fingerprints are all over Solyndra, which was apparently supposed to be a showcase for solar power. Instead, it is broke. Solyndra may mark a turning point for solar power in the US.
Now comes this article in the Telegraph about wind power. It repeats many of the criticisms that we have read elsewhere. Wind turbines are huge, inefficient behemoths and anyone who lives near one of them is likely to be driven daft by the incessant whooshing noises when they are turned on. Here's some more from the article:
In the nine years since I began writing here about wind turbines, I have been approached by more than 100 local campaigns in every part of Britain, trying to fight the rich and powerful companies subsidy bonanza available to developers of wind farms. Having been the chairman of one such group myself, I know just how time-consuming and costly such battles can be.
Alas, despite all the practical evidence to show why wind power is one of the greatest follies of our age … We can forget any last vestiges of local democracy. Our planning system is to be rigged even more shamelessly than before, to allow pretty well every with thousands of monster pylons, themselves up to 400 feet high, marching across Scotland, Wales, Suffolk, Somerset and elsewhere to connect them to the grid.
What is the reason for such "lunacy"? According to Booker, it is the EU that is driving wind power. The EU has set a target to "generate nearly a third of our electricity from 'renewables' – six times more than now – by 2020. Obviously this is impossible, Booker writes, but the Tory government is pressing ahead anyway with an ambitious building project that will entail the building of literally thousands of inefficient and colossal wind turbines.
Booker points out that the continued focus in Britain on "green" energy is actually going to shove more British households into "fuel poverty." The investment directed toward wind turbines is made at the expense of replacing various coal-fired and nuclear power stations that now produce some 40 percent of British power.
Unfortunately, British subsidies have made building wind farms a good deal more attractive financially than building practical energy plants that are needed. Eventually, the subsidies shall be abandoned as it becomes clear that wind power is not the key to future energy needs.
This will leave, Booker writes, "vast areas of steel and concrete, which it will be no one's responsibility to cart away … Alas, by that time the companies will all have gone bankrupt, and we shall be left with a hideous legacy as a monument to one of the greatest lunacies of our time."
Whatever points Booker has made about Britain can no doubt be made regarding America as well. There are plenty of stories already in the American press about the annoyance of living close to one of these gargantuan turbines – the endless whooshing and hissing that permeates one's daily life and makes even the most mundane activities intolerable.
Wind turbines are an inefficient blight. It takes up to a 1,000 tons of concrete to anchor one, and the actual output is spotty at best because wind is not constant. Coal-fired plants must be kept online to compensate for wind outages. In addition to being a blight on the environment, wind turbines kill birds.
Not only that, but when turbines ARE generating power, they are often generating too much, and current transmission grids have no way of storing the excess power. Transmission lines are extraordinarily expensive.
Once again, governments have distorted the Invisible Hand of the market by subsidizing wind power. Booker is likely correct. The end result of this latest green mania will be thousands of useless, titanic turbines dotting hitherto pristine areas – areas that were environmentally sound until tens of thousands of tons of concrete were injected into the region to support the erection of inefficient, bird-killing devices. Unless the subsidies that support these turbines are repealed, this is doubtless the outcome from this latest outbreak of green lunacy.