The wind-power farce

Posted by: Phineas on July 3, 2011 at 1:01 pm

**Posted by Phineas

Maybe “scam” would be a better word for something that is pushed as a “green solution” to anthropogenic global warming (1) , yet doesn’t do what it promises to do, but what it does do is done at tremendous public cost, all while making the alleged problem worse. In the UK, wind farms have become the government’s centerpiece for fighting climate change (2). Christopher Booker, writing about this policy in the Telegraph, explains why wind power is a chimera worthy of Don Quixote tilting at windmills:

Centrica and other energy companies last week told [the Department of Energy and Climate Change] that, if Britain is to spend £100 billion on building thousands of wind turbines, it will require the building of 17 new gas-fired power stations simply to provide back-up for all those times when the wind drops and the windmills produce even less power than usual.

We will thus be landed in the ludicrous position of having to spend an additional £10 billion on those 17 dedicated power stations, which will be kept running on “spinning reserve”, 24 hours a day, just to make up for the fundamental problem of wind turbines. This is that their power continually fluctuates anywhere between full capacity to zero (where it often stood last winter, when national electricity demand was at a peak). So unless back-up power is instantly available to match any shortfall, the lights will go out.

Two things make this even more absurd. One, as the energy companies pointed out to DECC, is that it will be amazingly costly and wildly uneconomical, since the dedicated power plants will often have to run at a low rate of efficiency, burning gas but not producing electricity. This will add billions more to our fuel bills for no practical purpose. The other absurdity, as recent detailed studies have confirmed, is that gas-fired power stations running on “spinning reserve” chuck out much more CO2 than when they are running at full efficiency – thus negating any savings in CO2 emissions supposedly achieved by the windmills themselves.

And before we laugh and point at the Brits for their folly, keep in mind that these are the very same “solutions” that the Obama administration, its eco-statist allies, and the corporations that would benefit from the required government subsidies all want to impose on us. We even have a whole government agency devoted to pimping wind power, while the administration has shown repeatedly its hostility toward developing our vast coal and oil supplies.

Rather than laugh, we should look to Britain for a warning.


(1) A problem, remember, that does not exist.

(2) Attempting to control the world’s thermostat. Someone should introduce these idiots to King Canute.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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5 Responses to “The wind-power farce”


  1. david foster says:

    From the standpoint of generation-equipment manufacturers like GE and Siemens, this is great! You get to sell both the wind turbines to generate the required power AND ALSO gas turbines which duplicate some significant % of the wind-turbine capacity. Kind of like the real-estate agent in the Ozarks who sold both sides of the same acre.

    In fairness: the comment in the linked article about “burning gas but not producing electricity” notwithstanding, the gas turbines use a LOT less gas when idling then when actually producing significant power. The real problem here is the capital cost of the equipment.

    Unless, of course, you are an equipment manufacturer, ini which case those costs are called “revenues.”

  2. Carlos says:

    Or unless you happen to be in the power elite bureaucracy, in which case it is called “statist power.”

    Environmentalism is simply a cloak to the statists grabbing power over all of us suckers too dumb to realize the only sure thing in this country any more is government power.

  3. Jiji says:

    RVers have known this for years. Windpower is totally unreliable. Solar panels are better but they do not work at night when you need them most. When there is no wind and no sun RVers either run a generator or plug into the grid. (Shorepower).

    C’mon peeps. Just say no to the Prince of Fools in the White House.

  4. captaingrumpy says:

    Again,Australia will take four years longer than any other country to work this out.The Dumb broad in the lodge talks slower than a Queenslander.
    And her brain is in sync.

  5. John A says:

    Solar Farm

    At less than two years after installation, this is what a [government] Solar Array Power “Farm” looks like. On a clear spring/summer day, not mid-winter.

    The article makes a big deal about this being in “East” Germany. The East German power plants were largely shut down within a year of reunification, not all THAT recent. Being in “East” Germany is because te national government needed to get more power there – and chose “clean” Solar Power.