It is now widely recognised that wind turbines are inefficient, costly, environmentally unfriendly, and harmful to humans and other animals. For those who do not particularly care about these things, but are concerned about their personal finances, they are also very hard on the consumer’s pocket, as it is the consumer that is subsidising an industry whose very business model spells financial loss.
Let’s break that down.
“Here’s a quiz; no conferring. To the nearest whole number, what percentage of the world’s energy consumption was supplied by wind power in 2014, the last year for which there are reliable figures? Was it 20 per cent, 10 per cent or 5 per cent? None of the above: it was 0 per cent. That is to say, to the nearest whole number, there is still no wind power on Earth.
Even put together, wind and photovoltaic solar are supplying less than 1 per cent of global energy demand. From the International Energy Agency’s 2016 Key Renewables Trends, we can see that wind provided 0.46 per cent of global energy consumption in 2014, and solar and tide combined provided 0.35 per cent. Remember this is total energy, not just electricity, which is less than a fifth of all final energy, the rest being the solid, gaseous, and liquid fuels that do the heavy lifting for heat, transport and industry.”
(The Spectator, 13/05/2017).
“I worked on advanced wind turbine projects in the 1990’s developing variable speed generators to improve electronic efficiency and utilizing improved airfoil design for capturing energy from lower wind velocity.
The true answer is clouded by several factors. Federal and local tax incentive subsidies obscure the real cost. Maintenance is an expensive consideration that often is not considered in operating expenses. Interest paid on financing projects must also be included. Wind turbines, especially large units, are complex structures that require significant investment to build and operate. They are prone to failures and costly to repair. Downtime for routine servicing and inspections produces no electricity and winds are not always reliable consistent.
Turbine assemblies have a useful lifespan of about twenty years as mechanical and electrical components wear out over time and ordinary use, even under the best operating conditions.
The “carbon footprint” of wind turbines, figuring the manufacturing process and all the materials and manpower, transportation, other infrastructure, such as transmission wiring from remote locations, and site preparations involved in erecting and commissioning the units adds up to a real number that is seldom mentioned. Typical large units can be as tall as 400 feet and weigh up to 300 tons.
The actual pay-back of this “green technology” in terms of replacing fossil fuels and overall environmental benefit, including monetary outlay, is probably in decades rather than years.”
(John Rowen, former Aerospace Engineering Specialist/Technician at General Electric (1980-1995) -20/03/2016).
“As for resource consumption and environmental impacts, the direct effects of wind turbines — killing birds and bats, sinking concrete foundations deep into wild lands — is bad enough. But out of sight and out of mind is the dirty pollution generated in Inner Mongolia by the mining of rare-earth metals for the magnets in the turbines. This generates toxic and radioactive waste on an epic scale, which is why the phrase ‘clean energy’ is such a sick joke and ministers should be ashamed every time it passes their lips.
It gets worse. Wind turbines, apart from the fibreglass blades, are made mostly of steel, with concrete bases. They need about 200 times as much material per unit of capacity as a modern combined cycle gas turbine. Steel is made with coal, not just to provide the heat for smelting ore, but to supply the carbon in the alloy. Cement is also often made using coal. The machinery of ‘clean’ renewables is the output of the fossil fuel economy, and largely the coal economy.
A two-megawatt wind turbine weighs about 250 tonnes, including the tower, nacelle, rotor and blades. Globally, it takes about half a tonne of coal to make a tonne of steel. Add another 25 tonnes of coal for making the cement and you’re talking 150 tonnes of coal per turbine. Now if we are to build 350,000 wind turbines a year (or a smaller number of bigger ones), just to keep up with increasing energy demand, that will require 50 million tonnes of coal a year. That’s about half the EU’s hard coal–mining output.”
(The Spectator, 13/05/2017).
Harmful to man and beast:
“Health studies into the effect of wind turbines on those living in their vicinity must be explored to prevent potential health problems, a conference on public health heard yesterday.
Alun Evans, Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology in Queens University, Belfast was speaking at the 2014 Summer Scientific Meeting at the Royal College of Physicians the second day of which was held in Dublin yesterday.
He said it was “quite possible” if the Dublin array, a proposed €2 billion project which would see 145 wind turbines constructed 10km off the east coast, goes ahead that up to two million people could be exposed to infrasound, a “sizeable minority” of who could potentially experience sleep disturbance.
Prof Evans said there was “clear evidence” that, as the size of wind turbines had increased, so has the infrasound and low frequency sounds generated by them and that they were now emitting “serious amounts of noise”.
“When you measure them with the correct filters you find they are producing noise levels which are far above what’s supposed to be permitted,” he said.
He said while many people are not affected, that others could experience sleep disturbance, adding this in turn leads to increased blood pressure which he said is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.”
(Irish Times, 23/05/2014)
“Cellular Mechanotransduction is the mechanism by which cells convert mechanical signals into biochemical responses. Based on the mechanical effects on cells it was proposed in this research project that the ground vibrations were responsible for a increased bone growth which was not accompanied by the muscle-tendon unit growth leading to the development of these flexural deformities.”
(The Lusitano Project, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Lisbon, 2013).
Affecting your pocket:
Germany, once the European leader in the production and subsidising of wind farms, is rapidly abandoning this position, as the German public is now in open revolt, both over the physical impact of the monster turbines, and the ever increasing cost of electricity as a result of ever increasing subsidies.
“Several thousand wind turbines in Germany are likely to be closed down in the next decade because they will no longer receive any subsidies. “If electricity prices do not rise over the next decade, only a few plants will survive on the market without subsidies,” says an analysis by the Berlin-based consulting firm Energy Brainpool. This assessment is shared by most professionals. “In any case, by 2020, the shutdown of existing facilities is to be expected to a greater or lesser extent,” an article by several economists of the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig concludes. “
(Translated from the German. ‘Ende der Förderung: Alte Windräder müssen bald vom Netz’; zdf.de-31/10/2017).
I have deliberately sought older citations to show that this information has been in the public domain for a long time. In other words, the Irish government is well aware of this information – it is freely available. Whilst other European governments: Germany, Finland and Sweden in particular (I mention these three as they were at the vanguard of European wind farm building a decade ago) have dramatically reduced and even reversed their wind farm building, the Irish government continues to fully support the building of more windfarms, as evidenced by the slew of planning applications across the country.
This head-in-the-sand mentality is either as a result of stupidity, or corruption. In other words, our rulers are either acting on false or no information; or payments have been made, promises must be kept, and directorships for retired ministers are still the name of the game. You decide.
The Committee of Public Accounts (PAC) is “a standing committee of Dáil Éireann which focuses on ensuring public services are run efficiently and achieve value for money.” (https://www.oireachtas.ie; accessed 15/08/2019). Perhaps the PAC should investigate the subsidy scam?