Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Wind Turbines & “Green” Subsidies Under Fire

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wind farmDespite billions in taxpayer subsidies pumped into the so-called “green-energy” industry, almost 15,000 windmills — maybe more — have been left to rot across America. And while the turbines have been abandoned over a period of decades, the growing amount of “green junk” littering the American landscape is back in the headlines again this week.

Across the country, subsidized wind farms are meeting increasing resistance — and not just from taxpayers and electricity consumers forced to foot the bill. "If wind power made sense, why would it need a government subsidy in the first place?” wondered Heritage Foundation policy analyst Ben Lieberman, who deals with energy and environmental issues. “It's a bubble which bursts as soon as the government subsidies end."

It turns out that wind power is expensive and inefficient even in the best wind-farm locations in the world. And regular power plants always need to be on standby in case there is no wind, not enough wind, or even too much of it — a fairly regular occurrence.

That is why, when the tax subsidies run out, the towering metallic structures are often simply abandoned. In their wake: a scarred landscape and dead wildlife — the very same ills offered as justifications by administration officials for preventing oil exploration.

“Wind isn't the most important thing about wind turbines. It is all about the tax subsidies. The blades churn until the money runs out,” noted Charleston Daily Mail columnist Don Surber last week. “If an honest history is written about the turn of the 21st century, it will include a large, harsh chapter on how fears about global warming were overplayed for profit by corporations.”

Even environmentalists are jumping on the anti-wind power bandwagon. In California, where state mandates and subsidies have led to a boom in subsidized “green” energy projects, a San Francisco-based company just announced last week that it was halting plans to build a new wind farm. The scheme was shelved over concerns about the danger it would pose to birds.

The press is starting to ask questions, too. “As Beaufort County [North Carolina] considers the proposal of Pantego Wind Energy, LLC's to build 49 1.6MW wind turbines on 11,000 acres of land, it may be of interest to some that the trend in the industry is to abandon such projects once the tax credits expire,” noted the Beaufort Observer on November 19. The editorial urged county commissioners to attend a seminar exposing the “Big Wind” industry hosted by the John Locke Foundation next month.

Around the world, concern about wind turbines is growing as well. In the UK, the Daily Express reported on November 28 that government ministers were being urged to abandon the race to build wind farms because they can cause “life-threatening” illnesses.

“The health impacts of wind farms are serious. I have no doubt that many people have suffered serious adverse effects,” said Dr. Chris Hanning, an expert in sleep medicine. “The Japanese government implemented a four-year program of research into the health effects of wind turbine noise. Pressure should be placed on the UK governments to do likewise.”

And in Australia, conservation supporters are battling to stop the wind farms, too. Activists in the nation’s southwest rejoiced over the announcement this week that one windmill project in the area was being shelved. But there are still many battles to fight. “It really is one of the most important breeding areas, but wind turbines just don’t mix with birds unfortunately. We’ve got to keep fighting to keep the brolga,” Susan Dennis, a longtime defender of that breed of bird, told The Standard. “I don’t accept that their endangered population is acceptable collateral damage for green energy.”  

Of course, dead birds, health problems, and massive wealth destruction are not the only reasons to stop subsidizing wind farms. Other environmental concerns exist, too.

“There are many hidden truths about the world of wind turbines from the pollution and environmental damage caused in China by manufacturing bird choppers,” noted environmental blogger Tory Aardvark in a recent post about wind farms, also citing the dangerous noise produced by turbines. He added,

The symbol of Green renewable energy, our savior from the non existent problem of "Global Warming," abandoned wind farms are starting to litter the planet as globally governments cut the subsidies taxes that consumers pay for the privilege of having a very expensive power source that does not work every day for various reasons like it’s too cold or the wind speed is too high.

He called the more than 14,000 abandoned wind turbines in theas U.S. symbols of a “dying Climate Religion.”

In recent days, a wave of articles and opinion pieces highlighting the wastefulness and destructiveness of wind farms swept the worldwide web. But with so much tax money at stake for the green-power industry, which lobbies intensely for ever more money, it will be hard to end the subsidies which generated the bogus “industry” in the first place.

The Solyndra debacle, however, has created what analysts called a serious public-relations problem for subsidized “green-energy” producers of all stripes. And then there is “Climategate 2.0.” The scandal, surrounding a second batch of embarrassing e-mails from “climate scientists” leaked last week, has dealt another serious blow to the foundation of it all — United Nations-backed global-warming alarmism.  

“This whole wind energy mess just further illustrates how the American people have been played by their elected officials who bought into the ‘global warming’ hysteria that spawned the push for wind energy in the first place,” wrote Jonathan Benson for a piece in Natural News dealing with the abandoned wind turbines. “And now that the renewable energy tax subsidies are gradually coming to an end in some places, the true financial and economic viability, or lack of wind energy, is on display for the world to see.”

Analysts have said that if and when tax subsidies to wind power and other green-energy schemes are finally cut, the whole house of cards will come crashing down almost instantly. But then a new question arises: Who will clean up the mess?

Photo: AP Images

Related articles:

“Green” Jobs and Real Jobs

Environmentalists Against Windpower?

“Green” Wind Power Devastates Environment

Wind Power II: The Wind-farm Eruption

Wind Power: An Ill Wind Blowing

Danish Wind Power Overblown

Blown Away: Wind Energy Analyzed

Climategate 2: More E-mails Leaked Ahead of UN Summit

Solyndra Falls After Acquiring Over $500 Million in Federal Loans

Solyndra’s Bankruptcy and the Failure of 19th-century Steam Subsidies

Solyndra Just the Tip of the Iceberg

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