You Paid For It: Inefficient, Unhealthy Wind Farms

The impact of wind farm noise and appearance on residents living nearby is sometimes under-assessed by developers, a report said

According to the United States Department of Energy, wind power is one of the most economically competitive forms of energy.  One problem: they forgot to factor in the government subsidies that finance endeavors across America.

New research from the University of Utah demonstrates this little nugget:

Among the factors wind advocates fail to acknowledge, the report shows, is the “opportunity cost” of the massive subsidies which taxpayers are forced to provide in order to persuade producers to indulge in this otherwise grotesquely inefficient and largely pointless form of power generation.

In the US this amounts to an annual $5 billion per year in Production Tax Credits (PTC).

Add that finding to one famous quote from Warren Buffett, “We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit,” and one comes to understand just how much of a boondoggle wind energy is.

And what’s more: we paid for it.  We the American taxpayers are paying subsidies to rich crony billionaires to build inefficient wind turbines all over the fruited plains, ruining the view, and killing thousands of birds and bats every year.  That is so well documented at this point that there is no denying it.  Especially when the Obama Administration has issued 30-year permits to wind power companies to be able to kill bald eagles without a fine.

But what is more maddening is that wind power is intermittent, not constant like nuclear or coal, and has to be supplemented when the wind is not blowing – frequently on the hot, humid, stagnant days in the summer when air conditioning drains the grid of power.  Even more egregious, when high winds produce too much power, the wind farmers have to pay the grid keepers to take the newly produced energy.

This phenomenon, known as “negative pricing”, is worthwhile to wind producers because they only get their subsidy credits when they are producing power (whether it is needed or not).

And we, the American taxpayer paid for it.

“In this study, we refer to the ‘true cost’ of wind as the price tag consumers and society as a whole pay both to purchase wind-generated electricity and to subsidize the wind energy industry through taxes and government debt,” said Ryan Yonk Ph.D., one of the report’s authors and a founder of Strata Policy. “After examining all of these cost factors and carefully reviewing existing cost estimates, we were able to better understand how much higher the cost is for Americans.”

The peer-reviewed report accounted for the following factors:

  • The federal Production Tax Credit (PTC), a crucial subsidy for wind producers, has distorted the energy market by artificially lowering the cost of expensive technologies and directing taxpayer money to the wind industry.
  • States have enacted Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) that require utilities to purchase electricity produced from renewable sources, which drives up the cost of electricity for consumers.
  • Because wind resources are often located far from existing transmission lines, expanding the grid is expensive, and the costs are passed on to taxpayers and consumers.
  • Conventional generators must be kept on call as backup to meet demand when wind is unable to do so, driving up the cost of electricity for consumers.

“Innovation is a wonderful thing and renewable energy is no exception. Wind power has experienced tremendous growth since the 1990’s, but it has largely been a response to generous federal subsidies,” Yonk stated.

Sounds like a case for redeveloping coal and making fracking all the rage.

Writer’s note: the original Breitbart piece where the quotes above originated includes a mention, but not an elaboration on a new Australian report regarding the health effects of wind power on humans. The report itself is on a phenomenon called “infrasound” which is low frequency sound waves that are produced by those huge spinning windmills.  This phenomenon can be weaponized.  The effects are reversible, but are very uncomfortable to live with.  For more information on infrasound, and what is happening in other parts of the world regarding wind energy and its effects, please visit my “Just Say No To “Green” Wind Turbines.  They are killing the Environment.

About the Author

Cultural Limits
A resident of Flyover Country, Cultural Limits is a rare creature in American Conservatism - committed to not just small government, Christianity and traditional social roles, but non-profits and high arts and culture. Watching politics, observing human behavior and writing are all long-time interests. In her other life, CL writes romance novels under her nom de plume, Patricia Holden (@PatriciaHoldenAuthor on Facebook), and crochets like a mad woman (designs can be found on Facebook @BohemianFlairCrochet and on Pinterest on the Bohemian Flair Crochet board). In religion, CL is Catholic; in work, the jill of all trades when it comes to fundraising software manipulation and event planning; in play, a classically trained soprano and proud citizen of Cardinal Nation, although, during hockey season, Bleeds Blue. She lives in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley with family and two cute and charming tyrants...make that toy dogs.