Outrun Change

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More economic and environmental fails from wind energy

Still about 4 or 5 miles away from the turbines. Many of the towers are visible from highway 2. Photo of wind turbines north of Tioga, N.D. by James Ulvog

The bad news from slicer-and-dicers just keeps rolling in.

  • Article describes lack of CO2 benefit while running up cost of electricity in Minnesota
  • Description of environmental cost of building a wind tower

10/15/17 – Powerline – “Green” Energy Fails Every Test – Minnesota is touted as a model of green energy. With around $15 billion poured into wind power, the state is a good example of the damage from green.

More wind is produced in spring and fall, which does not correlate to when more electricity is needed, which is summer and winter.

So how has that $15,000,000,000 dumped into bird chopping turbines turned out?

CO2 emissions from the state, according to a new study, have only declined slightly. The drop during 2 years was due to an accident that took a coal plant off-line. Other than that, the drop is CO2 has been minor; nothing like what was supposed to happen with all that wind power.

Main reason is wind is very unreliable. When those slice-and-dicers aren’t producing, the energy comes from backup coal plants. So when there is little wind and high demand in the summer and winter, where does the extra electricity come from?


When the wind slows a bit in spring and fall, what power source picks up the slack?


Article cites the research paper as saying the slight reduction in CO2 in the state is less than the reduction across the US. So basically, all that wind power has been a fail in terms of the self-defined goal of reducing CO2.

What impact is there on cost?

It used to be that Minnesotans paid by 6 cents a kWh compared to about 7.5 cents for the national average. There used to be an 18% break in electricity in the state compared to the average across the county.


The savings for state residents have disappeared. Check out the graph in Figure 1. That savings has vaporized in the last 5 or 6 years, to the point that now in 2017 electricity in Minnesota  costs slightly more than the U.S. average.

Graph shows the average price in the US went from around 7.5c/kWh in 2001 to about 10 cents in 2016.  In Minnesota the rise was from about 6 cents in 2001 to about 10 cents in 2016. That is somewhere around a 66% jump in 15 years.


Wind power is expensive.

Oh, and don’t forget the visual pollution of thousands of acres of land scarred by 400 foot towers, which are visible for a dozen or more miles in every direction.

Good job. More expensive with minimal impact on CO2.

Photo of wind turbines north of Tioga, N.D. by James Ulvog. Notice the further away turbine dwarfs the nearer pumpjack.

Oh, and don’t forget the environment harm from installing all those turbines

9/5/17 – Instapundit – A commenter at this post gives a description of a wind turbine and the massive amount of carbon needed to create the alleged zero carbon output. Consider the carbon the commenter outlines which is needed to:

  • Trench, grade the site, and build extra roads to get to site.
  • Dig hole in ground 40’ by 40’ by 30’ feet for the foundation, with said digging completed by diesel-powered heavy equipment.
  • Fill said hole with concrete and steel. That would be 48,000 cubic feet, or 1,777 cubic yards.
  • Mine the sand and aggregate for that much concrete.
  • Transport concrete to site.
  • Manufacture generator at top which uses 5 tons of copper. It holds between 50 and 100 gallons of lubricant; imagine how far the eventually-leaking lub will be spread. I’ll guess the future contamination will probably be downwind of the typical wind direction and not likely to be spread 360 degrees from every turbine.
  • Drill for the massive amounts of oil needed for the fiberglass in each of the blades.
  • Refine said oil.
  • Fabricate a tower which contains around 80 tons of steel. How much ore is mined and transported to produce 80 tons of steel? How much coal is burned to make that much steel? How much diesel fuel to transport all the sections to remote rural areas?

It will take heavy subsidies for the tower to even be feasible. And all that carbon output for a wind turbine that will only operate between 17% and 24% of the time.

Notice the stairs going into the base of the tower and the size of the door? That gives you an idea of size of these monstrosities. Photo of wind turbines north of Tioga, N.D. by James Ulvog.

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