Seems like all the Democrats want to build a wind farm. “It’s renewable energy!” is the mantra. They’re able to feel really good about turning their lights on because they’re not using electricity that is generated by burning anything like gas, oil, or coal.
Wind is free!! Save the planet. We generate about 3.5% of our electricity with wind turbines. Some states, like California, have mandated that various percentages of total power have to come from renewable sources. In California, they want 33% of their power to come from renewables, a 10 fold increase from today.
Let’s take a look at the free part of wind power.
Wind energy proponents tout a federal study that pegged the cost of wind energy at 8.2 cents per KwH. Clean coal and nuclear are 11 cents, natural gas is 6.3 cents.
On that basis, wind could make economic sense. Except the government study left out a few things.
George Taylor and Tom Tanton at the American Tradition Institute did some analysis and have published a clear rebuttal of the government’s work.
[Taylor] explains that he started with 8.2 cents per kWh, reflecting total installation costs of $2,000 per kw of capacity. Then backed out an assumed 30-year lifespan for the turbines (optimistic), which increases the cost to 9.3 cents per kwh. Then after backing out the effect of subsidies allowing accelerated depreciation for wind investments you get 10.1 cents. Next, add the costs of keeping gas-fired plants available, but running at reduced capacity, to balance the variable performance of wind — 1.7 cents. Extra fuel for those plants adds another 0.6 cents. Finally, tack on 2.7 cents for new transmission line investments needed to get new wind power to market. The whole shebang adds up to 15 cents per kwh.
So the government’s 8.2 cents in the real world turns out to be 15 cents. Your electricity cost may go up with wind installations, but you’ll be able to pay for the higher electric cost with the $2,500 savings on your health insurance from ObamaCare. It all works out in the end.
Then there are some costs that aren’t being factored in. Like the depreciation of housing within line of sight of a wind farm.
Wind farms can reduce the value of homes within 2km by up to 12 percent, and can have a negative impact on house prices up to 14km (9 miles) away, according to new research by the London School of Economics.
The report will confirm what many people who live near large wind turbines already know – that the damage they do is not just visual but also financial.
If your house is finally getting to the point that you’re not upside down on your mortgage how would you feel about a wind plant that would double the cost of your electricity while also lower the price of your house by 10% or more? That’s progressive government for you!
And then there’s wildlife.
The greenies love to screech about the damage that will be done to wildlife by building pipelines. It turns out that nobody’s ever been able to actually document any harm to wildlife from a pipeline, and in Alaska the critters seem to like them, but let’s not let facts dissuade a good sounding talking point.
Wind farms, on the other hand, are documented butchers of wildlife.
A new study from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, combining an impressive six hundred other studies, describes the severe effects wind turbines can have on wildlife. Not only are the disturbances and noise of the building of turbines an issue but also the sound of the windmills rotating and electromagnetic fields (EMF) caused by transferring the electricity produced to the mainland.
Biologist Dr. Lynne Knuth, in a letter to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, testified: “The problems with animal reproduction reported in the wind farms in Wisconsin are lack of egg production, problems calving, spontaneous abortion (embryonic mortality), stillbirth, miscarriage and teratogenic effects:
In chickens: Crossed beaks, missing eyeballs, deformities of the skull (sunken eyes), joints of feet/legs bent at odd angles. In cattle: missing eyes and tails.”
Stack that against the hysteria from fracking, where groups like Obama’s EPA and NY Governor Cuomo’s environmental police haven’t been able to document a single problem from fracking.
Wind farms (and solar panel farms) producing electricity at double to triple the current cost while doing documented damage to real estate values and local wildlife is a good thing if you’re a progressive.
We’ll close with this gem from one of Barack Obama’s favorite people, Warren Buffett. Buffett, the guy who said rich people should pay a minimum 30% tax rate, said the following about taxes and wind energy.
“I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate,” Buffett told an audience in Omaha, Nebraska this weekend. “For example, on wind energy, 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.”