Wind Farm Promotion Produces More Hot Air Than Energy

Don Quixote by Angelo Agostini

I’m all for clean energy. Who wouldn’t want a cleaner form of energy to power our cars, homes and businesses, so long as the cost and efficiency of that power source was comparable to the coal and oil sources we use for mot of our power today?

The problem is, no such power source exists, and no amount of liberal fantasy or wishful thinking is going to change that (though some yet-unseen free-market innovation might someday).

So while solar power and wind farms are neat, they don’t do a whole lot to meet the energy needs of our 21st Century nation.

The British Scotsman points out that wind power is very unreliable:

Turbines are expected to operate at an average output of about 30 per cent of their maximum installed capacity.

But the average output over five months this year was 17 per cent – just over half the expected average.

There have been long spells when virtually no electricity has been produced by any of the country’s wind farms.

How bad has it been?

for almost a third of the time they were operating at less than 5 per cent of their maximum output, meaning they were virtually becalmed.
Only nine times between February and June had the wind farms achieved 30 per cent efficiency for a full day at a time. There were long stretches, such as from 16 to 29 May, 9 to 15 April and 6 to 23 February when they failed to reach 30 per cent output.

I lived in England for three years, and the only place I’ve seen more windy than that is South Dakota. I don’t think Scotland is considerably less windy than England.

The United States government has thrown more than $2 billion of the taxpayer’s money into windmills to prop up an energy source that costs more than conventional ones and produces less. That’s not smart.

If the technology can be produced cheaply and efficiently enough to be competitive with coal and oil, fine.  But for the foreseeable future, we will always need lots of coal and oil energy because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine.

So let’s stop pretending that some nonexistent energy crisis or environmentalist hoax leaves us no choice but to charge windmills.

HT: National Center for Policy Analysis

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