Thousands of Monuments to the Fiscal Non-Feasibility of Wind Power (Even Offshore)

In an American Thinker article in February, Andrew Walden points to a startling and very unpublicized fact about wind power.

In the best wind spots on earth, over 14,000 turbines were simply abandoned. Spinning, post-industrial junk which generates nothing but bird kills.

Now, some of the older ones would have been discarded for newer technology. But many were abandoned because the tax credits had run out and, along with then, the wherewithal to pay for maintenance. See, if wind power were truly profitable and fiscally self-sustaining, those windmills could be maintained and continue to operate from the revenue that they generated. But when the revenue is limited to tax credits or other government mandate, the project is going to last exactly as long as the artificial subsidies.
That hasn’t stopped wind farm developers, however. Far from it.

… a new batch of colonists, having looted the taxpayers of Spain, Portugal, and Greece, seeks to expand upon their multi-billion-dollar foothold half a world away on the shores of the distant Potomac River. European wind developers are fleeing the EU’s expiring wind subsidies, shuttering factories, laying off workers, and leaving billions of Euros of sovereign debt and a continent-wide financial crisis in their wake. But their game is not over. Already they are tapping a new vein of lucre from the taxpayers and ratepayers of the United States.

And Rhode Island. In fact, the names of the developers may have changed but the actual selling points have moved seamlessly across the Atlantic and up Narragansett Bay. As I researched this topic, the arguments being made to sell offshore wind farms in Europe – local jobs and an industry based upon clean, indigenous energy which would “establish Europe as world leader in offshore wind power technology” – sounded strangely familiar to those which have been made here in Rhode Island in recent weeks.
Proponents of offshore wind generation are attempting to distinguish it from ordinary on-land sites on the basis that the wind offshore is stronger and relatively more reliable. Unfortunately, offshore wind power suffers from exactly the same flaw as onshore: it simply doesn’t work without either tax credits (i.e., a taxpayer funded handout) or a government mandate that compels consumers to pay an artificially high rate for the electricity generated.
Here’s the bottom line on this issue: we’re allowed to say “no!’ to an energy source because of its high price. If the bill pending on Smith Hill passes, Rhode Islanders would be locked into paying unnecessarily higher electric prices and, worse, Rhode Island would exacerbate its already abysmal business climate by needlessly adding to the cost of doing business – especially for what is left of a manufacturing industry – in the state, all for some non-substantiated, feel-good reasons. (Want to bolster the state’s economy? Create the business climate to draw industries that do not require tax subsidies or government mandates to survive. Want energy independence from foreign baddies? Drill near-shore and on land within the United States. Want to talk about global warming? Wake me when they’ve made a case that doesn’t involve manipulated data, flawed computer models and a spokesman that has just purchased yet another property near an allegedly rising ocean.)
Walden’s conclusion is pertinent both to Congress and to the RI General Assembly:

… the wind-subsidy proposals being floated in Congress suggest that American political leaders have yet to understand that “green power” means generating electricity by burning dollars.

abandoned_wind_farm_hawaii.jpg

Photo by Gary Arndt at Everything Everywhere.

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Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

Can’t find it now, but I think it was the Boston Herald. today or yesterday. Wind farms are losing their shine as it turns out consumers/taxpayers are going to pay 4 times the rate for normal generation.

tommy cranston
tommy cranston
11 years ago

Cervantes warned against tilting to windmills 5 hundred years ago.
Then there’s solar panels which have been around almost a century and are proven FAILURES.
Yesterday morning the author, and self described “liberal” of a new book called “Power Hungry: The Myths of Green Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future” was on CSPAN.
You can see the podcast of his speech here:
http://www.booktv.org/Program/11505/Power+Hungry+The+Myths+of+Green+Energy+and+the+Real+Fuels+of+the+Future.aspx

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

It is a fresh surprise to me every single time I advocate for nuclear power on RIFuture how vehemently the progressives there push back against the idea. Nuclear power – the cleanest and most efficient power source known to man. Nothing else even comes close, and they rail against it because of their concern about accidents, which haven’t been a realistic concern for at least 20-30 years. Or their concern about waste, so little of which is actually produced as to make it a trivial logistical issue. They cite lunatic fringe unscientific organizations like GreenPeace as authorities to make their case against the one technology that could buy us an entire century or more to advance enough technologically to save the planet. Instead they advocate for 16th century windmill technologies and horribly inefficient and expensive solar panels, which happen to have to be massively subsidized by government at every level. It’s insanity.

Ken
Ken
11 years ago

Monique, I take exception to the innuendos and blatant misuse of a Hawaii wind farm photo by Gary Arndt and article by Andrew Walden who you gleefully quote to misconstrue information. What really ticks people off living and residing in Hawaii are you mainlanders coming into the state with no knowledge of what is happening locally and going back to the mainland spreading inaccurate and misleading information. What you need to do is tell the whole story not just snippets to fit your political agenda! The Kamaoa Wind Farm had out lived its life span of nearly 20 years of 24/7 daily operation! Components of the Kamaoa wind farm are slowly being dismantled due to old technology that is not compatible with new technology. Just like the world’s largest wind turbine ever constructed and operated on the island of Oahu has been dismantled due to old parts and technology. In 1987 the Kamaoa Wind Farm began operation with thirty-seven Mitsubishi 250 kW wind turbines with an operationally typical total peak output of 7.5 MW. By 2006 the turbines were falling into disrepair, and they were finally shut down on August 15, 2006. At the end of August 2006, some 16 days later, components for a new set of wind turbines were transported to South Point. The Pakini Nui project consists of 14 General Electric wind turbines constructed at, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the old Kamaoa wind farm. Completed in April 2007, Pakini Nui supplies up to 20.5 MW of power to the island electricity grid of Hawaiian Electric Industries (37 wind turbines to 14 wind turbines doubling plus MW output). The wind farm is operated by Tawhiri Power, LLC. It is the southern-most wind farm in the United States. “No” and let me state this once again “NO”… Read more »

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

Ken, I have a few questions:
Do you consider 19 years to be an acceptable project lifespan?
What was “incompatible” about the electricity that was being produced by the windfarm? Isn’t all electricity compatible?
When you say continuous usage, are you excluding times when wind is either too low or too high for windmill operation?
You must be thrilled that, for once, out of hundreds of instances, your incessant numerical-based ramblings about the islands of Hawaii are semi-relevant to the discussion.

Warrington Faust
Warrington Faust
11 years ago

Let’s not be too hard on Ken. But, Ken should realize that he lives in a unique portion of the U.S. The rest of us do not have that kind of continuous wind. I wonder why they have not “delved” into geothermal? They seem to have a lot of that

Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

Yep, windmills are not viable. They only made the Dutch be able to take over the entire world many hundreds of years ago. They don’t work.
And those horseless carriages? They will never take over – heck, they constantly break down and get bogged in the mud.
Fly? Man will never fly. It’s impossible!
Computers? The head of IBM said that only 6 to 10 computers would EVER be needed in the entire world. Bill Gates said no computer user would ever need more than 640K of RAM…
Really, you folks are pretty funny! I am finally getting the true meaning of conservative – learned it from a book I am now reading.
Conservatives are/were the folks who supported slavery. Now there is an energy form that you all can probably really get behind – after all, it is not only economically viable, but extremely profitable! What a payback!
I will say that modern conservatives have moved from being anti-democratic Slave holders to being anti-Democratic (anti-republican) Corporation lovers and environment haters.
Now go back to watching that oil wash up and tell us more Drill Baby Drill. Palin/LizCheney for Prez in 2012. Sick pups.

Ken
Ken
11 years ago

Dan, You said; “You must be thrilled that, for once, out of hundreds of instances, your incessant numerical-based ramblings about the islands of Hawaii are semi-relevant to the discussion.” What I am saying to Monique is if you are going to use Hawaii as a model of failure (even if Andrew Walden is Editor of Hawaii Free Press on the Big Island of Hawaii) you better make sure you check your resources for correct presentation of information or include all information not just clip and paste sections to adhere to individual political views or to support your ideas. It took me less than 5 min to find the proper story plus I have been to South Point, photographed site over many years (back to the 1990s) and what Monique and Andrew Walden were saying just did not click with my personal first-hand viewing and information. If you have never been to South Point (Ka Lae) the southernmost point in the United States. There is a constant 27 knots per hour wind blowing east to west, 24 hours per day and 365 days per year. The trees there grow bent over by the winds. This is not including the salt spray from the Pacific Ocean. South Point (Ka Lae) is a very harsh environment! Yes for this particular location it is an evolving technology I accept 19-20 years as an acceptable project lifespan. There are a lot of natural elements that come into play! I worked in research and design lifecycle engineering for an electro-mechanical company located in Rhode Island working with Underwriters Laboratories guidelines for many years. Dan you are misconstruing when you say; “What was “incompatible” about the electricity that was being produced by the windfarm? Isn’t all electricity compatible?” The wind turbines were failing due to breakdowns and… Read more »

Ken
Ken
11 years ago

Dan. You are a very big and vocal proponent of nuclear power which does have its place in the energy power nation-wide and military application resources. Nuclear power has its risks and disposal of expended fuels which over time will and should get better. I am not against nuclear power (I have worked with it; medical. military and commercial) just as with everything, we have a lot more to learn about the technology, safeguards and disposal of materials. Under the present schedule State of Hawaii within the next 3 ½ years will have a “first in world” Ocean Thermo Energy Conversion (OTEC) 10 MW fully operational commercial power plant upgraded to a 100 MW commercial power plant operating at 98% efficiency supplemented by solar and wind technology to bring it to 100% self sufficiency utilizing only ocean water temperature differential as a fuel source. OTEC has already been tested in incremental steps up to the commercial production level and proven viable in the State of Hawaii. Funding, design, location, utility purchase agreements and location have already been secured. Also a 550 MW low sulfur diesel electric power plant is currently under conversion to become the “first in nation” self sufficient algae to biodiesel power plant through the efforts and investments of 3 private companies and 1 utility. Algae will be grown next to the power plant utilizing excess CO2 piped into the algae growing process. Algae will be processed into biodiesel and piped into storage tanks at the power generating plant where it will eventually power the generators creating CO2 fed back to algae farm to enhance rapid growth. Design verification testing has been accomplished and proof of concept has been up to the commercial grade level. Funding, design, location, utility purchase agreements and location have already been secured. In… Read more »

tommy cranston
tommy cranston
11 years ago

“State of Hawaii will reduce its dependence on imported oil by 70% by year 2030.”
Ah yes Ken as in all things (such as the highest sales tax in America and the highest housing costs) Hawaii leads the way to progressive Nirvana.
Oh, Ken-kindly tell us how much a gallon of gas costs at your local gas station in Honolulu.
Ken? Ken?
Are you still there?
LOL

tommy cranston
tommy cranston
11 years ago

It’s insanity.
Posted by Dan at June 6, 2010 9:17 PM
If you look up insanity in a thesarus the first synonym listed should be “progressive”.
The same creatures who brought us Robespierre, Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Castro, Mao and Pol Pot “solve” asll the problems and create the “better world”.
Such snakes. Franco had the right cure for progressives.

Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

>>ranco had the right cure for progressives
Nice Heros, fellas……
Franco: a Spanish military general and dictator, head of state of Spain.
Yep, you said it nice and clear – dictators are who you look up to. I already knew this to be true, but it’s nice to get the naked truth.
I am unabashedly a liberal, a progressive and a social democrat. I embraced advancement – not the “conservative” ideas of people not being equal, etc. etc.
However, modern conservatives seem to always step around who they actually are. In some cases they have an excuse..they don’t actually know history nor where they stand. This is the case with folks that listen to talk radio, etc.
However, there is a large percentage of them who do know what they want – largely a return to the pre-civil right era and a war mongering dictatorship which enriches the corporations and the top 1% or so, at the expense of everyone else.
One wonders how a human being can subscribe to such things. Luckily for our republic, very few do. However, those who suffer such fools or are not able to understand what they really propose…..are a bit more worrisome.

Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

I guess you are right, tommy!
Republicans toast this Dictator….and murderer.
“American President Richard Nixon toasted Franco”
And just so folks know the Rights hero:
“Franco maintained his control in Spain through the implementation of severe measures: the systematic suppression of dissident views through censorship and coercion, the imprisonment of ideological enemies in concentration camps throughout the country , the implementation of forced labor in prisons,and the use of the death penalty and heavy prison sentences as deterrents for his ideological enemies.”
I wasn’t aware that Americans or our Presidents were toasting Pol Pot, but if you can find the examples, we’d love to see them.

chuckR
chuckR
11 years ago

I am not against nuclear power (I have worked with it; medical. military and commercial) just as with everything, we have a lot more to learn about the technology, safeguards and disposal of materials. Some nuclear power plants have been in operation for twice the 20 year economic life of wind turbines. Originally, plants were all custom and had to each go through permitting, licensing and design reviews. Now, standardized modular plants will not subjected to that same individual plant gauntlet every time – a single thorough review and that’s it. Kind of like what happens with your Chevy or Toyota. A single standardized module may produce from 100 to 150 MW and do so for decades longer than an entire similarly sized wind turbine farm. We’ve had almost six decades to study it and a half that period was a US build moratorium during which the focus was on safety and foolproofing. Ken, you are much closer to China than I am. Here are your choices – you can wish they build coal plants (burning their low grade coal) or you can wish they build nukes. You’ll breath the output of the former, including lots of radiation that naturally occurs in coal. You could wish that they just stay poor and not enjoy the benefits we take for granted – benefits that come from plentiful power. That would be both silly and elitist. Hawaii, like Denmark, is a special case. Denmark had to reduce dependency on imported oil, but after Chernobyl, banned all nukes. Why not just ban Russian RBMK designs? Hawaii has an ideal sounding wind power site and also has very high oil ‘import’ costs, regardless of where the oil is imported from. If they want to invest the effort in pilot farms – that’s all 200MW… Read more »

Ken
Ken
11 years ago

tommy Cranston, “State of Hawaii will reduce its dependence on imported oil by 70% by year 2030.” Yes Tommy that statement made by Governor Linda Lingle (R) and many more made by Mayors and Hawaii Electric company is becoming a reality without a lot of government tax incentives but fueled by private investors. Contrary to what you imply as the highest sales tax in America Hawaii general excise tax is only 4% compared to Rhode Island at 7%. As a matter of fact tourist taxes in Honolulu (hotel room, meals and rental car) are $5 cheaper per day total than in Rhode Island. Yes Hawaii has the highest average housing costs in the nation. We won that title back from California this year which means the recession did not affect Hawaii housing market like it did on the mainland. Hawaii’s housing prices stayed pretty stable giving us home owners’ top dollar for our homes. Average single family house $600,000 and average condominium $400,000. I live on what is considered the poor side of the island where houses only sell for up to $10.5 million. Highest price on the other side was $58 million last year. I paid cash for my 2 bedroom condominium in a 27 acre gated/guarded complex with all amenities plus living room beach/sunset views and 300ft-400ft waterfalls views from bedroom windows located in between two 18-hole championship golf courses walking distance to clubhouses from house on a private road. City and County of Honolulu just lower my property tax to $100/year due to my age and owner occupied property tax exemptions. Right now regular gasoline is $3.14/gal but my bank give out free $0.10 off/gal discount cards every year so I am paying $3.04/gal. I only spend about $60 a month on gasoline for all my driving.… Read more »

Ken
Ken
11 years ago

ChuckR It takes 6 ½ hours to fly from the mainland to Honolulu, HI flying west southwest and 5 ½ hours to fly from Honolulu, HI to the mainland flying east northeast. The wind in Hawaii blows east to west and winds north of Hawaii blow west to east. We in Hawaii are not worried about China as they are where the winds blow west to east towards the mainland. We always know when a storm is going to hit the mainland because we get large waves on our north shore especially during our winter season (more rain and temps down to 60 degrees). You are 100% correct in the advances that have been made in construction of nuclear power plants and standardized modules. The wind farms being developed in Hawaii are all private developments and located on land. The two 200 MW farms are primary alternate energy providers for Honolulu on Oahu. The State of Hawaii will lay an undersea cable to the two other islands where each wind farm is located. The Ocean Thermo Energy Conversion (OTEC) power plant slated for Oahu has great potential when it is finally ramped up to 100 MW. HPower is the Honolulu trash to power plant. It currently burns 600,000 tons a year producing 45 MW. A third steam generator will be added increasing tonnage to 750,000 tons a year. About 500 acres have been saved from landfill. The algae to biofuel self sustainable 550 MW project in Maui has a lot of promise and the geothermal power plant on the Big island of Hawaii is expanding to bring greater capacity on line as well as the construction of a hydrogen power park and piping for a hydrogen highway circling the whole island. Like I indicated earlier, Hawaii has been singled out… Read more »

tommy cranston
tommy cranston
11 years ago

Ken-even you can’t spin the fact that Hawaii’s all inclusive hidden VAT (4.5% not the 4% you claim), which applies to everything including food and every type of service, is “the highest in America” per the Tax Foundation.
Great place to live-if you’re already rich when you move there. Terrible place if you actually have to find a job in the private sector and a downright nightmare if you have a white kid you are forced to send to the violently racist public schools.
Tell them about Kill Haole Day Ken!
I dare ya.

Ken
Ken
11 years ago

tommy cranston, You know, I and a lot of Anchor Rising readers and contributors will tell you we went through this last year with another unknowledgeable misconstruing information individual. The .05% tacked on in City and County of Honolulu “ONLY” is to pay for the $5.2 billion 20 mile high-speed light rail transit project. This vat ends in 2025. Hawaii unlike RI pays up front for its projects and does not try to get full federal funding. That’s why Hawaii has a balanced budget (which is done for two years not like RI which does it for one year). As for the general excise tax (Hawaii does not have a sales tax), it is applied to everything except prescription drugs. That way no one or business is shown preferential treatment which can be misconstrued as political corruption. It is touted as one of the nation’s simplest taxes! $20,000 spent on all the other islands at 4% equals $800. $20,000 spent in Honolulu County at 4.5% equals $900. $20,000 spent in Rhode Island at 7% equals $1,400. Who is higher? What the Tax Foundation did not factor in is the fact that on average (hard daily count figures from state entry forms) 70,000 tourists a day arrives in Waikiki Beach spending at least $100 a day: 70,000 X 365 X $100 X 4.5% equals $11,497,500.00 a year in extra general excise tax purchases not made by residents. I am not including all the visitors that arrive going to the other islands or other parts of Oahu which would put the number over 100,000 a day. Rhode Island can only wish for tourist numbers like that! Hawaii is a great place to live! It has one of the highest populations of retirees and you need not be rich to live here. You… Read more »

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

tl;dr (too long; didn’t read)

OldTimeLefty
11 years ago

Hi Monique,
Is the BP oil spill in the Gulf a “questionably significant side effect of fossil fuel”?
How exactly would you categorize it?
OldTimeLefty

OldTimeLefty
11 years ago

Tommy Cranston,
You should try reading Cervantes before you begin interpreting him.
“What giants”, says Sancho as Don Quixote goes charging off to do battle with a quite harmless imaginary enemy. He thrusts his lance where it doesn’t belong and is severely bruised in a needless fight.
Sounds like you to me.
OldTimeLefty

Tommy Cranston
Tommy Cranston
11 years ago

There is no such thing as “Kill Haole Day” in the public or private schools in Hawaii!
Really Ken you have truly exposed yourself as a psychotic sack of **** with your latest rambling.
We do have google ya know:
“In Hawaiʻi’s schools, the last day of school before summer is known as Kill Haole Day. On Kill Haole Day, school children of Hawaiian ancestry allegedly harass and sometimes assault white children. The origins of the day are unknown, but the tradition dates back to the 1950s.”
“In current application, Haole can be used either descriptively or as a racial slur (often, if not generally, preceded by an obscene invective).”
“in 1999, it became an issue for hate crimes legislation”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_Haole_Day

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