Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The answer, apparently, is not blowing in the wind

The favorite answer of AGW advocates for future energy supply is wind. Supposedly, windmills will offer bountiful, renewable and low impact energy, negating the need for any further coal-fired power stations and especially nuclear power stations (which although they have no carbon footprint are still despised by AGW zealots, because its really about climate and not anti-capitalism, anti-growth and the suppression of consumption).

So wind power has become the new environmental savior. In Britain, the situation has become so politically correct that the Industry Secretary recently announced a major government commitment to several massive wind farms. Suddenly, local planning permission that has been so restrictive in most rural areas that even the color and shape of each brick has been subject to official authorization, will either be ignored or exempted to permit massive amounts of aesthetic impacts on the British landscape.

Only, there's a few problems:
  • wind power is proving to generate power only about 20% of the time -- well below the efficiency needed to integrate power into the distribution grid
  • turbines are expensive, way more expensive than alternative sources, and
  • they are suffering from debilitating engineering deficiencies.
Consequently, no one is willing to invest their money in the industry and in wind farm construction. As with wind power the world over, the only rationale for their being is a healthy government subsidy that underwrites the economic disaster that wind power represents.

So quick review.Wind farms are ugly. They may or may not decimate bat and bird populations. They don't work up to 80% of the time and when they do, the electricity they generate is three times the cost of other sources. Yep, sustainability in action, or is that inaction.

Hopefully, common sense will prevail and the silent majority that tolerates most environmental lunacy will step up and say enough is enough and stop the madness before too many areas are despoiled. Perhaps wind farms will initiate the study of a new phenomena: eco-pollution.