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Posts Tagged ‘farmers leasing land for wind turbines’

Just days after we have the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association’s Kristopher Stevens ranting against Parker Gallant in The Financial Post, claiming green energy is responsible for jobs and wealth in Ontario, we have the truth: a global picture of wind power development as a “House of Cards.” Here is the article by Steve Goreham. Executive Editor of this publication is Robert Bryce, author of Power Hungry, also one of the speakers scheduled for the conference in Picton, October 29-31.

Wind energy’s house of cards

Steve Goreham

The Energy Tribune

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently issued their 2009 Wind Energy Report. Brian Smith, chair of the IEA Wind Executive Committee, states that wind member countries “installed more than 20 gigawatts of new wind capacity” (nameplate capacity). The report was written by representatives of 20 member countries, consisting of 14 European nations, Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and the United States.

The report is very optimistic about wind energy’s prospects. Member nations report on “how they have progressed in the deployment of wind energy, how they are benefitting from wind energy deployment, and how they are devising strategies and conducting research to increase wind’s contribution to world energy supply.” But a deeper analysis shows that the wind industry is a house of cards built on a foundation of sand.

The house of cards is a global industry based entirely on subsidies, price guarantees, and mandates. Wind generation systems are not deployed anywhere in the world without extensive government financial or mandated support. Fourteen of the 20 IEA member nations use feed-in tariffs (FITs) to force utility companies to buy electricity from wind farms at above market rates. Examples are FITs used by Finland, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, which are set in the range of 7.8-12.1 Eurocents per kilowatt-hour, equal to 11.2-17.4 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour. These are subsidized wholesale prices, yet significantly above the average U.S. retail price of 9.7 cents per kilowatt-hour. Nine of the twenty nations mandate that utilities supply a percentage of electricity from renewables. Nations that have provided little government support for wind, such as Japan, Korea, Mexico, and Norway, have seen little growth in installations.

In the U.S., the 2009 Recovery Act authorizes a direct cash grant of 30% of the total value to wind projects. Alternatively, the federal government provides a 30% investment tax credit, or a 2.1 cents per kW-hr production subsidy. State governments add loan guarantees, further investment tax credits, and the forbearance of property and sales taxes. Twenty-nine states have enacted Renewable Portfolio Standards to force utilities to purchase renewable energy, primarily wind. These mandates raise the price of wind energy, a further subsidy to the industry. In total, taxpayers are subsidizing 30-50% of the price U.S. wind energy installations. Wind must be subsidized because it is much more expensive than electricity from coal, natural gas, hydroelectric, and nuclear sources. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, wind-generated electricity is about 80% more expensive than coal-fired power, and off-shore wind is significantly more expensive. The IEA representatives from Denmark and the United Kingdom estimate costs for offshore wind at roughly double the cost of onshore wind. The planned Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound reportedly will deliver electricity at a whopping 27 cents per kW-hour, compared to the Massachusetts average price of 16 cents per kW-hour and the U.S. average of 9.7 cents.

US Electricity Generating Costs

Advocates claim that subsidies are needed to help wind energy move down the learning curve to become cost competitive with other technologies. But wind turbines have been deployed for more than 20 years. As of 2009, the United States had installed about 33,000 wind turbine towers. World installations have exceeded 140,000 turbines. When will this cost competitiveness be achieved?

Despite the growing number of installations, total wind energy costs are increasing. Wind installation costs per kilowatt-hour decreased from the early 1990s until 2001, but have been rising since. For example, U.S. installations reached a cost low of $1,285 per kw-hr in 2001, but have since risen steadily to $2,080 per kw-hr in 2009, an increase of 62%. It’s unlikely that electricity from wind will ever be competitive with conventional fuel sources.

A close read of the IEA Wind Report reveals issues with actual wind turbine operating lifetimes and maintenance. Wind turbines that were installed in the 1990s are now being replaced in Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, and other nations. In the harsh weather environments of high-wind corridors, many of these turbines have not reached the 20-year lifetimes claimed by manufacturers. In comparison, operating lifetimes for coal-fired power plants consistently reach 50 years.

Very costly repairs are often required to maintain wind turbine operation. Japan reports that lightning hits and typhoons have damaged “a considerable number of wind turbines,” finding that on average, each turbine will fail three times over its 20-year life. Denmark reports that each turbine’s gearbox must be replaced on average four times during its lifetime, costing about 20% of the price of a wind turbine.

The story of Denmark is illustrative. Over the last 20 years, Denmark has installed 5,100 wind towers, one for every thousand citizens. A map with a black dot for each wind farm shows that 300-foot-high steel and concrete towers can be seen from almost every field, farm, hill, and seashore of this nation. In 2009, these towers provided only 767 megawatts of electricity, less than the output of a single conventional coal-fired power plant. This single power plant would occupy the space of one black dot on the map.

wind farms in denmark

Wind towers provide only about 10% of Denmark’s electricity, but contribute to electricity rates of 28 Eurocents per kilowatt-hour, the highest in Europe and four times the U.S. price. Yet, Danish government officials are proud of their wind system. Why would they install 5,000 towers instead of one coal plant? It’s because they believe they are reducing global warming.

In fact, the global wind industry is built on a foundation of sand—the hypothesis that man-made global warming is destroying Earth’s climate. The IEA report contains repeated statements about carbon emissions saved by wind installations in each nation. Yet, mounting satellite temperature data, new studies of ocean cycles such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and research on solar activity, show that global warming is due to natural cycles of the Earth,not man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Should global warming alarmism fail in its efforts to promote wind energy, the subsidies will disappear, and the house of cards will collapse. Then the world will be left with 140,000 silent monuments to Climatism.

Steve Goreham is Executive Director for the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of Climatism! Science, Common Sense, and the 21st Century’s Hottest Topic.The link is here:

http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm/5131/Wind-Energys-House-of-Cards

To contact the North Gower Wind Action Group, please email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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A Canadian epidemiologist testified at a Public Service Commission hearing in Wisconsin, on the health effects noted from exposure to the noise and vibration (infrasound) from industrial wind turbines. Note how simple it would be to do actual research on actual people, in his opinion. But instead, the Ontario government proffers a highly selective review paper as “research”, as did the wind energy lobby in Canada.

If the corporate wind developers were truly concerned about the health of Canadians (“Coal is killing people!” [it isn’t.] ) they would pay for a real study.

The link is provided if you wish to view a video of  Dr Phillips’ testimony, and a transcript of his remarks follows.

To contact the North Gower Wind Action Group, email northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

PSC: Please raise your right hand. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

Carl V. Phillips: Yes, I do.

PSC: OK, spell your name.

PHILLIPS: Carl V. Phillips, C-A-R-L, initial V as in Vincent- Phillips- P-H-I-double L-I-P-S

PSC: All right, go ahead.

I’m an epidemiologist and policy researcher.  I’m specifically expert in how to optimally derive knowledge for decision making from epidemiologic data.

I have a PhD in public policy from Harvard University, and I did a post doctoral fellowship in public health policy and the philosophy of science.

I’ve spent most of my career as a professor of public health and medicine, most recently at the University of Alberta and I currently direct an independent research institute.

I reviewed the literature on health effects of wind turbines on local residents, including the reports that have been prepared by industry consultants and the references therein, and I have reached the following conclusions which I present in detail in a written report that I believe will be submitted [to the commission].

First, there is ample evidence that some people suffer a collection of health problems, including insomnia, anxiety, loss of concentration, general psychological distress, as a result of being exposed to turbines near their home.

The type of studies that have been done are not adequate to estimate what portion of the population is susceptible to the effect, the magnitude of the effects, or exactly how much exposure is needed before the risks become substantial, but all of these could be determined with fairly simple additional research.

What is clear is there is a problem of some magnitude.  The evidence may or may not be enough to meet the burden of a tort claim about a specific disease, but in my opinion it’s clearly enough to suggest that our public policy should not just be to blindly move forward without more knowledge.

The best evidence we have—which has been somewhat downplayed in previous discussion—is what’s known as “case cross-over data,” which is one of the most useful forms of epidemiologic study when both the exposure and the disease are transitory.  That is, it’s possible to remove the exposure and see if the disease goes away, then reinstate it and see if the disease recurs, which is exactly the pattern that has been observed for some of the sufferers who physically moved away and sometimes back again.

With that study design in mind, we actually have very substantial amounts of data in a structured form, contrary to some of the claims that have been made.  And more data of this nature could easily be gathered if an effort was made.

Moreover, people’s avoidance behavior—their moving from their homes, and so forth—is a clear (what’s called) “revealed preference measure” of their suffering.  Such evidence transforms something that might be dismissed as a subjective experience or perhaps even fakery, to an objective observation that someone’s health problems are worth more than the many thousands of dollars they’ve lost trying to escape the exposure.

My second observation . . . is that these health effects that people are suffering are very real.  The psychologically mediated diseases that we’ve observed, and in fact overall mental well being, are included in all modern accepted definitions of either individual health or public health.  It’s true that they are more difficult to study than certain other diseases, but they probably account for more of the total morbidity burden in the United States than do purely physical diseases.  Therefore [they] should not be in any way dismissed.

Third, the reports that I have read that claim there is no evidence that there is a problem seem to be based on a very simplistic understanding of epidemiology and self-serving definitions of what does and what does not count as evidence.  I don’t think I can cover too much of this in the available time right now, but I explain it in detail in my report—why these claims, which probably seem convincing to most readers prima facie [at first glance], don’t represent proper scientific reading.  Moreover, the conclusions of the reports don’t even match their own analyses.  The reports themselves actually concede that there are problems, and then somehow manage to reach the conclusion that there is no evidence that there are problems.

And my final point, as I’ve already alluded to, is it’s quite possible to do the studies it would take to resolve the outstanding questions, and they could actually be done very quickly by studying people who are already exposed.

This isn’t the type of circumstance where we cannot really know more until we move forward and wait for years of additional exposure.  The only reason we don’t have better information than we do is that no one with adequate resources has tried to get it.

That’s the conclusion of my points.

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MEETING TODAY!!!! The information meeting for North Gower and Richmond, and anyone in Beckwith Twp and the Brinston/Shanly/Winchester area.

Please be sure to sign our contact list so you can get updates on future activities, and the petition!!!

Meeting Details:

Industrial Wind Turbines and their Effects

Tuesday, April 13, 6:30 p.m., Alfred Taylor Centre, 2300 Community Way, North Gower

Speakers:

Our speakers are graciously donating their time to come to Ottawa and share their experiences with industrial wind turbines, and/or their experiences working with people who are living with the turbines. Their presentations will be based on real experience, not merely reviews of literature, or industry-sponsored statements.

Dr Robert McMurtry, professor emeritus, medicine, University of Western Ontario, on health effects

Dr John Harrison, retired professor in physics, Queen’s University, on the nature of the noise and vibration produced by industrial wind turbines

Stephana Johnston, retired educator and rural property owner now living surrounded by 18 industrial wind turbines

Eric Gillespie, lawyer and lead in the quest for a judicial review of the Green Energy Act, which has removed the ability of Ontario communities to plan for themselves and protect their citizens

Chris Luxemburger, Realtor and author of Living with Wind Turbines, the result of a study of hundreds of properties in the Shelburne, Ontario area

Carmen Krogh, former health executive and health professional, now involved in research on the effects of wind turbines.

For more information, please email us at northgowerwindactiongroup@yahoo.ca

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