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Are Big Wind firms actually “Subsidy Miners”?

Are Big Wind firms actually “Subsidy Miners”?

Heavily-subsidized, bird-chopping, noisy wind farms meet increased local resistance

Eco-activists enamored by alternative energy technology have long touted the potential for wind farms as a source of power.

However, it appears that the industry’s promises may be full of hot air.

Take, for example, the funding for many projects. Many Americans are now coining the term “Big Wind” for wind farm installation firms who collude with government employees to obtain subsidies and funding for large-scale projects.

Instead of being “clean energy providers,” the companies behave like “subsidy miners.”

With good reason, numerous upstate towns are actively fighting the encroachment of Big Wind. To cite just one recent example: Last month, the Watertown City Council unanimously approved a resolution opposing the development of eight industrial wind-turbine projects totaling 1,000 megawatts of capacity, because the projects could impair military training capabilities near Fort Drum.

Over the past decade or so, members of [Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACENY)] — some of America’s biggest subsidy miners — have collected $18.7 billion in federal and state subsidies. The burgeoning backlash against Big Wind means a growing group of rebellious New York towns stand between [ACENY Executive Director Ann] Reynolds’ members and even more taxpayer gravy.

The $18.7 billion sum was obtained by matching ACENY’s membership roster with data from Subsidy Tracker, a program run by Good Jobs First, a Washington-based government-accountability organization. That $18.7 billion includes all federal grants, tax credits, loans, loan guarantees and state subsidies.

The subsidies are corrosive. They encourage wind-energy companies to use legal action to bully rural landowners and small towns.

New Yorkers aren’t the only one challenging the eco-activist blessed energy source. In Indiana, Cass County property owners are asking the county for a chance to speak out on a proposed wind farm.

…”There’s just too many unanswered questions on this,” said Cass County property owner Brenda Rusk.

She is one of several people worried about the impact of a proposed wind farm.

“Just possibilities of things that could go wrong,” Rusk said.

Rusk said she’s been contacted multiple times about contracting her property. She said British based company RES is working to put turbines between 600 and 840 feet tall near Royal Center.

To give some perspective, White County turbines are only about 300 feet tall.

“I don’t feel like signing a contract with this kind of a close proximity to us,” said Rusk. “I just think it’s too much for that much height.”

Citizens in the deep blue state of Minnesota have forced a new project to locate half of the new units to Iowa, based on complaints related to sound.

[Dorenne] Hansen and other residents are fighting to stop the Freeborn Wind Farm project in Freeborn County southeast of Albert Lea.

“I want quiet and dark nights, not the noise and red flashing lights on top of wind towers,” she said. “We did not choose to live out here to be next to an industrial park.”

…Poor perception of an existing wind farm in Freeborn County, the Bent Tree project north of Albert Lea, has helped feed opposition to Freeborn Wind.

Complaints against Bent Tree by some local residents prompted the PUC to take the uncommon move of ordering a noise study. The results in late August showed that Bent Tree exceeded noise levels at certain times.

Green energy advocates seem very dismissive of the prevalent complaints about sound levels made by residents around wind farms.

Sleeplessness and headaches are the most common complaints about wind farms from nearby residents, according to a 2009 study by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Wind farms have also drawn complaints about inaudible infrasound, or low-frequency sound, which can pass through walls easier than higher-frequency noise and can also be accompanied by vibration, the health department study said.

The health department has not updated its report. But James Kelly, an environmental-surveillance manager at the department, said he’s “unaware of any significant studies that would cause us to rethink the statements we made in 2009.”

Who are the locals going to believe, Big Wind and their climate justice advocates or their own lying ears?

[Featured Image: Southern California wind farm, photo credit William Jacobson, 2011]


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conservative tarheel | December 17, 2017 at 9:34 am

follow the money …. cut the subsidies and watch em

    I drove past a huge area of these in Indiana several years ago.

    The hardware was being sources mostly from China and the labor to install them was being performed by south of the border folks.

    Many were not operating. They don’t have the wind part of the time and winds over a certain speed require them to be shut down to avoid damage. The distance from large metro areas makes for inefficient power transport. They also require high maintenance costs.
    So much for them helping American jobs, one of the big reasons given for their support.

    Solar panels, too. Smaller scale, less-obvious ecological damage, but just as NON-economic without government subsidies.

    Forced-taxpayer-supported virtue signalling: Governments, companies, nonprofit organizations, proper-living progressive individuals.

The Friendly Grizzly | December 17, 2017 at 9:39 am

Left unmentioned is the eventual stacking-up of broken or otherwise unusable fan blades and hubs, the soot- covered remains of generators that overheated or burst into flames and remain abandoned on their masts. Or, just sitting disused because the subsidies and tax breaks for their owners ran out. The entire Palm Springs area just west of town is thousands of acres of these things.

Did I mention that on a day with fa or able winds that not all that many are running?

The Friendly Grizzly | December 17, 2017 at 9:47 am

In on the mobile site so this is a reply to conservative tarheel: cut subsidies and tax credits on coal-powered cars. Tests dies on the spot. Cut them for hybrid cars and watch Priuseseses sell for $12,000 off sticker.

The Friendly Grizzly | December 17, 2017 at 9:47 am

^^^ Tesla.

Morning Sunshine | December 17, 2017 at 10:16 am

Funny, kind of off topic: my kids call them “Fidget Spinner Farms” when we are on road trips. My 16-yo actually had the 5-yo convinced this is where they grow, and the big ones we pass are the mama’s. After a few minutes of letting him have his fun with her, we told her the truth. But it was kind of funny and we still laugh about it (and call them Fidget Spinner Farms, but now everyone knows it to be a family joke).

The purpose of subsidies – any subsidies – is to make donors rich. They are almost impossible to kill but the effort is very much a worthy one.

Oklahoma was one state that was handing out tax credits for wind farms and then ran into a budget crunch. Instead of cutting out the subsidies, they tried to push through a sales tax increase to support education. The tax increase was sold as a pay raise for K-12 teachers, but actually more $ went to the university system. It was defeated and I think the subsidy is being phased out due to public comments.

Once the winds farms started sprouting up, a lot of land owners started “building” grass landing strips for small places and then registering the site so that a turbine could not be sited close to them.

There is a oil & gas group that collects a fee from the producers and royalty owners with the goal of cleaning up abandoned well sites from the wildcatter days. I wonder if the wind industry will do the same to deal with the burned out wrecks once the smaller companies fail.

Finally, did y’all know that wind turbines can mess up doppler radar? This is from NWS and the link includes pictures of what the interference looks like on radar.

“Wind turbine clutter or interference that shows up on the base reflectivity and velocity images produced by the doppler radar can have several impacts including:

* Thunderstorm or winter storm characteristics could be masked or misinterpreted, reducing warning effectiveness in the vicinity of, and downrange of the wind farm.
* False signatures contaminating Doppler velocity data in the vicinity and downrange of the wind energy facility could reduce forecaster’s situational awareness, particularly during hazardous/severe weather events.
* Data masking or contamination if thunderstorms develop over the wind farm may negatively impact warning effectiveness.
* False precipitation estimates could negatively impact flash-flood warning effectiveness.”

The two biggest problems with wind powered electricity generation is the immense amount of land necessary to produce even the same amount of power as a fossil fuel generating station and the variability in output related to changes in wind speed.

The average 1000Mw fossil fuel generator station can sit comfortably on 3 sq. miles of land [or less]. The average land area needed for a 1000Mw wind farm is approximately 133 sq. miles of area. But, as the output is variable with wind, to average 1000Mw continuous output, it would require potential output of between 1900Mw and 2800Mw. This increases the area needs to between 260 sq. miles and 360 sq. miles. A 1000Mw nuclear powered generating plant can sit on approximately 1.3 sq. miles. [ ]

There are, of course, many other problems associated with wind turbine farms, which make them unsuitable as a viable electrical energy source.

Wind blows. Subsidies suck.

“Big Wind” is and always has been a scam. Whenever the eco-nuts tout the supposed environment-friendly benefits, they never account for the effects of mining the raw materials, refining them, manufacturing the components, erecting the systems, demolishing the systems when they break/wear out or disposing of the debris. Not to mention the secondary and tertiary infrastructure requirements – transportation (vehicles, roads), housing and support services for the workers, the necessary infrastructure for the refining/manufacturing, etc. By the time all these factors are included, the so-called savings/benefits are lost as a rounding error.

Chops up birds and it’s being covered up mostly because of the inside fight within the Green community has wind lovers vs birders. There are a LOT, IMO, of environmental issues that have NOT been studied or minimized. The noise impact , I cannot imagine living within a mile of these things.

When I drive through Oklahoma or here in Texas and see these huge wind farms, it makes me sick. Beautiful vistas cluttered with white sticks. …and I think of their inefficiency and the billions wasted to put them there. A completely outdated and political project to farm the progressive money train. Speaking of trains… same with bullet-train madness. It’s all a crock.

    And don’t forget Bats, (a very beneficial animal) windmills do a number on them too!

    A friend who is into “green energy” told me cats kill more birds every year than wind farms….Funny, I’m pretty sure my little kitty cat has never killed…..A Bald Eagle!

Extracting wind energy from the system could be causing detrimental effects, such as increased hurricane strenth, increased hurricane frequency, shifting of downwind patterns leading to deforestation and other long term consequences. Subtle changes/effects can result in larger changes over time/distance, and a cascading effect on weather patterns on a global scale. Where are the environmental impact studies? Who conducted the studies if they do in fact exist? What are their qualifications?

Warren Buffet has investments in Big Wind and he has said without subsidies they make no sense. In fact, he said that after the subsidies run out, the windmills will be abandoned because to keep them running would be financial suicide. This was all a progressive dream and once science is involved it falls apart. These morons didn’t have the intelligence to look at where the power for these electric vehicles comes from. Mostly coal-fired plants or natural gas, both fossil fuels. Then there are the nukes which pollute the Earth for hundreds of years. No one or no company has produced anything like a gallon of gasoline that is that small and contains that much energy. Maybe someday the battery will get close to a gallon of gas in energy but it’s not in our immediate future. So in the meantime, we kill millions of birds and bats, drive locals crazy and make the investors rich!

Steven den Beste, many years ago, estimated that if you wanted to power all the cars in Los Angeles with electricity, the size of the solar farms (reflectors that would concentrate sunlight to heat boilers, more efficient than solar cells) to generate the required electricity would cover the entire state of New Mexico. That’s just for the cars in one major metro area.

I can’t imagine wind power is any more efficient. So imagine how many wind farms you’d need to get them to provide even 10% of the needs of our energy grid.

I was part of a group that fought Big Blow here in central IN and beat them back.

One of the popular arguments by potential leaseholders (big farmers) was that they would be “Harvesting the wind”.

Our group pointed out LOUDLY that they were more interested in “harvesting the subsidies“.

Worth noting that in both of our cases, these were German energy companies trying to massage their bottom line after Germany did away with nukes.

We had experience with one windfarm in the county that was shoved through with little public notice or input. Big Blow comes in with their $5000 suits and roll over the local yokels in their bluejeans and flannel shirts.

They make big promises that they don’t keep, and it will divide a community like nothing I’ve seen in my life. Neighbors and even families now estranged because of it.

In the second round with Big Blow, that was going to be in MY backyard, they kept telling us that Industrial wind turbine farms have ZERO effect on property value. We already knew that was bullsquat from those that had sold at a loss or walked away from their homes in the first farm.

We convinced the local board of Zoning Appeals to force them into a “Property Value Guarantee” agreement.

End of game. They weren’t willing to put their money where their mouth was.

Oh, and every elected official that voted for these community destroyers was primaried out of office the next time they they were up for re-election.

One of the original 3 Commissioners now travels the state and speaks against them whenever they try it elsewhere. She tells of the outright LIES they were told and the promises of boon to county coffers and charities that were never kept. Her comments and letters have been read into record in communities across the country and can be found on the website

When my wife and I were visiting Maui a few years ago, I was heartbroken to see the beautiful hills dotted with wind turbines. Is nowhere sacred?

Wind farms are invariably promoted as “XXX megawatt” wind farms, where the “XXX” is the maximum power the turbines will produce under optimal conditions. And then the output stated is gross power and not net power: that is, the wind turbines consume energy all the time to operate their control and hydraulic systems, yet this is not subtracted from the advertised number.

The public doesn’t seem to understand that the output of a wind turbine must be proportional to the CUBE of wind speed, and therefore most of the time will be producing far less than maximum rated power. And even that is limited, as the turbine must protect itself from damage when wind speed is too high.

When you see a turbine turning slowly on a windless day, do you ever wonder why it’s doing that? It’s doing that to prevent damage to its bearings, which might develop flat spots if the turbine were to be motionless for too long. And (of course) when it’s doing that it’s consuming power and not producing it.

Of course, wind turbines can’t rely on their own unreliable power generation to power their control and hydraulic systems, so they don’t: they use relatively reliable grid power for that. They might thus be thought of as machines to convert reliable power into thoroughly unreliable, intermittent power.

Perhaps a start would be to require honest numbers on average NET output from wind projects as an absolute minimum requirement to be considered for subsides.