The proposed offshore wind farm near South Padre Island, Texas is sparking concerns from many environmental groups who worry about the impact on wildlife and scenery in the area. They have good cause to be concerned, since there will be some 300 wind turbines the size of the Tower of America, operating in one of the most heavily traveled path in the Gulf of Mexico for bird migration.
There are many estimations of the total number of birds killed each year by wind turbines here in the US, but it is safe to say that at least 1 million are killed, since some estimations have been as high as 2 million. Sadly, this includes many protected species such as eagles where at California’s Altamont Pass wind farm over one hundred golden eagles are killed each year. Some 4 thousand eagles including bald eagles are estimated to be killed each year in the US by wind turbines.
Wind turbines are also responsible for killing an estimated 1 million bats per year worldwide.
The construction of the turbines also negatively impacts sensitive Eco systems, causing the deaths of land based wildlife by interrupting roaming patterns and introducing the low pitched humming noise the turbines make while operating, causing normal living patterns to change.
The destruction of scenery in many once beautiful areas of the country is yet another drawback of wind farms, where undisturbed natural beauty has been replaced with forests of wind turbines.
What many do not realize is the inefficiency of wind energy. In the US, the official government estimate of the total electrical output by all wind farms is less than 1% of the whole grid.
On a world scale, all of the wind farms put together would barely generate enough electricity keep a population the size of the Gaza Strip in lights for a year.
The fossil fuels necessary for the manufacture of wind turbines, parts and equipment, their transportation from factory to field, and the construction of the wind farm itself, automatically creates such a huge energy deficit that they will never produce enough electricity during the lifetime of the equipment to get ahead of what was already used.
Most have a misconception of how wind farms operate, in the sense that we tend to think that a wind turbine simply starts producing electricity when the wind blows enough to turn the turbine blades. Nothing could be further from reality, since it takes a jolt of grid electricity to start them. In times when the wind becomes too high for operations, generally over 40 MPH, grid electricity is necessary to shut them down also.
Fossil fuel grid electricity is also used to maintain turbines during periods when the wind is calm. Many of us have observed this in seeing turbines turning rapidly when the wind is calm.
Wind farms also cause more CO2 production in the atmosphere, than if they didn’t exist simply by the large amounts of grid electricity needed for the constant start ups and shut downs of the turbines themselves. Such massive amounts of electricity causes the fossil fuel based grid to have to use more coal. This fact makes wind farms heavy producers of CO2 and other so called greenhouse gases. The fact is, if all wind turbines were to be operated all the time 24/7 by grid electricity, less fossil fuel generated pollutants would be produced.
The negative impact of expense has to also be taken into consideration when a wind farm is proposed. The high cost of the manufacture of the wind turbines themselves, the large amounts of grid electricity they will use, and the construction of the wind farm will cause electricity rates to skyrocket not only in the local area where they are constructed, but in the entire state as well.
Taxes will drastically increase as well, since the Federal government subsidizes all wind farm operations.
The wind industry could not exist today, if not for government subsidies since in the real world of business and finance, a company has to have a product to sell to make money and wind farms do not generate enough power to consider themselves as having electricity to sell. Thus, we have an entire industry that couldn’t exist without government funded welfare.
Sadly, the cold fact of wind energy is that it is at such an infantile stage of development it should be considered as an experimental project that may someday realistically replace the fossil fuel grid. As it is at present, it is only a very costly idea that inflates energy prices during a time when no one can afford it.
Texans need to just say no to a very bad idea that will end up being very costly both financially and environmentally and benefit no one.
Editor’s Note: While Tony speaks of the State of Texas, this takes place in numerous states of the Union. The Obama administration has funneled billions into “green energy” projects which have failed, just like Tony has pointed out. His plans are to continue using taxpayer money to subsidize “green energy” businesses that cannot sustain themselves and provide no real alternative to fossil fuels.