a watchdog for ratepayers, taxpayers, and the environment
Contrary to propaganda, wind cannot replace a coal plant, natural gas plant, or a dam.
Wind provides NO firm capacity -- NONE. It is in NO way comparable to any generation that does provide copious firm capacity. Wind turbines behave just like DEFECTIVE machines in terms of our modern expectations.
Subsidies - it all boils down to VALUE: Over the past 3 years, wind's nationwide average annual capacity factor was 30%. Would anyone pay any money at all for a cell phone, computer, or car that worked only 30% of the time, and one never knew when that 30% was going to be? Yet, that is what we are being forced to subsidize and pay for in the electricity sector. Wind machines do produce power but it is the ancient kind -- the kind that requires people to wait upon it. Wind is in no way comparable to those conventional sources which do provide modern power.
and for THE Caveat: To make wind appear to have modern power, conventional machines which run on high energy density fuels must be deployed (e.g. coal or natural gas plants). Given wind's continual flux, these entangled machines must run in a highly inefficient mode -- much like a car in stop and go traffic -- using as much or more fuel in the process than would be the case without any wind at all. And thus subverting the very reason for wind in the first place.
Distraction: Despite all the rhetoric, wind energy is NOT going to get us off of our dependence on foreign oil. Oil plays NO part in electricity in the US (see graph under "foreign oil tab"). Wind is about the electricity sector. Oil is about the transportation sector. Oil and wind have nothing to do with each other, unless there are plans to mandate that we all purchase a $40,000+ electric car.
Here's the irony: in the midst of their sales pitch of wind getting us off of foreign oil, the wind salesmen aren't telling everyone that wind actually ties us to a NEW foreign energy dependence in CHINA. Each wind turbine requires at least a couple THOUSAND pounds of Rare Earth Elements (REEs). China controls 90%+ of the world's supply of Rare Earth Elements.
(And then there's that whole "sustainability" aspect of REEs).
The Bottom Line: None of this is about benefiting taxpayers, ratepayers, or the environment. It is about promoting political power agendas and making HUGE profits for multi-national corporations.
Wind is being used by Big Energy et al as an income-producing tax-avoidance mechanism. To see the cozy relationship between AWEA and the Too-Big-To-Fail crowd, just look at AWEA's Board of Directors here. While you're at it, look at AWEA's directors over the last decade. Then do a Google search with the query (pick any Big Energy or "investment" group like JP Morgan) + wind power.
It's time for some accountability. It's time for OUR representatives (i.e. the US Congress) to put aside their agendas and to ask for REAL grid performance from across the US. Ask for the real proof BEFORE they continue to hand out our tax dollars to fund the PTC which ultimately means increased power rates for us -- plus the desecration and destruction of our environment.
"It is not just that wind farms are producing significantly less power than predicted, but that other power stations are required to run in an inefficient manner to support them ... this inefficient practice results in them producing higher levels of CO2."
— Andrew Chapman, Inverloch, Aust.