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Environmentalists’ Broken Toys

We’ve recently written quite a bit about electric vehicles’ many flaws – the reasons to hate them, their evil nature, the entire EV con. But they’re not the only green plaything that’s being exposed for the debacle they are. Windmills are just as troubled.

“All over the world, rural people are reacting with fury at the encroachment of large wind and solar projects on their homes and neighborhoods,” writes energy author Robert Bryce.

Last month, “thousands of Druze residents in the Golan Heights,” says Bryce, “rioted to stop the installation of a large wind project on their traditional lands.” Before that, a wind project in Colombia was “canceled after it met fierce opposition from the indigenous Wayuu communities.”

Bryce noted last week that over the last 10 days in the U.S., “local governments in Illinois, Ohio, and Iowa have rejected or restricted wind and solar projects.” According to his database, that makes 574 rejections or restrictions of ​​solar and wind projects in less than a decade. Most of them, 407, have been wind projects.

Bryce predicted the growth of resistance four years ago when he wrote in The Hill that protests in Hawaii then were “a harbinger of more clashes to come if governments attempt to install the colossal quantities of wind turbines and solar panels that would be needed to fuel the global economy.”

There are a number of problems with wind farms:

  • They eat up far more land than any of the conventional forms of energy production, as well as nuclear. It takes a 6.7 million acre wind farm to produce the same amount of power that a nuclear plant could on 230,000 acres and a natural gas plant will on 150,000 acres. Bryce pointed out in a paper he wrote for the Center of the American Experiment that it would take the land equal to two entire Californias “to meet America’s current electricity needs with wind energy.”
  • Due to rising costs and logistical headaches, “developers and would-be buyers of wind power are scrapping contracts, putting off projects and postponing investment decisions,” the Wall Street Journal reports. It’s “an industry in crisis.”
  • Wind turbines, writes energy consultant Ronald Stein, “are now becoming an eyesore, a hazard, and a significant environmental threat” in a policy piece that asks if wind farms generate more waste than they do electricity.
  • Wind farms have to be built in open spaces where power isn’t needed. Moving the electricity to where it’s eventually used destroys the landscape in between.
  • In Scotland, 16 million trees, each one of them with their names surely written on every environmentalists’ hearts, have been felled to open ground on which to build wind farms.
  • The late physicist David MacKay, who said “you know I love wind turbines,” believed that building wind farms is “actually a waste of money.”
  • Even the government is an obstacle. Reason reported not quite a year ago that “construction on what could be a massive offshore wind farm in Massachusetts has been held up for years due to” federal reviews.

We could go on, and also apply almost all of what we’ve said about wind power to solar energy, but it would be exhausting. That said, we will continue to emphasize green transition failures in hopes that one day we will help break the misleading climate narrative.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board 

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I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • With all due respect, PLEASE stop using wind industry language to describe industrial scale wind power plants. These environmentally destructive, unreliable and costly boondoggles are NOT windmills.

    Windmills are different than wind turbines in both structure and purpose.
    Windmills do not produce electrical energy but rather use mechanical energy.

    The wind industry co-opted the term “windmill” as “Marketing Fluff” to make their product appear benign and useful rather than destructive (there is a long list of adverse impacts and legitimate concerns about promoting an energy source which is weather dependent and environmentally degrading but that is for another day).

    Please refer to industrial scale wind turbine power plants as just that.

  • The problem, as I see it, is they are trying to scale wind power up higher than works well. Wind doesn’t do well for running the whole grid. A small vertical axis turbine at a home is way more efficient, and MUCH less of a mess. Those big wind turbines that we all hate are also not recyclable, and adding to the waste problem.
    The problem with small turbines at homes is the right people don’t make enough money off it, and we can’t allow people to be self reliant!
    The system is broken.

  • It’s more than true that wind plants chew-up land but this comparison left me cold

    “…It takes a 6.7 million acre wind farm to produce the same amount of power that a nuclear plant could on 230,000 acres and a natural gas plant will on 150,000 acres….”

    Our latest local filings use one square mile to house each 8 MW of nameplate wind turbines and nameplate is essentially a meaningless measure because the nameplate (which represents their cost) can’t be delivered on demand. A 20MW gas turbine plant can go on the trailers behind two semitractors. To insure 20MW of power from wind turbines would take 200MW of nameplate and around 25 square miles.

    It would require a lot more than two Californias to supply U.S. energy needs. I doubt that it is possible to rely on wind turbines alone to do the task and maintain current reliability, but to just supply the average consumption of the U.S. would take one-third the land area of the U.S. To supply an all electric nation, transportation, heating of buildings and all industrial energy, and then supply the charge for “backup” batteries or pumped hydro would require two and one-half times more. It’s madness. Currently untreated.

  • Three additions:
    1 – long transmission 750KV lines lose about 5-7% of input power per 100 miles -and that can be enough (depending on distances and factors, like % of nameplate produced (amps flow ) that affect this) to make them net negative related to local gas turbine power production.

    2 – a typical modern wind tower has a 700+ ton concrete foundation. At about 3MJ per ton of concrete (mostly from burning tires in cement kilns) you could ignore the nacelle and still never break even on power produced vs power used – worse, most need longs transmission lines and those towers usually have 400 ton foundations.

    3 – the manhatten institute’s recent analysis of the battery powered car may be the best effort yet and shows they do not usually break even on CO2 produced vs CO2 saved, but missed a closely related issue: 15% (approx) losses to heat during charging -i.e. measurement should be power-in, not power delivered.

  • So are the Eco-Freaks still supportive of those Wind Turbine’s harming the Birds and Ruining the Land

  • NJ’s gov Murphy is putting in 1200 of these monstrosities offshore.They are twice as high as the highest building in AC. There ‘break even’ is 15 years. Mr. “MATH SCIENCE” has never shown us the math nor science behind the financial projections…..AND they have 20 year expected life after which they all need to be removed!

    Add in that the contractor, Orsted, is in charge of ‘environmental impact evaluation’ for their own project…this is a first ever….you might ask how much does each wind turbines cost and how much energy does each produce. Tens of billions, not one penny explained. When the gov says trust their MATH SCIENCE….put your hand on your wallet and leave the room. It’s probably already been pit pocketed!

  • I don’t know where the land requirements for nuclear power plants (230,000 acres) in this article come from. I’ve worked in a number of nuclear power facilities, and even the 3 unit plant I worked in, generating about 2400MW, probably sat on maybe 250 acres of land. Does that include the land required for mining the fuel?

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