Jay Lehr stings like a bee

A while back we looked at how the Yanks are slowly catching up with the scale of the Great Wind Power Fraud – well here’s Jay Lehr’s crack at it.

This bloke has a CV that reads like War and Peace.  But no waffler this American – he gets right to it and lands a flurry of well directed jabs at the Great Wind Scam – and – from all angles.

Ali Vs Patterson

Wind Turbines: America’s Vast, Ugly Sculpture Garden
Heartland.org
Jay Lehr, PhD
16 July 2013

Brilliant scientific minds are not confined to the annals of scientific history. I have been blessed to have had a career in physics first influenced by a nodding acquaintance with Albert Einstein while a student at Princeton, then watching Hyman Rickover build our nuclear Navy, and finally almost having the opportunity to work with Edward Teller on what would have been his last book.  Yet none have made a greater impression on me nor served as better mentors than Howard Hayden, emeritus professor of physics at the University of Connecticut.  Howard produces a monthly newsletter titled The Energy Advocate in which he attempts to explain in clear terms the insanity of much of our nation’s energy policies as they attempt to rewrite the laws of physics that control the extraction of energy from our planet and universe.

This article, focusing on the amazing absurdity of ever believing that wind energy could efficiently contribute to a central electrical grid, is drawn from Hayden’s writings.

Little Justification for Subsidies

Federal taxpayer subsidies for wind power will almost certainly end; the only question is when. It defies logic for wind subsidies and mandates to continue when wind power is so costly, inefficient, and environmentally harmful.  I will guess that the insanity could continue for another decade, with more and more industrial wind turbines added to the pre-existing turbine blight on the American landscape.

Few of these turbines will last 20 years. Most will break down sooner than that, and most electricity sales contracts will not reap enough income for repairs.  Few wind power companies have the financial reserves to dismantle these behemoth lawn sculptures.  Just as it has taken massive subsidies to build the vast industrial wind installations, it will likely take massive subsidies to dismantle them.  The resulting scene of permanent wind sculptures, monuments to the triumph of political favoritism over science and economics, will be frozen in time like a scene from science fiction – as though giant aliens descended onto our planet only to be frozen in place.

Optimistically, a wind turbine will generate electricity 30 percent of the time.  However, we cannot predict when that time will be.  A true wind power believer might be willing to do without electricity at the times the wind is not blowing, but the general population will not.  During that 30 percent of the time the blades are spinning, conventional power plants still most keep cycling in order to ramp up quickly to compensate for the unpredictable 70 percent of the time when wind turbines are not producing power.

After two decades of huge subsidies for wind energy, nowhere in the world has an array of wind turbines replaced a single conventional power plant.

Limited Power Potential

The amount of power the wind can generate per acre of land is unrelated to the size of the turbines.  Doubling the length of turbine blades doubles the power output of the turbine; however, turbines with longer blades must be separated by larger distances.

No matter how much money we invest in wind power technology, we know the earth will give up only an average of 5 kilowatts of electricity from wind energy per acre, which amounts to fully 300 square miles of land necessary to produce the 1000 megawatts generated by a conventional coal, natural gas, or nuclear power plant.  Each of these conventional power plants requires merely a few hundred acres of land.  This fulfills the average power demand of a city of 700,000 people.

Another inescapable problem for electric grids is that the power generated by a wind turbine varies with the cube of the wind speed.  This means when the wind speed doubles – say from 10 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour – the energy output increases eight fold (2 x 2 x 2).  Someone or some computer has to balance these huge variations on the grid by calling on standby generators to produce more or less power to maintain the stability that is so essential to the grid.

Strong winds are no more conducive to wind power generation than light winds.  Turbines must shut down in high winds because strong centrifugal forces would tear the blades apart.  Wind turbines rely on a fleeting Goldilocks zone of winds that are not too light but not too strong to generate power.

Rampant Structural Problems

Wind turbine infrastructure can be quite problematic.  Thousands of mishaps, breakdowns, and accidents have been reported in recent years.  The basic concrete foundations are suffering from frequent strains.  The wind turbines themselves rarely remain functional after 20 years.

Severe Environmental Harms

Low frequency noise produced by the turbines is driving people from their homes.  The turbines are also taking a toll on the environment.  The Audubon Society estimates turbines kill more than a million birds per year.  No wind farm has ever paid a fine for such environmental destruction, yet oil companies pay by the bird.

For all this environmental destruction, wind turbines fail to deliver the amount of electricity promised.  Dirt, grit, and insect residue reduce the efficiency of wind turbine blades.  A one millimeter buildup of insect residue on turbine blades reduces wind power generation by as much as 25 percent.

The fate of expensive, inefficient, environmentally destructive wind energy is sealed.  The day is soon coming when the public will no longer tolerate such subsidies and mandates.

Jay Lehr, Ph.D. (lehr@heartland.org) is senior fellow and science director of The Heartland Institute.

Lehr, Jay

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. It is heartwarming to know that there are some people that have not been bought out by the wind industry, and will tell the truth. There is NO reason why any country should continue on down this destructive path.

  2. It is amazing that science with common sense can see the reality of these useless industrial wind turbines – that they will NEVER produce anywhere near enough electricity for us, unless our conventional generators are operating at almost full steam ahead.

    It doesn’t say much for Australia’s Greatest Liars and their other cronies, their fraudulent wind company friends.

    We will win this battle against the fraudulent wind turbine industry.

  3. Melanie C says:

    I am really impressed with this Jay Lehr piece and will send it to my family and friends. Simple clear facts about how the physics of wind turbines just does not work.

    Massive subsidies to erect and we will be lucky to get the funds to pull them down.

    So what we will leave our children is massive debt, incredible power prices, probably plagues of other species because of the slaughter of millions of birds and bats, destroyed rural communities, fields of rusting toxic waste and the climate as it was.

    And all because the people with the say-so never did their physics homework.

  4. NevilleW says:

    Less than 20 years is just too kind to wind turbines life. The coal pits in Victoria, arguably the basis for the Victorian prosperity, are still going strong one hundred years later. And our dopey Green supporters want to give up that advantage for no reason other than their bloated egos.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: