Impossible Dream: Wind Power Does Nothing To Meet Net-Zero CO2 Emissions Targets

An obsession with carbon dioxide gas is responsible for an obsession with costly and unreliable wind and solar.

There is no hope of shaking the former among politicos and the MSM – that carbon dioxide gas is ‘pollution’ and the cause of all ills is mantra #1 of the climate cult’s catechism.

The latter, however, is up for debate.

The renewable energy calamity playing out in Europe has given rise to a new found appreciation for generation systems that can deliver power as and when we need it.

The Germans have backflipped on their plans to kill off their nuclear and coal-fired plants; the French are determined to maintain all 56 of their nuclear plants and build 14 more, besides.

In any country crazy enough to sign up to a net-zero carbon oxide gas emissions target, the only answer is the wholesale embrace of nuclear power to meet it.

Call us pragmatists, but STT takes the view that we are unlikely to knock over net-zero targets in a political environment overrun by a generation that’s been inculcated with climate catastrophism. Accordingly, the only antidote to the madness is promoting nuclear power.

Of course, advancing nuclear power is contrary to the interests of the renewable energy rent seeker, who continues to peddle the myth that wholesale reductions in carbon dioxide emissions can be achieved by simply adding more wind turbines and solar panels to the grid.

Never mind the routine power rationing and rocketing power prices that follow any increase in wind and solar generating capacity, the argument is that ‘it’s a job that can be done and should be done’.

So, if governments are determined to meet net-zero carbon dioxide emission targets, is wind power capable of doing so?

Donn Dears lays out the answer below.

Net-Zero Carbon Reality Check #1
Power for USA
Donn Dears
18 May 2022

Climate change scaremongers insist we eliminate the use of fossil fuels.

But what does that really entail?

Here is the first reality check: Can wind turbines achieve net-zero carbon?

Three steps are required to determine the number of wind turbines needed to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050.

Step 1

Step one determines the number of new wind turbines needed to replace all the electricity generated by fossil fuels in 2021.

Wind produced 380 billion kWh, or 9.2% of all the electricity generated in 2021.

The average nameplate rating of existing wind turbines in the United States is approximately 2.5 MW. Based on a Capacity Factor of 32% for these turbines, there were 54,244 wind turbines in the US in 2021.

Subtracting nuclear and renewables from total generation determines the kWh generated by fossil fuels. Dividing the kWh produced by fossil fuels, by the kWh generated per wind turbine determines the number of additional wind turbines needed to replace the electricity produced by fossil fuels in 2021.

  • Number of new wind turbines needed to replace fossil fuels = 358,447

Step 2

Step two is to determine the new wind turbines needed to supply the electricity needed when light vehicles are all battery-powered, and homes use electricity for heating rather than natural gas. The national renewable energy lab (NREL) has determined that total electricity consumption will double when all light vehicles are BEVs and homes rely on electricity for heating. Hydro can’t be doubled, and without increasing other miscellaneous renewables, the additional electricity generated by wind turbines will equal the amunt generated by all methods in 2021, i.e., 4,116 billion kWh.

  • Number of new wind turbines to double electricity consumption by 2050 = 587,329

Step 3

Step three is to determine the number of new wind turbines needed to generate the electricity required to produce enough hydrogen to make steel and cement that meet net-zero carbon requirements. There’s little reliable data on using hydrogen in the making of cement, while there is considerable data for using hydrogen in the making of steel. The estimate shown here for the number of new wind turbines is based on the amount of hydrogen required to make 62 million tons of steel, which excludes the amount of steel made using scrap in electric arc furnaces, and then doubling the number of wind turbines to compensate for the production of cement. (The United States produced 87.9 million tons of steel in 2021.)

  • Number of new wind turbines required to generate the electricity used by electrolyzers to produce the hydrogen to make steel and cement = 49,365


The total number of new wind turbines to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050 is:

  • 358,447 + 587,329 + 49,365 = 995,141

The average number of wind turbines installed in one year after 2004 was 3,000, which, at that rate, means it will take 332 years to install all the wind turbines needed to achieve net-zero.

The maximum number ever installed in one year was 5,680 which, at that rate, would mean it would take 175 years to install all the needed wind turbines.

Wind turbines larger than 2.5 MW are under development, mostly for off-shore installations, however a very few units rated 5 MW or more have been installed in the US. Recognizing there is a possibility that units rated 5 MW might be installed in the US: 

It would be necessary to install 17,770 units rated 5 MW every year over the 28 years between now and 2050. This is three times the number of smaller units ever installed in one year.

Additional considerations

Nuclear power plants are scheduled to be shut down beginning in 2032, with all existing nuclear power plants shut down by 2064. There is no provision in the above calculations for the additional wind turbines needed to replace the nuclear power plants shut down before 2050.

Wind turbines have an expected life of 20 years. This means that:

  • All 54,244 wind turbines installed before 2022 will also have to be replaced before 2050.
  • All wind turbines built between now and 2030 will also have to be replaced before 2050.

These additional wind turbines have not been included in the above calculations.

Batteries are required to provide back up for when the wind doesn’t blow. No battery has yet been invented that can provide the needed amount of storage to replace the electricity lost if the wind fails to blow for a week or two.


If wind turbines are used in an attempt to eliminate fossil fuels, it will require building over 995,141 new wind turbines rated 2.5 MW between now and 2050.

  • The largest number of wind turbines ever installed in one year was 5,680, which means it would take 175 years to build the necessary number of units rated 2.5 MW.
  • If larger 5 MW units were used it would require installing over 17,770 units every year between now and 2050, which is three times the number of smaller units ever installed in one year.
  • And of course, storage using batteries that have yet to be developed will also be required.

This reality check should give everyone pause, as it demonstrates that it’s not possible to eliminate fossil fuels using wind turbines.

Net-zero carbon cannot be achieved using wind turbines.
Power for USA

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Jacqueline Rovensky says:

    The information with respect to the US is interesting by virtue of it letting us know just how it will be impossible for Wind energy especially to be able to meet the requirements now and into the future for our energy needs. As we have seen over recent years the adherents of the Wind as sufficient have had to acknowledge it cannot meet the needs of todays energy requirements, so they have opted to include Solar energy, yet even that is now seen by them as not sufficient so Hydrogen is being touted.
    However, what is now obvious is none of these energy producing systems are sufficient either individually or collectively.
    Yet persistence is rife and unabating to accept the use of a truly clean and efficient energy source – nuclear.
    That is even with the rise in the capacity of onshore and offshore turbines. In Australia turbines of 5.5MW capacity have been installed in Victoria at Mirra Warra, with a proposal for 900MW of turbines of around 5.7MW per turbines for Kentbrook Nelson coastal area also in Victoria and with Rye Park in NSW to have 6MW turbines!
    These as we know were the size being installed offshore, but now the offshore ones are looking to be over 7MW – its inevitable this size and bigger will be installed onshore?
    The need to continue to build larger capacity turbines and larger fields of them both on and offshore shows the ones already installed are insufficient to come close to the needs of a modern societies energy requirements – even with the now growing use of fields of solar panels. At this rate the world will need to loose more and more farming land AND ocean sea beds FOR WHAT to pander to the cries of idiots who cannot see beyond their navels and accept their push is driven by these industries who care little for the environment.
    Its time they accepted what should be seen as inevitable – the use of nuclear the cleanest energy source we have available to us, which does not need to be constantly replaced or added onto and uses considerably less land.

  2. The situation is much worse. Actual data show that “a week or two” is not near enough backup. Amounts vary from 400 to 1000 hours. Even at 400 hours, the cost to provide backup for 1,700 GWe all-electric American energy economy, according to Tesla’s catalogue (and taking longevity into account) is FOUR TIMES TOTAL USA GDP EVERY YEAR!

    995,441 new wind turbines between now and 2050 doesn’t account for their twenty-year lifetime. So the number is 150% larger. And then, forever after, 50,000 new ones will be needed every year.

    Fossil fuel interests promote fear of nuclear power because they saw it as a threat to their interests. They love wind power because they know it needs 100% backup, 100% of the time, and the only physically feasible backups are gas and coal.

  3. catweazle666 says:

    “If wind turbines are used in an attempt to eliminate fossil fuels, it will require building over 995,141 new wind turbines rated 2.5 MW between now and 2050.”

    And then, when the wind stops…

  4. Bob Daye says:

    The Net Zero programs need to be terminated with great prejudice. This excellent article exposes the silliness and the fraud of the climate alarmists. The theory that human generated CO2 cause global warming remains a theory based on flawed models that are primitive compared to reality. CO2 is 0.04% of the atmosphere and human generated CO2 is 0.03% of that small number. Ice cores prove that CO2 concentrations go up and down after global temperatures go up or down and is delayed by 400 to 800 years. So CO2 is not causing any warming or cooling.The scale of time climate alarmists use is laughable. It takes thousands of years for global conditions to change. The earth is over 4 billion years old, a thousand years is nothing. There is absolutely no way the industrial age from 1850 is causing catastrophic global climate change on the scale of a Younger Dryas event. The arrogance of people to think humans can affect the planet on such a scale. Human activity is puny compared to that and other events. The earth used to be much warmer with much higher levels of CO2 so how can humanities insignificant CO2 contribution with CO2 already at historical lows bring on such an event. It can’t.
    But when a $Billion is stolen from taxpayers everyday to perpetrate this fraud it ain’t going to go away soon. Too many rent seekers, corruption and just plain insanity.

  5. “Wind produced 380 billion kWh, or 9.2% of all the electricity generated in 2021.”

    Is that amount energy actually used by the public or is it some of it or all of it dumped? I would like to see those numbers, hard to find. Maybe the amount the public actually gets delivered to their home is 1.2%. I have seen a wind farm off I-10 apparently powering 1/2 of itself using the other turbines to burn up power. Some are spinning one direction and the others the opposite light wind day. It presents what appears to be energy theater for passers by. The grid obviously could not accept the energy being produced right then as the reliable natural gas and other fuel based generation was running, so they just let the wind farm make it look like they are doing such great work. It’s like that employee that pretends to be working and no one really is checking on it.

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