Wind farms are expensive, inefficient and ugly. And that’s just their good points. They are also a monument to green naiveté and stupidity. The UK is heading down a path to catastrophic energy shortages, as Chris Huhne plugs wind for all its worth, whilst reliable baseload generation falls into disrepair (see here and here for example). Australia isn’t anywhere near this (yet), but given half a chance, Bob Brown and his ilk would be in there like a shot, and the lights would steadily go out…
There is currently a Senate inquiry into the social and economic impact of rural wind farms (see here), and the Carbon Sense Coalition has recently published its submission, which is awash with common sense:
Why are governments still mollycoddling wind power?
There is no proof that wind farms reduce carbon dioxide emissions and it is ludicrous to believe that a few windmills in Australia are going to improve global climate.
Such wondrous expressions of green faith put our politicians on par with those who believe in the tooth fairy.
The wind is free but wind power is far from it. Its cost is far above all conventional methods of generating electricity.
Tax payers funding this “Wind Welfare” and consumers paying the escalating power bills are entitled to demand proof.
Not only is there no climate justification for wind farms, but they are also incapable of supplying reliable or economical power.
It is also surprising those who claim to be defenders of the environment can support this monstrous desecration of the environment.
Wind power is so dilute that to collect a significant quantity of wind energy will always require thousands of gigantic towers each with a massive concrete base and a network of interconnecting heavy duty roads and transmission lines. It has a huge land footprint.
Then the operating characteristics of turbine and generator mean that only a small part of the wind’s energy can be captured.
Finally, when they go into production, wind turbines slice up bats and eagles, disturb neighbours, reduce property values and start bushfires.
Wind power is intermittent, unreliable and hard to predict. To cover the total loss of power when the wind drops or blows too hard, every wind farm needs a conventional back-up power station (commonly gas-fired) with capacity of twice the design capacity of the wind farm to even out the sudden fluctuations in the electricity grid. This adds to the capital and operating costs and increases the instability of the network.
Why bother with the wind farm – just build the backup and achieve lower costs and better reliability?
There is no justification for continuing the complex network of state and federal subsidies, mandates and tax breaks that currently underpin construction of wind farms in Australia. If wind power is sustainable it will be developed without these financial crutches.
Wind power should compete on an equal basis with all other electricity generation options.
The full report can be downloaded here (30 page PDF).