Wind sucks – Part 94

All wind turbines should look like this…

I’ve lost count of the number of times ACM has reported on the total uselessness of wind farms as a way to mitigate GHGs.

Added to which, they are inefficient, hugely expensive and ugly. And they kill birds and bats. None of this matters to the Green zealots who see the wind farms as monuments to Gaia, rather than monuments to incredible stupidity.

The Australian reports that Victorian wind farms, for all their hype and subsidies, have eliminated virtually zero GHGs, thanks to the need for backup coal power stations to keep running at full speed to cope with the fluctuations in wind generation:

The early signs are that a $23 carbon tax has displaced some marginal high-cost generation in South Australia and Queensland, but it is too soon to say whether this is a trend or coincidence.

But any gains are swamped by the findings of a two-year analysis of Victoria’s wind-farm developments by mechanical engineer Hamish Cumming.

His analysis shows that despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from green energy schemes driven by the renewable energy target, Victoria’s wind-farm developments have saved virtually zero carbon dioxide emissions in the state.

A forensic examination of publicly available power-supply data shows Victoria’s carbon-intensive brown-coal power stations do not reduce the amount of coal they burn when wind power is available to the grid.

Cumming says surplus energy is wasted to make room for intermittent supplies from wind.

Cumming’s findings have been confirmed by Victoria’s coal-fired electricity producers and by independent energy analysts who say it is more efficient to keep a brown-coal power-station running than turn it down and then back up.

Without gas or some other form of peaking power supply the Victorian electricity system is not equipped for the vagaries of wind power.

Even in SA, which uses gas, not coal, for base-load power and makes much greater use of wind, Cumming estimates the cost of greenhouse gas abatement at $1484 a tonne.

Cumming used data published by the Australian Energy Market Operator, which tracks power sector generation every five minutes.

The results showed fossil fuel generators, in the same periods when wind turbines had been operating, fluctuated their output to match demand but did not reduce their rate of coal consumption.

In an email to Cumming, electricity generator IPR-GDF SUEZ Australia confirmed his findings.

“Given that the power stations mentioned are all ‘baseload’, their generation output is relatively constant 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, other than due to minor fluctuations depending on market demand and/or shutdown of generation units for maintenance or repairs,” a company spokesman said.

Cumming says his investigation demonstrates how green energy theories do not always match the facts. (source – paywall)

Gee – you don’t say…

How many times do we have to hear this kind of indictment of wind power before anyone takes any notice?


  1. Simon,

    There is a report out by the University of Washington on the Health Hazards of Wind Turbines –

  2. A $900 million, 105 turbine wind farm has been approved for South Australia. At $8.57 million each, it hardly seems like the best way to spend money, but then, I don’t really know how much any alternatives cost, and I also don’t know exactly what that $900 million includes, or doesn’t include.

    This report, published in 2010, seems to indicate that by 2015, that the cost per MWh for nuclear, is on par with wind generation, and other technology…if you assume a great deal of things about a great deal of things, all of which, are mentioned in the report – as is the caveat that the report is only a broad overview, not applicable to specific projects. Also interesting to note that the Australian government didn’t believe that an Australian firm had the requisite Excel, Google, and Word skills to compile such a report…but what’s new…

  3. thingadonta says:

    I dont think you will win the argument over wind farms based on common sense or economics, because these are being built based both on projected future lack of fossil fuels and supposed impending climate catastrophe, not economics. Its like building an ark in the desert, it isnt based on current circumstances, but on the idea that the flood is coming. If a few arks are built that dont float too well, well so be it, according to the doomsdayers.

    Moreover, I think ultimately nuclear may end up being the only source of major baseload power in the future, if climate doomsdayers turn out to be ultimately correct. Necessity will demand it, and the wind turbines will mostly go the way of the stone age, the bronze age, and the iron age, they will be replaced because they don’t work as well as something else. But economics doesnt matter much to doomsdayers, economics has been suspended based on emergency decree, so its no use reasoning with them.

  4. Greenies don’t listen to basic science. For them it’s green hype and bugger the cost.

  5. You can’t suck and blow at the same time. Oh wait, never mind.

  6. Wind never blows if you need power and solar is not working at night or on cloudy days. The industrial revolution was only possible by utilising a higher density form of energy, coal and oil so why go back 200 years in time? The future is a very high density for of energy. Without some form of nuclear power the Terminator (movie Terminator) would have been only function for a few minutes.
    Modern nuclear submarines operate up to 30 years without nuclear refill of the reactor, consider using solar collectors instead. We need small assembly line produced Thorium reactors now to stop global warming and lift most of third world countries out of poverty.
    Have a look at your latest power bill and it should be clear that something has gone wrong.

  7. There is no shortage of coal, oil or gas, nor will there be for many generations, just a minor bit of research proves it. And it’s not just windmills: biofuels, hydrogen fuel cells and solar panels are no better. The billions of dollars we are wasting on witch hunts could actually be helping people in need. Read more in Kids Before Trees, get it at

  8. I live very near a wind farm, with another to it’s west and a very large one is being built right now to the north. (plus one completed gas fired station 45 minutes away and 1 in construction much closer) Was talking about The Australian article today with a rural neighbour and he was amazed to hear of how useless they are. We can both see them from our homes. And are aware of how much the land holders are paid per tower, or for renting the land for the 2 sub-stations.
    What a joy it would be to see all the towers lit up like that picture! Hopefully not in fire season though.

  9. Where I live in N America wind farms have been popping up all over the place. And now our power bills are really starting to rise to cover the costs. People are complaining, but I don’t understand why they are complaining. Only a few years ago they were clamoring for wind turbines saying they will save the world from the apocalyptic retribution of Gaia. So now they complain. They were the ones who wanted the turbines, they voted for politicians who would force the power companies to install them, and now they complain about rising power rates. I don’t get it.

    Why are greenies sooo bad at basic economics?

  10. So, you think Cumming’s research is the authority on this topic?

    So surely you’d be interested in finding out if he was utterly incorrect? Right?
    Read this and tell me why I’m wrong:

    or would you rather I post here all the ways this post is wrong and let your readers decide?

  11. we really do not need this type of wind power, but our governments are forcing the general public to continue with wind and solar energy,
    the armed forces have a much better top secret power source which they have killed for to stop this technology getting out, its called Thorium Plasma Battery power a battery the size of a shoe box will run a 5 b/r home for ten years without charging, or the size of a 5 b/r house battery will run one million homes,
    more information is here!thorium-plasma-battery/ccak
    this makes interesting reading and saddens me that we have to resort to another type of power source when we already have the technology for it. but governments want it for their war machines

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