American Elephants

Not for ALL the freaking money in the world! by American Elephant
March 8, 2012, 3:55 pm
Filed under: YouTube | Tags: , ,


Seriously. You could offer me every last dollar on Earth, and I still wouldn’t do this. I couldn’t! My hands are sweaty just watching it.

Call me whatever names you like, I won’t do it, won’t, won’t, won’t, won’t, won’t! Blah!

Would you?

Save the Birds, Kill the Wind Farms! by The Elephant's Child

For years, the wind industry has had a license to kill migratory birds and birds of prey like this magnificent  golden eagle.  Not an official license, but nobody was really paying attention. Now there are some serious organizations taking a hard look at bird deaths.  About 70 golden eagles are killed every year by turbines at California’s Altamont Pass.

Now some 77 organizations — led by the American Bird Conservancy, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, the Endangered Species Coalition and many chapters of the Audubon Society — are petitioning the Fish and Wildlife  Service to tighten the rules for siting, permitting and operation of large-scale wind projects. It’s about time.

According to Robert Bryce, writing in the Wall Street Journal, over the past two decades, the federal government has prosecuted hundreds of cases against oil and gas producers and electricity producers for violating America’s wildlife protections laws: the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Eagle Protection Act — some of America’s oldest wildlife protection laws.

Somehow the Wind industry has managed to escape notice even though references to wind farms as “Bird Cuisinarts” are common. Neither the Obama administration nor the Bush administration has ever been prosecuted in spite of vast examples of widespread bird kills by turbines.

Last June, the Los Angeles Times reported that about 70 golden eagles are being killed per year by the wind turbines at Altamont Pass, about 20 miles east of Oakland, Calif. A 2008 study funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency estimated that about 2,400 raptors, including burrowing owls, American kestrels, and red-tailed hawks—as well as about 7,500 other birds, nearly all of which are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—are being killed every year by the turbines at Altamont.

The Pine Tree facility is believed by the Fish and Wildlife Service to be killing 1,595 birds a year, or about 12 birds per megawatt of installed capacity each year.

Bats are also getting whacked. The Pennsylvania Game Commission estimates the wind turbines have killed more than 10,000 bats in 2010.

Environmental groups are getting involved and bringing suit, especially involving the siting of wind farms in locations they don’t like. There have been enormous consequences accompanying government subsidized wind farms.  Farmers did not expect the noise and wind shadow and despair of being able to use their homes. The bird slaughter is serious and has consequences all down the food chain. The absence of prosecution for projects which are clearly breaking the law suggests bribes and corruption.  There are always consequences.

Riding roughshod over everyone’s objections to build inefficient costly wind farms will have consequences as well — perhaps in the next election?

A New Economic Analysis Says Wind Power is Worse than a Mistake! by The Elephant's Child

One of the United Kingdom’s leading energy and environmental economists has warned that wind power is an extraordinarily expensive and inefficient way of reducing CO2 emissions. There is a significant risk he said, that annual CO2 emissions could be greater as a result of Britain’s flawed wind policies when compared with the option of investing inefficient and flexible gas combined cycle plants.

Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University found that

—Meeting the UK Government’s target for renewable generation in 2020 will require total wind capacity of 36 GW backed up by 13 GW of open cycle gas plants plus large complementary investments in transmission capacity at a cost of about £120 billion.

—The same electricity demand could be met from 21.5 GW of combined cycle gas plants at a cost of £13 billion — an order of magnitude cheaper than the wind version.

—Under the most favorable assumptions for wind power, the Government’s wind policy will reduce emissions of CO2 at an average cost of £270 per metric ton (at 2009 prices) which means that meeting the UK’s renewable energy target would cost a staggering £78 billion per year in 2020.

The key problems with current wind power policies are simple.  They require a huge commitment of investment resources in a technology that is not very green in the sense of saving a lot of CO2, but which is very expensive and inflexible. Unless the UK Government  scales back its commitment to wind power very substantially, it’s policy will be worse than a mistake, it will be a blunder.

The full report is here. Perhaps someone should forward it to Secretary Chu? Obama? Granted, it’s all delineated in British pounds, but the message is fairly clear.

As far as I can tell, all wind farms go in with the assumption that they will be successful and last for a long time. That does not appear to be the case. I read very recently that their expected shelf-life is only about 20 years. I have also read that you will never see a wind farm where all the turbines are actually turning. There are dreadful pictures available of abandoned wind farms. That’s a lot of metal and electronics and who knows what else to dispose of.

Do we pay attention to warnings like this? Or do we just swallow the promoters songs about capacity? Surely there is someone somewhere who wants to save money? Britain is far from alone in taking a second hard look at wind power.

The problem is government renewable energy mandates  which have locked them in on doing something stupid. The name may change, to clean energy technologies, or some other descriptor, but it’s still the same old cap-and-trade by a different name.

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