American Elephants

14,000 Abandoned Wind Turbines Litter the United States by The Elephant's Child

abandoned wind turbines 2

The towering symbols of a fading religion, over 14,000 wind turbines, abandoned, rusting, slowly decaying. When it is time to clean up after a failed idea, no green environmentalists are to be found. Wind was free, natural, harnessing Earth’s bounty for the benefit of all mankind, sounded like a good idea. Wind turbines, like solar panels, break down.  They produce less energy before they break down than the energy it took to make them.  The wind does not blow all the time, or even most of the time. When it is not blowing, they require full-time backup from conventional power plants.

Without government subsidy, they are unaffordable. With governments facing financial troubles, the subsidies are unaffordable. It was a nice dream, a very expensive dream, but it didn’t work.

California had the “big three” of wind farm locations — Altamont Pass, Tehachapi, and San Gorgonio, considered the world’s best wind sites. California’s wind farms, almost 80% of the world’s wind generation capacity ceased to generate even more quickly than Kamaoa Wind Farm in Hawaii. There are five other abandoned wind farms in Hawaii. When they are abandoned, getting the turbines removed is a major problem. They are highly unsightly, and they are huge, and that’s a lot of material to get rid of.

Unfortunately the same areas that are good for siting wind farms are a natural pass for migrating birds. Altamont’s turbines have been shut down four months out of every year for migrating birds after environmentalists filed suit. According to the Golden Gate Audubon Society 75-110 Golden Eagles, 380 Burrowing Owls, 300 Red-Tailed Hawks and 333 American Kestrels are killed by the turbines every year. An Alameda County Community Development Agency study points to 10,000 annual bird deaths from Altamont wind turbines. The Audubon Society makes up numbers like the EPA, but there’s a reason why they call them bird Cuisinarts.

Palm Springs has enacted an ordinance requiring their removal from San Gorgonio Pass, but unless something else changes abandoned turbines will remain a rotting eyesores, or the taxpayers who have already paid through the nose for overpriced energy and crony-capitalist tax scams will have to foot the bill for their removal.

President Obama’s offshore wind farms will be far more expensive than those sited in California’s ideal wind locations. Salt water is far more damaging than sun and rain, and offshore turbines don’t last as long. But nice tax scams for his crony-capitalist backers will work well as long as he can blame it all on saving the planet.

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I’m not a fan of wind turbines (except in very particular applications and sites), but there are several unfounded assertions in the article. And the article would be much more credible if it provided sources. I have no reason to doubt that there are 14,000 abandoned wind turbines, but I’d like to see the source.

The assertion that they produce less energy before they break down than the energy it took to make them is totally unfounded from what I can tell, at least if one is talking on average and for the current generation of wind turbines. The Nuclear Energy Institute — which is in competition with renewables — includes links of a number of studies from 2000 through 2013 that suggest that the life-cycle emissions (a proxy for energy inputs in no-carbon-emitting technologies) of nuclear power and technologies like wind turbines and hydo-electric plants are similar.

The World Nuclear Association has produced a table of Life Cycle Energy Ratios for Various Technologies. Again, wind turbines don’t come out looking too badly.

However, that they are allowed to just stand there and rust after they stop operating shows a lack of foresight on the part of the government, utilities and whomever else was responsible for their siting. Coal mines have for more than 30 years had to post bonds sufficient to cover the cost of restoring the land they disturb if the companies go bust. Nuclear power plants have to create a fund to pay for the cost of their eventual decommissioning. Sounds like too many electricity regulatory bodies and electric utilities either were asleep or consciously ignorred the problem of decommissioning.

Perhaps the 14,000 abandoned and still (partially) standing turbines were all built at a time when decomissioning obligations didn’t exist, but that they exist now.

They certainly seem to exist for offshore wind turbines. According to this document, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) is
required to ensure that adequate financial assurance exists for wind farm decommissioning in the case the operator defaults or is unable to perform according to the terms of the lease instrument. A quick web search suggests that similar decomissioning obligations apply to offshore wind farms in the UK, and I presume for the rest of Europe.

Comment by Subsidy Eye

Thanks, Subsidy. I did not read all 253 pages of bureaucratese, but I did skim it. And I did note the provisions in regulation for “decommissioning” within 2 years. The abandoned turbines seem to be in California. I’ve seen pictures of Tehachapi and those in Hawaii and they are a dreadful eyesore. One of the big problems is that they talk exclusively of “capacity” which is what a turbine would produce if it is running perfectly and the wind is blowing steadily at just the right speed. That doesn’t happen. And you don’t see numbers for the energy that is actually produced, which would naturally be highly variable. I have seen some evidence from European offshore wind farms on breakdowns, corrosion, replacement problems are far higher than initial estimates. It is hard to get a clear idea of success or failure, because governments who spent tons of taxpayer money aren’t apt to step up and admit that it was all a fraud.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Just noticed I wasn’t clear: when I said “there are several unfounded assertions in the article”, I meant the article to which you provided a link, not your own article.

You’ve seen photos of I’ve seen photos of the abandoned wind turbines in the Tehachapi pass and those on the remote South Point of the Big Island of Hawaii. I’ve actually been to both places. And I agree that the turbines are a dreadful eyesore.

But, personally, I can’t say that operating ones stuck on the tops of previously unsullied hills and mountains look any better. Moreover, ones sited in remote places typically require the building of access roads, which can destroy the pristine nature of those places. (Of course, to be fair, so does mountain-top mining for coal, or the extraction of tar sands.) These are industrial developments, pure and simple. On the other hand, if the industrial development already exists, and there is room for some wind turbines, the marginal visual impact will be much less.

You say that “you don’t see numbers for the energy that is actually produced, which would naturally be highly variable.” Maybe not in statements from Presidents, but such data are readily available to those who know where to find it. The data are not hidden. And, indeed, there is a very active and lively debate on-going within the energy and environmental communities about the problem of intermittency and how to deal with it. Most independent studies conclude that dealing with it increases costs, partuicularly short-term balancing costs, but the affects on any partuicular system depends on the penetration of intermittent sources, the availability of load-following generating resources (like hydro-electric dams), and the nature of the wind and solar regime.

“[G]overnments who spent tons of taxpayer money aren’t apt to step up and admit that it was all a fraud.” I don’t think “it was all a fraud”, but I do agree that governments are not being sufficiently up-front about the costs and benefits of the different electricity-generating options, and how much they are providing in support. (Though do have a look at the studies by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which reports on federal support per kWh generated every few years.) I think the more important question is whether the federal government — read, Congress — should continue to provide production tax credits for wind power, rather than leaving such decisions to the individual states or electric utilities.

I have a good friend in Hawai’i who lives in a reliably sunny part of his county and gets paid half the retail price of electricity (the highest in the nation) for the electricity he generates from a relatively small area of solar panels on his roof. He’s happy and the electric utility is happy, and he knows also that with his solar panels (and storage batteries) he has a back-up source of power in case of a storm-caused outage, which is common in those parts. So don’t condemn solar power outright: with prices dropping, there are places where it is making sence.

Comment by Subsidy Eye

AE you deserve an Emmy for this article, i wish there were a half dozen real pictures with this excellent piece.
I’ve hated these farms from the get go, it’s not rocket science to figure out that our birds of flight have been using air streams for their travel before man existed then liberal idiots come along and put death traps right in the middle of there highways it’s disgusting.

Comment by Mike Schirman (@hey_sherm)


As with biofuels, the reality is more complex. Wind turbines have not been backed only by “liberals” (whatever that means). Republican politicians, especially ones in the Midwest, who can sniff federal tax credits from half a continent away, have also been big wind boosters (birds be damned!). See this article from last November:

To quote from the article:

75 percent of U.S. wind capacity is in Congressional districts held by Republicans; that 67 percent of wind manufacturing plants are in GOP districts; and that 71 percent of districts held by Republicans have either wind turbines or component manufacturing facilities.

So, where were the Republicans when these facilities got established?

At least solar panels don’t chew up flying fauna.

Comment by Subsidy Eye

Subsidy, It is President Obama who is driving the federal support for controlling the climate to eliminate CO2 and save the world. The entire case for alarmist global warming existed in computer climate programs, not in observed science. There are undoubtedly many Republicans who still believe that global warming is a problem, but Obama is determined to save the world. Whether it is because he really believes that it is real and important — who knows? He has a five year history so far of directing projects to funnel federal money to his financial backers, and Big Green is huge and committed.

In the case of the Keystone XL pipeline, he is caught between the proverbial rock and hard place. The unions — also major Obama backers — want the pipeline and the big numbers of guaranteed jobs, Big Green is violently opposed. My guess, he will punt, attempting to be unable to decide or need more studies, or whatever stalling tactic he can come up with until after the election. The cost of solar is coming down, and the panels are improving, and it is obviously important for areas of Africa where any other kind of power is unavailable, and in some areas where there is lots of sun to augment regular power. I am not opposed to solar in principle—if somebody wants solar panels and buys and installs them without subsidy, fine. I am opposed to government insisting that there is global warming and that we can do something about that and using taxpayer money to force “clean renewable energy” on the country, and doing massive damage to the country and the people in the process.

The economy is not recovering, the jobs numbers are dreadful. The only improvement in last month’s numbers was in part-time jobs which completely eclipsed any gain in full-time jobs. ObamaCare is causing the loss of full-time jobs which are being turned into part-time. The EPA is killing jobs right and left and is an out-of control lawless agency. Obama’s “War on Coal” is pointless and killing thousands of jobs, while killing off the cheap, plentiful power that powers the economy.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Wow, five rejoinders. I got it the first time!:-)

I’m not denying that Obama is pushing wind turbines, just pointing out that Republicans have not exactly been totally opposed to them. As recounted in the legislative history:

At the end of 2003 the PTC [Production Tax Credit] expired for a third time until a one year extension was granted in October 2004. With the 2004 extension, former President George Bush included the Production Tax Credit within a group of tax incentives for businesses. The PTC was extended through 2005 and also expanded the different types of renewable energies that would be included under the bill.[33] The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (H.R. 6) modified the credit and extended it through the end of 2007. In December 2006, the PTC was extended for another year by the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 (H.R. 6111).

It’s not just a “liberal” policy, but a policy also strongly promoted by those ever-lovin’ Midwestern Republicans who hate everybody else’s subsidies except the ones they bring home.

Comment by Subsidy Eye

I don’t know how I managed to do that! Sorry!

We are all human and have all the ordinary human failings. Large among the failures in Congress is voting on stuff you haven’t read nor examined the case for or against. I think members of Congress have an obligation to study up, to get as informed as they possibly can. Yes, silly me. They do not think through the incentives involve and the consequences, and there is no real mechanism to deal with what turns out to be a big mistake. The EPA has taken Congress’ clear desire to assure that the air and water are clean and not harmful and twisted it into a huge grab for power and control, regulating things they have no legal interest in and doing unaccountable damage. I think the agency is beyond reform and should be abolished. As far as I know most states have an environmental arm, and Big Green has made an intensive effort to control those.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

I think members of Congress have an obligation to study up, to get as informed as they possibly can.

Wouldn’t that be nice!

Comment by Subsidy Eye

I believe wind power is going to be a big part of our energy supply in the future at least 30 %. as far as those wind turbines in Tehachapi CA, I trained on that site, And for the last five years the old lattice towers built by Vestes are being decommissioned dismantled and recycled as they reach the end of a very productive life cycle, over thirty five years. modern wind turbines pay for them self in approximately 5 to 7 years, with an average life span average life span 35 years. many times at that point owners will opt to upgrade to a new generating platform making use of the original tower extending the usable life of the tower by another thirty years.Did you get that? that’s approximately twenty to twenty five years of productive service after the turbine has paid for itself. as far as birds go, I my self am an animal lover I do not kill with out need. I am a human and I do consume, and by consuming I cause animals to get injured mostly by travel, or harvested for food but lets get the record straight. automobiles cause more deaths for birds in the world than any other cause in the world.second is aircraft. automobiles kill over 5000 times more birds in a single year in the United States, than all wind farms operating world wide I don’t see anyone giving up their car. As a matter of fact it is estimated that PETA killed more birds on their way to animal rights rally’s in a single year than an average wind farm over a five year period. I have read avian studies that have stated that birds learn to avoid turbines.I have witnessed birds changing their flight patterns around wind turbines.I am not saying birds don’t run into turbines, they do. what I am saying is I have had more birds run into my sliding glass door and break their neck and die, than I have seen killed on site by wind turbines, that is because, glass is transparent and turbines are easy to see. one wind site in Minnesota is responsible for the reduction of over one million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.when a turbine is no longer productive it can be 100% recycled and in its life span leaves no carbon footprint, not bad.Those are the facts.

Comment by willam

The amount of energy contributed by wind to our national need for energy is miniscule. The world energy picture has changed. America is about to become the Saudi Arabia of natural gas and oil, and wind was an interesting attempt that requires 24/7 backup from dedicated conventional power plants for the time when the wind isn’t blowing. The bird deaths are not just from birds running into turbine blades, but the air currents around them damage bird lungs fatally. Our bountiful shale deposits make wind power pretty much obsolete, and if federal subsidies are withdrawn, wind farms everywhere shut down. That has been the experience all over the world. I’m glad to know that they are dismantling the towers in Tehachapi. Pretty hideous.

Comment by The Elephant's Child


Defenders of wind turbines always like to throw out bird-kill statistics related to other human-made objects, like tall, glass buildings, cars, and house cats. Yes, these features do kill birds (but not very many bats); but the wind industry is only just getting off the ground, as it were. So the numbers of birds killed are bound to increase rapidly.

The point about wind turbines is also the kinds of birds they kill, which tend not towards the uncommon. See these figures from the Audubon Society:

Every year, an estimated 75 to 110 Golden Eagles are killed by the wind turbines in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area (APWRA). Some lose their wings, others are decapitated, and still others are cut in half. The lethal turbines, numbering roughly 6,000, are arrayed across 50,000 acres of rolling hills in northeastern Alameda and southeastern Contra Costa counties.

The APWRA, built in the 1980s, was one of the first wind energy sites in the U.S. At the time, no one knew how deadly the turbines could be for birds. Few would now deny, however, that Altamont Pass is probably the worst site ever chosen for a wind energy project. According to a 2004 California Energy Commission (CEC) report, as many as 380 Burrowing Owls (also a state-designated species of special concern), 300 Red-tailed Hawks, and 333 American Kestrels are killed every year. In all, as many as 4,700 birds die annually as a result of the wind turbines.

Bats also fall prey to wind turbines.

A study in 2004 estimated that over 2,200 bats were killed by 63 onshore turbines in just six weeks at two sites in the eastern U.S. This study suggests some onshore and near-shore sites may be particularly hazardous to local bat populations and more research is needed. Migratory bat species appear to be particularly at risk, especially during key movement periods (spring and more importantly in fall). Lasiurines such as the hoary bat, red bat, and the silver-haired bat appear to be most vulnerable at North American sites. Almost nothing is known about current populations of these species and the impact on bat numbers as a result of mortality at windpower locations.

@Elephant’s Child

There you go again, claiming that “if federal subsidies are withdrawn, wind farms everywhere shut down.”

Proof? I doubt you have any. What the main subsidy, the production tax credit does, is boost revenues over the life of a project, thus making investments in NEW wind turbines more profitable. One can see the effects on new investments of the expiry of the PTC in 2000, 2002, and 2004 in the graph below.

However, the expiry of the PTC would not lead to “wind farms everywhere” shutting down. Investments are sunk costs. The original investors may lose, but somebody will continue to operate the plants as long as they can produce power and sell it to the grid for lower than the market price, which is the usual case, as the marginal cost of generating power from an existing facility is very low.

This expected outcome is supported by the data on electricity generated by wind over the period since 2002, which has witnessed no declines year-on-year, even in years in which the PTC was not available:

Please, use some economic logic, and stop repeating this same old canard.

Comment by Subsidy Eye

For some reason, the HTML code I used to embed the graphs didn’t work. Here is the link to the graphic showing the effect of the expiry of the PTC on new wind installations:

And here is the one showing the growth in annual electricity generated by wind turbines since 2002:

By the way, the code I used was: , except without the spaces after the “”

Comment by Subsidy Eye

Aaaaaaaaaaargh! I can’t even display the HTML code! One more time, this time with spaces everywhere:

Comment by Subsidy Eye

I give up.

Comment by Subsidy Eye

You are assuming that the production Tax credit is all the subsidy. It is not. Mandates to utilities forcing them to buy renewable energy means that taxpayers are paying an enormous subsidy in their power bills. Wind energy contracts are coming in at three and four times the cost of traditionally generated electricity. From the electricity watts produced by a wind farm, you have to subtract the portion of energy that is produced by the back up conventional plant that has to be fired up and ready to go when the wind drops. What about loan guarantees, and state support? And don’t use Wikipedia as a source for energy information.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

I am not assuming that the PTC is the only subsidy out there. But it is the main one linked to power PRODUCTION.

I can agree that without government subsidies they would be unaffordable (i.e., investments in new wind farms would dry up). But I still maintain that even if all the other subsidies and state-level portfolio standards (there is no federal renewable-electricity standard) were to disappear, the EXISTING wind farms would still find buyers for most of the power they could produce. In a totally free market there would be greater curtailments (periods during which their power is refused), but not enough to shut down most farms.

I think it rich that you demand higher authority than Wikipedia, when often your authority is some other Republican blog. I sometimes quote from Wikipedia when and if: (a) it provides a succinct summary; and (b) it’s sources are well referenced. When referring to the state or legislative history of policies, Wikipedia is usually accurate and unbiased. Don’t demand of your readers more time to identify original sources than you yourself take.

Comment by Subsidy Eye

Wikipedia had quite a history of pro-radical greens, edited out any attempts by scientists to correct misinformation. It was quite a scandal. They moved their environmental editor to some other department, but didn’t discharge him. I haven’t found Wikipedia to be trustworthy.

Do not assume that the only authorities I am familiar with are those I link to for the reader’s convenience. I often choose them because they are easy to understand or short.That doesn’t mean there is no research behind it. Try not to be offensive.

Chancellor Merkel has announced that the German government is ending their support in (I think it was) 2018 or 2019. If utilities here were not forced to buy renewable power, they certainly wouldn’t. Ours includes a special form so anyone desiring to support “green power” can do so. It really drives up the cost of power. Seattle has lots of enthusiastic Greens. Money plays a big part in green ventures, and in spite of the failure of so many efforts, the Obama backers who invested survive bankruptcy quite nicely.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Do not assume that the only authorities I am familiar with are those I link to for the reader’s convenience.

I didn’t assume that. But, again, apply the same standard: I sometimes refer to Wikipedia (checking first the sources the article cites) for the reader’s convenience, particularly if the alternative requires that they wade through hundreds of pages (see your own comment above: “Thanks, Subsidy. I did not read all 253 pages of bureaucratese, but I did skim it.”)

I often choose them because they are easy to understand or short.That doesn’t mean there is no research behind it.

See above. By the way, I do not consider any source infallible, be it Wikipedia or the conservative-pundit blogs to which you often link. I link to Wikipedia only if the information conforms to what I have also read elsewhere,

Chancellor Merkel has announced that the German government is ending their support in (I think it was) 2018 or 2019.

Please provide a link. In this recent article from the WSJ (a suitably conservative source, I hope), Merkel says no such thing. Rather she is vague, talking about freezing feed-in-tariffs by the end of 2014:

If utilities here were not forced to buy renewable power, they certainly wouldn’t.

Again, this is an imprecise generalization. Utilities will always but power if the price and the quality of the power supplied is right. They will certainly buy power from hydro-electric and geothermal plants, and plants using waste agricultural residues. So what we are really talking about here is wind and solar power.

The key feature about these sources is that their capital costs are high, but their running costs (especially solar energy) is low. So, once a wind turbine or solar panel has been installed, its owner will sell power at almost any price, and often that price will be the lowest on offer to the utility. And, in the case of roof-mounted solar panels, the people or commercial establishments living under the panels will continue to use the power they self-generate. (Note: many of those installations have banks of batteries to help smooth out fluctuations in power production.)

So far you have provided no evidence that power generation from existing wind and solar plants would come to a screeching, total halt if all subsidies and purchase obligations were to be ended.

And don’t confuse establishing the facts with advocacy. I get the feeling that you are seeing my attempt to do the former as motivated by the latter.

Money plays a big part in green ventures.

No disagreement there.

Comment by Subsidy Eye

[…] 14,000 Abandoned Wind Turbines Litter the United … – Jul 07, 2013 · The towering symbols of a fading religion, over 14,000 wind turbines, abandoned, rusting, slowly decaying. When it is time to clean up after a failed idea …… […]

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we have to have clean energy its a fact what we do need is laws in place and a deposit up front for every wind mill in the amount of cost of taking it down when its life is done This way good for the environment an its been prepaid for removal.We don’t need oil , coal . or uranium to fire plants for power we need clean That’s my point an i’m sticking to it To much pollution in air now

Comment by Joe

I would certainly go for the requirement of taking them down, but our “clean energy” will have to come from nuclear. Solar energy is too diffuse to be practical, Wind energy too intermittent. Both require big taxpayer subsidies, and 24/7 backup from a conventional power plant, fired by coal or natural gas. They simply don’t work, and don’t provide enough energy to stand on their own without subsidy. All put together all the wind and solar farms don’t produce enough energy to be significant, and are taking up way too much land already.
Our air is essentially clean. That is why the EPA is pursuing finer and finer particulates, and lying about the need for so doing. If we had only so called “clean energy” from natural wind and solar, the country would shut down and we’d all starve in fairly short order. Be careful what you wish for.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Yet if a bird lands in a tailings pond at an oilsands facility in Alberta, the left goes absolutely apoplectic. Huge fines are levied, endless national news coverage, and protests are arranged and carried out. Hypocrites.

Comment by Dale

Wow. Impressive statistics on the age, size, etc. of these turbines and their relative number compared to operational turbines.

Oh, wait. There weren’t any. And not even a source for the figure. Typical fossil fuel interests’ propaganda for dummies.

Comment by Kyle

“crony-capitalist tax scam” is a triple oxymoron; please bravely call it what it is: socialism.

Comment by Mike Schneider

Reblogged this on K J Leishman.

Comment by kjleishman

Dale, you’re 180 degrees from reality. First, the bird deaths caused by fossil fuel industries are widely ignored. You may point to the tar sands as an exception but even then you had distort the hell out of it. The episodes that caused an uproar involved entire flocks landing on settling ponds.

Second, the fossil fuel industries kill VASTLY more birds than wind turbines. Not even close. And the biggest killers of birds are things that I can guarantee you’re not going to support regulating, such as buildings and domestic cats.

And those are facts, Jack.

Comment by Kyle

In the past several months, I have personally driven past hundreds of wind farms in California, and Texas. They all seemed to be functioning as intended.

Comment by Robin Hauck

Complete BS, Elephant’s Child. I can understand why you merely posted the URL with no remarks. It’s atrocious. Very brief. Very limited in scope. Little support provided. Cherry-picking at its finest.

I couldn’t locate the recent research I was looking for but the gist is undeniable.

Let’s say that turbines kill 200,000 birds/year. And cars and trucks kill 200,000,000. And power lines kill another 200,000,000. And buildings another 600,000,000 All are reasonable numbers. The important thing is the ~3 orders of magnitude differential. Wind supplies ~5% of US electricity. It may well grow to 30%. That means that cars and trucks will still kill 150-200 times as many birds as wind turbines when they are supplying almost a third of our electricity. And power lines will kill another 150-200 times. And buildings will kill another 450-600 times.

To be intellectually consistent, you must be in favor of massive bird-death-related regulations over cars, trucks, and power lines, and far stricter regs for buildings.

For some reason, I suspect that the exact opposite is true.

Amiright, Child?

Comment by Kyle Towers

Well I would be glad to get a couple of them for free. I would use them. Between solar and wind I could live ‘off grid’, well not bow down to the big energy at least. To move over to solar power is so expensive that the people who would benefit from it the most can’t afford it. Like I said send me a couple sure I could get bunch of other people to get one also.

Comment by mamaw865

Driving up on the North Shore of O’ahu, also known as the WINDWARD side, I saw several wind turbines totally still and frozen.
Also, do NOT call them “FARMS”!! Farms are for FOOD.

Comment by Adrienne M

Solar panels ate OK, but not sure that it and batteries will provide power after a storm damage or power system outage. Local regulations may require the house system to shut off if there is no power in the street. This is designed to orotect firefighters who “pull fuses” at house fire.

Comment by William McIntosh

Well, The Elephant’s Child? Your last response to me was just a URL yet I responded to – and refuted – it. I asked a very pertinent question. No answer.

I think I know why. A quick perusal of your numerous anti-reality talking points reveals someone in deep, deep, bias confirmation mode. Part of you knows that your response to me was dead wrong. That part knows how intellectually inconsistent you would have to be to answer my question. You avoid me to avoid cognitive dissonance.

Comment by Kyle

Wind turbine generation is currently supplying 2.48 GW or 8.3% of UK electricity demand.

In 2014 UK offshore wind load factor (37.3%) exceeded that of nat gas (30.5%)

Comment by Mark Tebbutt


Allow me to introduce myself. I own this blog, and I do not tolerate rude, insulting commenters.

You have thus far refuted NOTHING. You have presented logical fallacies, false equivalencies, fabricated “facts”, and punctuated them with foot stomping and childish insults, because you are unable to back up your false claims.

“I couldn’t locate the recent research I was looking for but the gist is undeniable.”

No, it is entirely deniable, and you couldn’t locate it because it doesn’t exist.

Now, grow up, wash out your childish mouth, be polite and civil, or you will be gone.

Am I clear?

Comment by American Elephant

Reblogged this on The View From Out West.

Comment by bigdogatplay

Reblogged this on Secondary and commented:
And still the Obama Administration wants to push this stuff down our throats while pulling money out of our pockets.

Comment by --Rick

[…] The archaeology of abandoned wind farms. […]

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A simple fact-check is in order. Solar and wind is the future.

Comment by Carla Colstad

You are reading a post from 2013. Wind and solar sound so good, clean, natural, but the intrinsic nature of wind and solar energy mean that they will never produce a significant portion of our energy needs. Wind is intermittent. It blows in gusts and puffs, and sometimes at gale force, when we have fallen trees. When it does not blow at the speed that produces energy, it must have 24/7 backup from a conventional power plant (fossil fuel or nuclear). Same problem for solar energy. The sun drops beneath the horizon at night, there are cloudy days, rainy days, and just ordinary days with clouds drifting across the sun. Solar arrays require 24/7 backup from a conventional power plant. They hope to solve the nighttime problem with advanced batteries for which science as yet knows no solution. Together the “natural” technologies produce only a tiny percentage of our energy needs. And they are a huge crony-capitalism fraud to boot. They are supported by taxpayer subsidies. If the subsidies are removed, they go out of business. It’s that simple. I have written a lot about these, most recently about Ivanpah in the California desert down by Las Vegas. There is a search function in the sidebar over Bob Hope’s head.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

WHAT A SHOCK! This article is a PRATT (Point Refuted A Thousand Times). Thus, it only serves to display the ignorance and dishonesty if denier scumbags. Enjoy:

Comment by Kyle

At this point, I expect that the blog owner will make good an an earlier threat and censor the truth. He’ll have some lame excuse about me being insufficiently respectful of him while he insults our intelligence and the truth.

That’s what deniers do.

Comment by Kyle

The Elephant’s Child wrote: “Wind and solar sound so good, clean, natural, but the intrinsic nature of wind and solar energy mean that they will never produce a significant portion of our energy needs.”


Denmark is on track to meet its 2020 goal of getting 50 percent of its power from renewables.

UK wind power rose more than any other year in 2014, as generation rose 15 percent from 24.5 terawatt-hours (TWh) hours to 28.1 TWh. The country now generates enough wind energy to supply the needs of more than 6.7 million UK households. A combination of grid-connected wind farms and standalone turbines produced 9.3 percent of the UK’s electricity demand in 2014, up from 7.8 percent in 2013.

Renewable energy was the biggest contributor to Germany’s electricity supply in 2014, with nearly 26 percent of the country’s power generation coming from clean sources.

Scottish wind turbines provided an average 746, 510 MWh each month in 2014 – enough to supply 98 percent of Scottish households electricity needs. Over six months of the year, wind generated enough power to supply more than 100 percent of Scottish households while in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness there was enough sunshine to provide 100 percent or more of the electricity needs for an average home in June and July. Research shows that the country’s power grid could be 100 percent renewable by 2030.

Bonaire has 12 wind turbines with a total of 11 MW of wind power capacity, which contribute up to 90 percent of the island’s electricity at times of peak wind, and 40-45 percent of its annual electricity on average. Battery storage (6 MWh) is included boosting the reliability of the overall system – it’s capable of providing 3 MW for over two minutes, allowing time for additional generation to be started when there is a sudden drop in wind.

The Bonaire system also includes 14 MW of diesel generation, five total generators, which provide the necessary power to meet the load when there is not enough wind power available. The generators are equipped to run on both traditional diesel as well as biodiesel. The next steps in the island’s energy transformation involve using local algae resources, grown in the large salt flats on the island, to create biofuel, which can then be used in the existing generators. This will allow Bonaire to operate a 100 percent renewable electricity system—with on average 40–45 percent from wind and 55-60 percent from biodiesel.

The new electricity system led to more reliable electricity, more employment opportunities, reduced dependence on oil (and its fluctuating prices), and a reduction in electricity bills. Bonaire residents currently pay $0.22/kWh for electricity, much lower than prices on other nearby Caribbean islands, which are often $0.36/kWh or above. When oil prices spiked in 2008, while Bonaire was still using temporary diesel generators before making its transition to renewables, electricity prices on the island reached $0.50/kWh. The new electricity system also created jobs for the construction and ongoing operation of the wind farm, and for research and development of algae production capabilities and conversion to biofuel. Additional employment opportunities will be created for continuing algae production and operation of the biodiesel plant.

Renewables now supply 22 percent of global electricity and nuclear only 11 percent—a share that is gradually falling as old plants close and fewer new ones are commissioned.

Remember that Tesla home battery system? That’s meant to be the home of vehicle battery cells whose capacity has fallen and been replaced. That is, they will be very cheap when electric car batteries start being swapped out enmass. Remember that Tesla “giga-factory”?

History will not be kind to you.

Comment by Kyle

You never responded substantively to this comment. Are any of my numbers grossly in error? If not, could you please respond regarding your positions on other causes of avian mortality?

Let’s say that turbines kill 200,000 birds/year. And cars and trucks kill 200,000,000. And power lines kill another 200,000,000. And buildings another 600,000,000 All are reasonable numbers. The important thing is the ~3 orders of magnitude differential. Wind supplies ~5% of US electricity. It may well grow to 30%. That means that cars and trucks will still kill 150-200 times as many birds as wind turbines when they are supplying almost a third of our electricity. And power lines will kill another 150-200 times. And buildings will kill another 450-600 times.

To be intellectually consistent, you must be in favor of massive bird-death-related regulations over cars, trucks, and power lines, and far stricter regs for buildings.

Comment by Kyle

We travel St.Rt.136 in Il. between Mcclean and interstate 74W. toward
the Mississippi river at Hamilton, Il. There are about 500 of those and sometimes we see them moving, they are in the middle a corn fields and NO towns. Often wondered if they are working and producing anything. Does anyone know?

Comment by Anna Brown

[…] 14,000 Abandoned Wind Turbines Litter the United States | American Elephants. […]

Pingback by 14,000 Abandoned Wind Turbines Litter the United States | American Elephants | Flurry of Thoughts

Wind is intermittent. It does not blow at all some of the time, and too much at other times. Turbines sit idle much of the time, and require 24/7 backup from a conventional power plant. Without subsidy from taxpayers, the wind energy companies go out of business. It is not a business that can stand on its own without subsidy.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

The Elephant’s Child wrote: “Without subsidy from taxpayers, the wind energy companies go out of business. It is not a business that can stand on its own without subsidy.”

Besides being a bare assertion, the above, as always, ignores the massive subsidies to non-renewables, including the big one that deniers deny – they’re free-riding because the external costs of climate effects are – and will be – paid mostly by those who received none of the benefit of the sale or consumption of fossil fuels.

Comment by Kyle

1. Nobody is a “denier” that is a canard. Scientists and others who are skeptical about the panic over “global warming” would tell you that the climate is always changing, always has and always will. 2. The “global warming movement” is about politics and the attempt to replace capitalism and free markets with socialism. Don’t get your information from a source like the wind energy association who do indeed have a dog in the fight. “Renewables” include hydropower and thermal, take those our of the equation and wind and solar put together are not a significant part of our energy supply. Robert Bryce at the Manhattan Institute is a expert and has a couple of excellent books out, consult Amazon. Master Resource is another good source as is 3.Germany. Britain, Australia and Canada are all getting out of subsidies. We’ll see if the industry can survive. 4. CO2 is not a pollutant, but plant food and is greening the planet. The climate is controlled by the sun and water vapor in the greenhouse effect, not the CO2 in the atmosphere which has been climbing steadily (though a minor effect) for the last 18 years or so, while the climate has not warmed at all. There has been no warming at all for 18 years and 8 months. 5. The post about abandoned wind turbines was posted in 2013. If you want to read about the biggest solar array, enter ‘Ivanpah’ in the search bar in the sidebar on the front page just over Bob Hope’s head. And no, your guesswork about bird deaths was not impressive. It’s all guesswork in any case.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Actually, Elephant, you are a denier. (And don’t forget that while you’be moved on to “new” (actually very old) arguments and I dissect them, you are ignoring multiple comments that one can only presume that you wish to avoid.)

“1. Nobody is a “denier” that is a canard.”

Actually, it’s an entirely accurate descriptor:

noun: denier; plural noun: deniers
a person who denies something.
“a prominent denier of global warming”

“Scientists and others who are skeptical . . .”

That’s an entirely inaccurate descriptor:

“. . . about the panic over “global warming” . . .”

Propagandist hack rhetoric. Save your “panics” and your scare quotes for the denier target audience of the gullible and confirmation biased.

“. . . would tell you that the climate is always changing, always has and always will.”

Literally “Denier Fallacy #1”, which has been cataloged as such for years, is transparently illogical, and yet used by every denier incessantly. “Climate changed before . . .” is no argument whatsoever against the science regarding current warming. It only serves to show that deniers have no rational arguments.

So much dishonesty; so little time. #’s 2 – 5 will have to wait. TBC!

Comment by Kyle

A simple fact-check is in order. Solar and wind is the future.
Comment by Carla Colstad August 24, 2015 @ 10:42 am

WHAT A SHOCK! This article is a PRATT (Point Refuted A Thousand Times). Thus, it only serves to display the ignorance and dishonesty if denier scumbags. Enjoy:
Comment by Kyle August 24, 2015 @ 4:59 pm

Wow. Your source for responding to a “point refuted a thousand times” is the website of the lobbying group that promotes wind energy; you’ll have to pardon me if I find it’s reliability and neutrality in this argument to be a little suspect.

Comment by Lon Mead

Please correct the spelling of the last word in the article. Planet vs planer.

Comment by Joel Lindstrom

Thank you. The post is from 2013, and you are probably not the first to notice, but the only one who called it to my attention. We do these embarrassing things from time to time, even though I do proofread. The worst is a misspelling in a headline or on a billboard. These things do happen, fortunately not to me — yet.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Why are they still building these things? Why are trucking companies still moving the parts around the country? Why are they abondoning these towers? Why don’t they repair them ? All I can say is they need to line their pockets with more more money !!as long as they build them I’ll be there to escort these thing to where they want them !! I don’t even think that they are worth two cent s myself . But it pays my bills !!

Comment by Art the pilot car driver

My god this article has so many lib-tard replies. It frustrates me to no end when a problem has a simple answer and fanatics complicate it to the Nth degree in order to ambiguate a rebuttal.

@Kyle “It only serves to show that deniers have no rational arguments.”

I don’t care how many points you who and how you break down an argument in philosophical terms, you argument fails when it lacks one certain thing, a factual basis. About 98% of articles and studies submitted by environmentalists and people like you, can’t stand up to a fact-check, or basic elements that make studies legitimate. This is a religion, you pray to Gaya, speak in tongues, and preach bullshit.

The one thing I will point out, is that the very nature of subsides and economics doesn’t support the arguments for renewable energy. The free market would take care of the problem all on its own if the “solutions” weren’t being shoved down people’s throats authoritarian assholes.

Comment by Andrew Sands

solar and properly maintenenced wind work apply tesla power wall batteries and you can capture excess wind or solar without the need for conventional backup.

Comment by Vinton Foughty

Yes, wind is intermittent. That’s why they only put up turbines in certain areas. They don’t just throw up wind turbines wherever. They do wind studies. Wind in most areas is actually very predictable and consistent. I haven’t heard anyone claim that wind power is a perfect energy source. It’s not. But it’s not garbage either. As it is with most issues, the truth is usually somewhere in between the rantings of the hardcore antis and pros.

Comment by Mark

I have seen those abandoned wind farms on the big island of HI–and there is a new group of wind turbines almost right next to the ones rusting away??? So what gives with that???

Comment by Geno Larson

I live in wind turbine country. It seems there is one behind every burg and city in the state. They are an eyesore and a blight on otherwise gorgeous surroundings. Noisome and ugly. But the lease of space for one, at least in my part of the world, is enough to net the land owner several hundred thousand dollars a year for the space and right of way. Then the power produced is wired to metro areas several hundred miles away. Given the cost of capital improvement (that’s what they’re called), right of way and lease of the space it’s not surprising that they’re shutting them down. There should be a provision in the lease that in the even they are shut down, that all trace of them have to be removed within one year. They are ugly, and they are not cost effective, and probably never will be.

Comment by nathan mccreery

[…] appeared, Germany Now Faced With Thousands Of Aging Wind Farms. In 2013 it was reported that 14,000 Abandoned Wind Turbines Litter the United States. Is anyone paying attention to the trumped-up “promise” of renewable […]

Pingback by Flashback: Broken Down And Rusting, Is This The Future Of Wind Farms? - Technocracy News

LOL. Talks about subsidies for research and development and new emerging technologies for replacing the older, more harmful ones. Actually it closer to 20, 000…but, why are you special pleading and cherry picking? (I know why.)

You are wringing your hands over 17,000 of which 7,500 were upgraded or replaced, and around 10,000 the result of poor financial management of a new fledgling company by less than detail oriented entrepreneurs engaging in a new industry.

Due to the ethical and moral makeup of an Oil and Gas industry shill, he leaves out:

Subsidies for the oil and gas industry an established old-timey good old boys club: $37.5 billion annually (because they are old, fat, sweaty and lazy…just want free money and profit. Socialism for therm, capitalism only for Wind, Inc.)

There are at minimum 2.5 million abandoned oil and gas wells, none permanently capped, littering the US, and an estimated 20-30 million globally.

So damn son, I know you think that splinter in your left eye in an annoyance; but how is it you can see with that plank in your right eye?

Shills shill, mostly.

Comment by stacygturner

1. tax breaks are NOT subsidies.
2. “the federal government has pumped more than $470 billion into the oil and gas industry in the form of generous, never-expiring tax breaks.”
2. “Taxpayers currently subsidize the oil industry by as much as $4.8 billion a year”
3. It is not clear if we are to understand the annual $4.8 billion (a far cry from 37.5 billion) as tax breaks or actual subsidies.

“Over the past century, the federal government has pumped more than $470 billion into the oil and gas industry in the form of generous, never-expiring tax breaks. Once intended to jump-start struggling domestic drillers, these incentives have become a tidy bonus for some of the world’s most profitable companies.

Taxpayers currently subsidize the oil industry by as much as $4.8 billion a year, with about half of that going to the big five oil companies—ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP, and ConocoPhillips”


Comment by Albert

A fact check article complains about the 14,000 being a phantom figure. Does the author have a reply to this?
The number is not explained so well that I can see.

Comment by Albert

If you are going to refer to “fact check” articles, you might do better than to choose a wind industry promotion site. Mother Jones is not exactly a reliable site for anything either. That said, Please notice: The article was written three years ago. I really don’t know if the abandoned turbines have been removed, but people who have been in the region say not.

I have written many posts about wind and solar energy. If you enter ‘wind farms’ in the bar over Bob Hope’s head in the sidebar of the home page, you will turn them up.

Wind produces a tiny portion of our electricity needs, creates electricity only when the wind blows at exactly the right speed (which is the number offered by proponents under “capacity”). When the government subsidies stop, the wind farms go our of business — worldwide. Most countries are getting out of the wind business, because the electricity is too expensive, particularly since fracking has produced plentiful and cheap natural gas, and great fields of natural gas continue to be found, like Israel’s and Egypt’s. There are few corporation who pay higher taxes than the big oil companies do.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Thank you for a prompt reply.

The question is a valid journalistic question wouldn’t you say?
And one only the writer can answer.
I was hoping to get a direct answer how you came to the figure.
I am happy to disregard the “fact check” reference if it interfere’s with answering the question.

BTW, I am not hostile to your article if you felt that I was. Just looking for an honest answer.

Mother Jones was used to refute stacygturner’s post (not yours) about the amount of “subsidy”. I understand Mother Jones to be unfriendly to the oil and gas industry and so the citation makes it stronger against his claims. Especially the admission that tax breaks are really what these so called “subsidies” are in reality.


Comment by Albert

[…] 2013 it was reported that 14,000 Abandoned Wind Turbines Litter the United States. Is anyone paying attention to the trumped-up “promise” of renewable […]

Pingback by Flashback: Broken Down And Rusting, Is This The Future Of Wind Farms?

I do believe the reference on a wind turbine costing more energy to make than they return has some merits. As noted many times the wind isn’t always blowing so their energy output is zero during those times. There is a massive amount of energy used to mine, refine, manufacture etc every item needed to build a turbine. I don’t know the amount of energy to do all of that but considering its a lot it should always be subtracted from the output to see if its worth it.

Overall the wind turbine is probably the best source of green energy there is. The birds killed via turbine versus birds killed via everything else man made is insignificant. I also feel the turbulence killing birds comment is completely ridiculous. The turbines are not powered propellers, they use the wind to move them so the turbulence generated is small. If the blades were increased in number but there are only 3. Any turbulence generated drops off considerably the further behind the turbine you get. A heavy wind thunderstorm puts out more turbulence than a wind turbine does.

Solar panels would have a much larger environmental impact than any wind turbine. Its not the panels themselves as much as it is the batteries required. Battery life for everything is pretty limited especially when it is constantly be used and recharge. Panel life is actually pretty respectable but by the time you purchase, install, and maintain (batteries etc) the cost versus return compared to the cost to staying on grid isn’t as good as people think because all they see is solar is free. Batteries used for cars and solar panels create a significant amount of waste even after being recycled as does all the technology behind it all.

Dam power is probably still the best in terms of renewable power. The next best power source is probably thermal via volcano areas but there are extremely few places those can be located. Nuclear power is probably coming in second for best power source. I have seen some interesting theory about ocean ebb and flow power generation that looks safe for fish but not sure about its power output and potential pollution. I believe that wind power is good but believe that power companies are intentionally not using them to their potential. I have driven past too many wind turbine farms and seen only part of them spinning. It wasn’t from lack of wind but the power company had turned them off and it was during peak power usage.

I believe there should be very little subsidizing happening. The power companies should be doing their own research and utilizing research that is already out there. They make extreme amounts of money and can afford to make the transition on their own. Law should be put into place that gives them a reasonable amount of time to research and implement. I think little to no subsidizing should happen on the home or business side should happen either. People complain about money the government spends as it is and tax breaks and subsidizing takes money out of the governments hands that could be put back into places like schools. Currently government funds are being handed (or not received) out to too many projects or special interest groups that could be slashed or cut completely to the point that we wouldn’t need to ever have any tax increases and government debt would be reduced.

Ultimately its in the citizens hands to demand changes and hold companies and politicians accountable. Unfortunately the most vocal ones are usually just stupid sheep. Take global warming for example. Yes, it appears to be real to some level. But too many are too stupid and flock like sheep and can’t think for themselves. They either don’t know or intentionally ignore that global warming has happened in the past so far back that it was impossible for humans to be the cause. Are humans doing things that might be speeding up the cycle? I’m sure the answer is yes but not even close to the level that the sheep are believing in. Obviously we should do things to reign in the damage we cause but as our technology improves the environmental damage increases. I’m not proud that I don’t recycle everything but that will be the best way to try to help control our usage of resources. Then there is the fact that a lot of things can’t be recycled once made into a finished product. There is also a large amount of toxic waste generated just trying to recycle. I personally don’t recycle because most of what I would want to recycle they try to charge me to recycle it. That doesn’t sit well with me considering they are the ones with the resources.

Comment by Hedgie

Send Me a MAP for where these are so I can confirm the story PLEASE …… Thanks

Comment by withament

Consult search sites like Google Yahoo, or Bing. Sites, as noted in the 3 year old post, are Altamont Pass, Tehachapi and San Gorgino passes, all in California. And Kamaoa Wind Farm in Hawaii. Consult the Audubon Society which is fighting the slaughter of eagles and other raptors. I don’t know if the abandoned turbines are still there or not. It’s an old post.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

I’m glad I read your blog on windmills, very informative, but I got bored with the liberal attacks and insults no surprise really. I live in northern NH windmills are going atop our white mountains, stand out well also, not running yet but my question is how well will they produce in our mountainous region and climate ? Thank You BTW that was a deal made behind our backs.

Comment by Ray

I’ve written on windmills a lot. (Search function on the home page just over Bob Hope’s head). The big problem is the wind itself, which is by nature –intermittent. They keep thinking that they can conquer any problem with better technology, but they can’t. The confidence in technology is made possible by taxpayer subsidies. If they are getting the opportunity to experiment on somebody else’s dime, and doing very well financially at that, it’s a home run. When the subsidies stop, the wind farm quits, and you’re apt to have leftover turbines rotting.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

When scientists forget what they are supposed to be doing.. i.e. exploring new ideas , not justifying already preconceived notions, financed by politicians, we are all in trouble.

Comment by John

It takes the steel from 220 small Toyotas to build a windmill plus it takes coal to make the steel.

Comment by Pipeman

Income Tax Scams that did not work

Comment by Dennis

Can someone tell me, precisely, how to extract fuel from a fossil?

Comment by Rick Saffery

Some here may find this interesting. Looks like Musk may abandon Nevada.

Comment by Rick Saffery

I just looked it up. Oil, coal, natural gas were all formed in the Carboniferous Period, 360 to 286 million years ago, millions of years before the dinosaurs, and were formed from carbon-based organic matter. Google knows all.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Thanks for the link. Must be fun to be able to dream up big projects and then have the taxpayers pay to see if it all works.

Comment by The Elephant's Child The tens of thousands of cubic yards of concrete and millions of pounds of steel rebar will be there for thousands of years.

They kill birds by direct strikes and “turbulence”. It is actually barotrauma that kills the most bats and birds. There is also a heating effect behind the towers from the turbulence. It can be and has been measured.

Don’t post advertising sites for wind energy as sources like AWEABLOG.
You liberals think Obama is your friend on wind but he is only a friend to to crony capitalist that are making billions on this wind garbage. You know who started it all don’t you? Ken Lay of Enron and George H W Bush.

Comment by Bruce

A cola plant may be working 24/7 but it is working to destroy the planet.

Comment by Henk

This site shows California’s installed wind capacity and actual generation. Note the capacity is given in MW and generation is GWh. To convert, divide the MW by 1,000 to change it GW, then multiply by 24 (hrs/day) and 365 (days/yr) to give possible GWh generation at 100% utilization. For 2012-2014 California’s annual wind generation was @ 20-25% utilization. Coal generation generally is 67-80%.

Comment by oldriderfan

The value of wind would be best harnessed by individuals than corporations. A lil generator right next to the house (and electricity meter) is the real answer. Small scale, most environments realize enough wind to keep batteries full most of the time. Wind can also pump water from the ground, provided groundwater is present. Dirt happens to be the best dang water filter God ever invented, OBTW.
Nebraska – The Good Water Good Wind Good Life!

Comment by Deb Levey

Is this about climate change or Governments getting it right about wind energy? I have to admit, even if the article sounds plausible, there is to much variables that are left out to make a judgement. I don’t think we can ignore the almost unanimous belief of scientist saying climate change is real needs to be addressed. There are valid points to the article thought still would not put judgement on ending wind energy.

Comment by dougdaslug

There is no unanimous belief by scientists saying climate change is real. The “97%” is a complete canard. The climate is always changing, always has, always will. Wind and solar put together account for only a minute portion of our electricity, and have to have 24/7 backup from a conventional power source. Go to my home page and enter wind energy or solar energy in the search bar over Bob Hope’s head in the sidebar.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

My dear, what a false-flagged discussion … rep’s mourning about evolution of mankind.

It is essential part of the republican policy that the state has to leave out of business. So that is what happens with the abandoned turbines, too.

As long as investors are not forced to clear away the “litter” they will not do – that is a matter of fact.

In Europe investors are obliged to care for the removal of the machine after usage period. They even have to place bank-warranties when opening the site.

Another good example that we need precise regulation by the state in order to keep our environment alive.

I think, there are not many people really believing in the benefits of Simi-Valley, Three-Miles-Island or Chalk-River.

Fukushima is a site where it is proven that the operator Tepco had not done maintenance for a decade.

Majak is 60 years after still the most poisonous place on earth.

So it is obvious that pure capitalism is inappropriate for operating dangerous technologies – they have to be guided by the society.

Mankind does not need more republican influence but much, much less … for a better world.

The Cree: “Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last fish been caught, and the last stream poisoned, will we realize we cannot eat money.”

Comment by Charly

Ah, yes, another soft-headed example of those who equate “less government” with “no government”. No one has ever suggested that there should not be any regulation.

And Charly, what you’re doing is crying after the fact. Those turbines would not have been built in the first place without government intervention; there was no real demand for them from the private sector. It was government incentives that created them.

Comment by Lon Mead

I only have one comment on all this, and that is to say that those that lament the intermittent nature of wind and solar should know that help is currently being planned for that. The great objective is to build a world-wide power grid based on very high voltage direct current distribution. So, solar power generated in the Sahara may be used at midnight in California. While wind does not blow in Kansas, it will be blowing somewhere, and if harvested by appropriate mechanisms, should be usable anywhere in the world.

So, I’d say keep building all sources of energy, and support the global power grid when the time comes to do so. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and this will take time and effort as well.

Comment by Dave

[…] THE DEBRIS OF A BAD IDEA: 14,000 Abandoned Wind Turbines Litter the United States. […]

Pingback by Instapundit » Blog Archive » THE DEBRIS OF A BAD IDEA: 14,000 Abandoned Wind Turbines Litter the United States….

I may be off base, but Dave, don’t you need wires to carry that current all over the world? And who pays for that? Meanwhile, we cannot do without fossil fuels as they provide the baseload for the grid. Right now we have the technology to save thousands of lives, particularly in Africa where hundreds of thousands of women die average age 42 from using dung as fuel in indoor cooking. It’s a bit like the bloody lightbulbs – spend a jillion £€$r and end up with lousy light and toxic bulbs and the technology has been replaced by the non-subsidised LEDs which were starting to be marketed (at a high price) just when the government – which couldn’t run a lemonade stand – decided to get behind the curly bulbs- and waste our money. Wind is an inefficient, inconsistent and expensive form of energy which defaces hundreds of thousands of acres and takes from the taxpayer to give big subsidies to the landowners.. The money would have been far better spent in researching a really new technology. There was a reason that windmills stopped turning the instant the steam engine was invented. Let’s look to the future.

Comment by coniston

Domestic cats are far worse when it comes to killing birds. They also spread some 40 plus zoonoses, from Toxoplasmosis to Rabies.

Comment by Jimbino

[…] From American Elephant: […]

Pingback by Wind power, Gone with the Wind, - BitsBlog

[…] Source: 14,000 Abandoned Wind Turbines Litter the United States […]

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Thanks Obama. Not really get a grip people. I remember the Wind turbines Being in Tehachapi when I was a child. That was nearly 20 years ago! How can this article blame Obama for something that happened 2 decades before he took office. People knew they were a bad idea then and we know it now.

The new craze is solar power. Again the Southern California desert wildlife suffered when they used 200 acres of endangered desert tourtose habitat to install solar panels. I didn’t see all the so called planet friendly people cry then either. Nope, As long as they get to power up their computers, who cares about the impending extinction of the desert tortoises.

Comment by Elizabeth

[…] More… […]

Pingback by Green “Junk” – Jack's Newswatch

If it was a good idea, rich people would invest in them and politicians wouldn’t get to waste
Taxpayers money.

Comment by Tommy

Mostly correct, but under federal subsidies some rich people are investing to get ever richer with free money from the subsidies.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Too bad we can’t get political correctness to rust..

Comment by garyroxene

In Oregon, there are several hundred wind turbines along the Columbia Gorge.

This location not only takes advantage of the prevailing winds, but places the turbines very close to the massive grid structure of the hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River / Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)

Before windmills, the schedule for water release over wastegates was published weeks ahead of time to benefit fishermen and other users of the river.

The wastegates moved infrequently, predictably, and in small gradations.

Then the windmills…

Because of the inconsistency of the wind, the capacity of the grid, and actual demand, unless the windmills are idled (which is frequent and often for long periods due to maintenance and financial chicanery of the utilitirs), the dams are forced to make frequent, immediate adjustments of water flow and generator output to keep the grid stable against the oscillations of the windmill output.

According to the BPA, this causes the equivalent of 75 years of wear-and-tear on the dam machinery in just one year.

The windmills are destroying the dams.

Yet the dams are the most efficient and least expensive large scale electrical generating facilities in existance while windmills are the polar opposite.

And as “green” power, windmills do not benefit the typical citizen.

The answer there is to put at least a dozen solar panels on every home. Sell the power back to the utilities during the day and reduce your monthly bill.

Home solar is good for fish, birds, and doesn’t spoil the beauty of huge areas of the land.

Further, in an emergency (earthquake, floods, wind storms etc.) the distributed nature of solar means electricity is still widely available, even if the distribution grid is damaged or the generating facilities are off line.

Comment by Passing-on-wind


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Didn’t know that about the BPA, but from what I have read home solar is also a scam. It is just as intermittent in nature as wind. The enormous solar array at Ivanpah in the Mojave Desert ($2.2 billion) is only producing 40% of its expected electricity, and frying birds by the thousands. It’s based on 170,000 mirrors the size of a garage door which follow the trajectory of the sun across the sky and reflect sunlight on a central “power towers” that create steam that makes electricity. All very new high tech. I wrote about that last year, and at that time they were trying to get a federal grant to pay off their $1.6 billion federal loan. Solar is even more heavily subsidized than wind, but without government subsidies, neither would exist. Investors are in the business for the subsidies which usually guarantee a big profit. Google was a big investor in Ivanpah. Warren Buffet has a lot invested in green energy, and then there is billionaire Elon Musk who apparently earned his billions with federal subsidies.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

It was a good idea if they would have made it available and affordable for homeowners..

Comment by Lisa scott

I don’t consider the American Wind Energy Association as a reliable go-to outfit for information that makes wind energy — their bread and butter–look bad. The wind energy industry would not exist were it not for government subsidy, as is clear from case after case where the subsidies have ended and the wind farm goes out of business.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Wind is a great resource, but only on a small scale. You can buy the little wind chargers and put them on your buildings and charge batteries with them that then power lights. Problem with our country is someone wants to be in control of the power and make big bucks. We need to do what’s best for the people and the planet. Wind chargers and solar panels on individual homes and businesses and they get free power from the planet.

Comment by Derek N Joyti Lermeny

A noble sentiment, but it costs a lot of money for chargers and batteries and one still ends up with an unsatisfactory power supply. If it was a reasonable solution more people would be doing it, I would do it too. Are you, or have you tried?

Comment by oldriderfan

Fortunately, some countries are doing quite well with wind power. Now that the storage problem has been overcome, it’s full-speed ahead for Denmark and many others. The good news is that no country needs to be left behind.

Comment by jayarc

14,000 where did you get this number from? Also even if this was a factual number the world total amount of Wind turbines around the globe is roughly 432,419, so 14000 (unused) is a tiny fraction. Please check your facts before you try to share information, “14000” does not mean that Wind turbines are a worthless source of energy.

Global Wind Turbines-All countries participating

More reports to read-

Comment by kroberts

It’s a joke

Comment by Tom ertle

Sorry. Wind turbines are indeed a worthless source of energy. Wind farms exist only with government subsidy. Investors in wind farms invest only because of government subsidy. “Government subsidy” means that governments take taxpayer dollars to give to those who invest in wind farms before any energy is created. The cost of wind farms includes many miles of transmission lines, because the windiest places are usually in mountain passes, far from the cities where the energy is needed. Energy is produced by a turbine only when the wind blows steadily at the optimum speed. But wind itself is naturally intermittent. It doesn’t blow steadily at the optimum speed. When it is not blowing at the optimum speed, a conventional power plant must kick in to produce the power that the turbine is not producing. If you have ever been out on a windy day, you should have noticed that the wind does not blow steadily at an optimum speed. People who drive by a wind farm wonder why most of the turbines are sitting idly, while only a couple are actually turning. People assume that the wind is “natural” and “free,” but worldwide, when the subsidies are withdrawn the wind farm shuts down. Wind farms and solar arrays have been great investments for the wealthy because government subsidies guarantee a high rate of return, so with your taxpayer dollars, you are further enriching a lot of billionaires like Warren Buffet and Elon Musk, and Google.

This is an old post from 2013. Commenters frequently use the wind energy associations publicity in which they talk about “capacity” which is the amount of energy that would be produced by a turbine if the wind blew steadily at the optimum speed — all the time. Doesn’t happen. If the subsidies are withdrawn, the wind farms shut down. You are paying for wind energy first with the subsidy, and paying for the conventional power plant that has to be there 24/7 to compensate for the time the wind isn’t blowing, and then you have to pay a higher price for the energy because of the long transmission lines and the wear and tear on the conventional power plants which with the constant switching on and off is considerable. If you want actual information about wind and solar, start with , click on “Categories” and do some extensive reading.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

[…] happens when the subsidies reach their sunset? There are thousands of abandoned wind turbines littering the U.S. (and a number of abandoned solar farms, too). There are as many as several thousand turbines at […]

Pingback by The Wind, The Sun, and a Load of Subsidies | Sacred Cow Chips

[…] Voir l’article en cliquant sur ce lien : […]

Pingback by Le Croc du Loup » Blog Archive » 1000 tonnes de béton par éoliennes ! Et 14000 sont à l’abandon à ce jour….

What is the full cycle cost (manufacturing-installation-operation-abandonment) per KwH in the US for land wind generation? I suppose that this varies, but could someone provide a reasonable range?

Comment by George Vassilellis

Go to: click on ‘papers’ then on ‘reprint series.’ Enter Glen R. Schleede in the search bar, and you will get a good paper on wind energy. Lots of good stuff available at this website. Explore and enjoy. I also like

Comment by The Elephant's Child


Comment by Cecil johnson

With the tax benefits should have come the condition of perpetual maintenance or demolition and/or haul off to a land fill or recycling facility. But no, that might frighten away some of the congregation.

Comment by Philip

“The Elephants Child” has reposted some nonsense blog without an ounce of research. It’s too bad that it’s sat out here, propagating itself across the morons of the internet, most of which believe it at the headline and never bother to fact-check (as the author himself did not.)
Renewable energy is anything but a scam. For one thing, if this were true, we wouldn’t still be building wind farms three years after this bogus puff piece was written.
Sorry, elephant, but much like your namesake, this article is oversized, odiferous, and full of shit.

Comment by Jeff

Sorry, Jeff. Well researched. This is an old post from 2013, but if you visit our main page and enter “wind” or “climate” or “energy” in the search bar, you will find dozens and dozens of posts. There is nothing quite so eternal as a government program, especially one that offers so much crony capitalism profits. Government subsidies are a great way to get rich.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

We can always count on greenies to use insults and personal attacks on anyone who disagrees with them. Thanks for reinforcing the arrogance and self-righteousness of your crowd. To answer your question, NO wind generators have ever been built WITHOUT subsidization. When the government money stops, so will the ineffective inefficient wind farms. If wind power made sense entrepreneurs would build it WITHOUT subsidies.

Comment by oldriderfan

Take a look at what happens when intelligent governments do the job properly! In Denmark! They generate 140% of their power this way. Difference? There are no fat cat corporations making squillions out of coal! Undermining renewable energy resources. This is what happens when a government gets involved! Does the job properly for its citizens instead of letting rampant money grubbers create the worst but individually the most lucrative and corrupt way of squeezing money out of the pockets of working men!

Comment by Alan Bartram

You clearly know nothing about wind turbines, or energy flux density. Also you need to check your validity of your claims, plus take into account that geographic and demographic values do not match with you target comparisons. Do you know the size of Denmark?

Comment by Amber Smith

The 140% is an intentionally misleading bit of misinformation. It may have hit that peak for a short period, but overall 2015 wind power production was just over 40% of total, and they plan to reach 50% by 2020 ( The ironic thing about the misleading headline is that when the wind power generation is at maximum, domestic consumption is at low levels, which is WHY they generate more than they use on those windy afternoons. Then they sell that excess power to other nations at a loss! Denmark has average electricity prices but when taxes and subsidies are included they have the HIGHEST prices in Europe!( If wind and solar power were actually cheaper than conventional we wouldn’t need laws and subsidies to make them go, in fact the utilities would have switched away from coal long ago! Even more ironic is that most of the reduction in coal consumption has been replaced by natural gas, which could have been accomplished without a single wind or solar generator. I agree with you that governments should stay out of business, but don’t blame corporations for taking advantage of government offerings, or for making a profit. They also have a monarchy! Do you want that too?

Comment by oldriderfan

Yet another screw up from the half breed idiot in the white house, he hasn’t had anything right yet

Comment by Orville Rolando

in the second paragraph,
“Without government subsidy, they are unaffordable. With governments facing financial troubles, the subsidies are unaffordable.” the author is so caught up disparaging one energy option that they forget that subisidies are far older than renewable energy

“The [International Energy Agency’s] latest estimates indicate that fossil-fuel consumption subsidies worldwide amounted to $493 billion in 2014, $39 billion down on the previous year, in part due to the drop in international energy prices, with SUBSIDIES TO OIL PRODUCTS REPRESENTING OVER HALF OF THE TOTAL [REVENUE].” (empahsis added)

Comment by Patrick

There are no fossil fuel subsidies. What the greenies call subsidies are oil depletion allowances, which are the same kind of tax relief that most businesses of that kind get. A subsidy is taxpayer money given to a business that cannot make it in the real marketplace without help. When an entrepreneur has an idea for starting a business, he usually has to persuade investors that their investment will pay off in future sales. Wind energy doesn’t pay for itself because wind is intermittent. It just doesn’t blow all the time in a steady flow — which is what the Wind people call “capacity”. This is what it would be if conditions were perfect. In country after country, when the subsidy ceases, the wind farm goes out of business. Many countries have gotten out of the wind business altogether.Europe is finding that way too many of their citizens are falling into energy poverty — they can’t afford the energy they need to heat their homes and prepare food.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

The International Energy Agency is NOT an objective, unbiased source. They are dedicated to the reduction of oil consumption and CO2 emissions. A simple fact, the fossil fuel industry is profitable and self sustaining, wind and solar power exist only because governments mandate and subsidize them. If wind and solar power were profitable, why would we need laws to force us to use them?

Comment by oldriderfan

Some on this blog are talking about apples and oranges with the worldwide fossil fuel subsidies. Many countries, particularly oil and gas producers and exporters, do subsidize the retail price of gasoline and diesel at the pump and propane/butane for home use. One could think of it as a way to allow the people of the country to share in the benefits of the resource they own, or more negatively as a political necessity to buy peace.

But you are correct that when Mother Jones and that crowd talk about tax breaks, they are primarily talking about the depletion allowance. It is no different than depreciation of any other capital asset. If I spend $1 to create a valuable asset, and it is consumed in the process of my using it, then that $1 is a real cost. Allowing its deduction is not a tax break, it is a recognition of the reality that it costs me, as a producer, $1 of value destruction to make (hopefully more than) $1, and the government than charges me income tax on the profit, not on the whole amount.

Comment by jbowen82Jim

Reblogged this on How Green Is This.

Comment by howgreenisthis

Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
The worst that the industrial windfarm eco-zealots and crony-capitalists can be accused of for more millions of taxpayers money wasted on the cleanup of these failed icons of the age of climate eco-insanity, is an excess of virtue.

James Lovelock, the Godfather of Geenism and creator of the ‘Gaia theory’ foretold the windmill disaster that will only escalate as millions more inevitably fail, laid rest to rot…

“We need take care that the spinning windmills do not become like the statues on Easter Island, monuments of a failed civilisation.”

Comment by Climatism

Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
The worst that the industrial windfarm eco-zealots and crony-capitalists can be accused of for more millions of taxpayers money wasted on the cleanup of these failed icons of the age of climate eco-insanity, is an excess of virtue.

James Lovelock, the Godfather of Geenism and creator of the ‘Gaia theory’ foretold the windmill disaster that will only escalate as millions more inevitably fail, laid rest to rot…

“We need take care that the spinning windmills do not become like the statues on Easter Island, monuments of a failed civilisation.”

Comment by Climatism

[…] Source: 14,000 Abandoned Wind Turbines Litter the United States […]

Pingback by 14,000 Abandoned Wind Turbines Litter the United States | ajmarciniak

When they were trying to put them in Carteret County, NC., I pushed for the contractor to pay for any road damage as a result of transporting them on our roads. I also pushed for them to make it a part of any contract that the cost of removal be at the contractor’s expense. After a lot of hard work we came up with the strongest restriction’s I’ve seen any where, it’s call the “Tall Structure Ordinance” and also includes cell phone tower’s as our county had several that should we have a hurricane they would block ingress or egress for many of our citizen’s. I was so proud of our Board, they listened and did what was needed, unlike other areas where they’ve been built. You can bet they won’t be built here. The company withdrew their application.

Comment by nanasix


A little citizen activism can accomplish wonders. It’s what the country was built on, and often what is often lacking in larger cities. It’s not always easy to stand up to be counted.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Thank you. They were going to put 3 on the land next to my house with 12 other homes in the direct vacinity. I pulled the neighbor’s together, held meetings at the Fire Station and local school, contacted everyone on our County Commissioner’s Board and provided them with everything I could find from the US to overseas countries, What we accomplished was astounding, as there were many that didn’t oppose them. I will never regret the hundreds of hours I put into fighting them and protecting our county & citizen’s and would do it again.

Comment by nanasix

[…] Then there are the abandoned monsters: 14,000 Abandoned Wind Turbines Litter the United States […]

Pingback by the turbine disasters of renewable energy … | pindanpost

Are you still using your IBM PC with a 6 megahertz processor? And if not, wouldn’t you say computers are a failed technology? After all, there are millions of obsolete units laying around in landfills or being recycled under dubious conditions. Most of the abandoned wind turbines littering the countryside were designed for a maximum output of as little as 1% of the output of a modern unit. They became obsolete. I’d like to see them cleaned up, absolutely. But the technology has not failed, only evolved.

Comment by johngalt47

Bad analogy. The problem with wind energy is not the turbines. They have tried all sorts of different elements, different designs. The problem is the wind itself.
Promoters of wind energy speak about “capacity” that is the electricity that could be produced by a turbine if the wind were blowing at the perfect speed, steadily. That does not happen.
Wind is intermittent, comes in puffs and gales, or doesn’t blow at all — even in the windiest locations. Because the wind does not blow steadily, it must have 24/7 backup from a conventional power plant. The problem lies in the nature of the wind over which man has no control. When the governmental subsidies are withdrawn, the turbines are left to rot.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

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