Wind power is not a commie scam

So, is it really true that wind power is “not fuel efficient”,  cause more emisisons than they create could not survive without commie “green” subsides and taxes to prop them up?

Research like this gets loads of press:

And it manages to confuse people.

One point to be made, when discussing subsidies, is fossil fuel infrastructure is already built and already has an access to an existing private finance regime, so of course it’s going to be cheaper.

A better way of thinking about the “is wind power expensive” question, and one which better reflects a non-too-distant future when renewables have access to more private captial and infrastructure,  is in terms of capital or investment costs per MW.

Those capital costs are either paid by the public through energy bills as profits ( in the case of fossil fuels) or through subsides ( in the case of renewables). The difference is that fossil fuel companies take the equity and the finanicial risk of building new things and that comes out of our bills as profit not subsidy. Take a look, they’re close to equal in places like India (except for Solar PV):



So is  wind power expensive? Yes, it appears to be marginally more expensive according to some estimates, and marginally less expensive according to other estimates.

This report, Samuela Bassi, Alex Bowen and Sam Fankhauser, “The case for and against onshore wind energy in the UK” explains why it is so hard to make this case solidly as one research paper on one energy system and economy is not applicable to every energy system and every economy in the world. Costs for things like energy, fuel and taxes vary worldwide:


Estimates vary because different assumptions can be made about uncertain parameters, such as the discount rate (i.e. the cost of capital through time), the effect of the exchange rate, commodity prices (e.g. for steel) and the cost of complying with national legislation. But, despite some differences due to these assumptions, costs tend to be of the same order of magnitude. Overall, onshore wind appears likely to be one of the cheapest energy technologies available in 2030.” 

Let us suppose that the naysayers are right and wind power is  marginally more expensive, but if  you’re contemplating building renewables its because you’ve recognized that something is awry with your fossil fuel system, be it the fuel costs, the transmission, the eventual depletion of fossil fuels, or  the availability.

For example, Solar PV, while expensive in India in terms bang-per-buck (excuse the americanism), has the hidden bonus of not requiring ANY transmisison costs if it is on you rooftop, plus other benefits, such as the factyou can use it in a natural catastrophie. It also gets around the hurdle of not having consistent access to natural gas in India, a poorer coutnry prone to  fuel shortages.


Wind turbines don’t pollute

The other counterpoint to wind power, often made by misguided renewable energy advocates, is to say wind power consumes fuel emissions nearly as much as fossil fuels power does.

That argument goes like this: The machines that manufacture turbines and cars they are trucked to the run on fossil fuels. Wind turbines also consume small amounts of fossil fuel electricity when they are not running.

The above-mentioned report also explains why the emissions/damage to environment required by  wind turbines is just very tiny in comparison to fossil fuel power:

“Unlike other generation sources, wind does not require significant amounts of water, produces little waste and requires no mining or drilling to obtain fuel (IPCC, 2011). It is true that, from a life-cycle perspective, wind energy is not entirely a zero-carbon technology, as some greenhouse gas emissions are generated during the manufacturing, transport, installation, operation and decommissioning of turbines. These, however, are considered to be very limited. Global estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2011) indicate that these are of the order of 8 to 20 gCO2/kWh. By comparison, the average emissions from power generation in the UK were around 540 gCO2/kWh in 2008 (CCC, 2010). In accordance with current accounting conventions, these emissions are measured and assigned to the activities where they occur (such as transport or steel production).”


Take a look at “lifecycle emissions’ per unit of energy for each technology, which is lowest of all for Offshore Wind and Hydro:

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 13.26.22


Again, to say that wind turbines must necessarily consume fossil fuels is deceptive because the argument is based on a specific type of existing energy system: it’s all relative to where you are and what they use as an energy source there.

The typical assumption is that all other sources of electricity are fossil fuels  —-  and does not take into  account a future where all of that that power comes from another renewable source, making your turbine carbon-neutral.

It is not far fetched to assume that all cars will one day be electric and not fossil fuel powered. So arguments that say wind turbines require polluting are really misleading.

Producing energy from fossil fuels requires releasing 98% more emissions than wind energy does as fossil fuel energy continuously requires fuel… some even say wind power nearly carbon neutral.

Inefficient wind power: what does that even mean?

As far as efficiency goes, if you mean efficiency in respect to operating time for wind turbines in varied wind conditions, generally about 30% you’d be interested to know that in Europe utilisation rates/operating time per annum for gas fired power plants dropped to 37% in 2013 according to law firm Linklaters. They’re shutting down due to competition with renewables. European taxpayers still subsidise the shut-down gas fired plants with capacity mechanisms.

2012’s hands-down winner of commie subsidies handouts is fossil fuels, which governments need to keep people warm and cozy and prevent revolutions, also require subsidies, which are reportedly growing worldwide.