Thursday, January 31, 2008

Industrial wind: a failure written in the European statistics

(Adapted from

Author: Fédération Environnement Durable (Federation for a Sustainable Environment)

[from “Eolien industriel: un échec en filigrane dans les statistiques Européennes”]

Does large-scale development of industrial wind energy actually reduce the consumption of fossil fuels or emission of CO2?

Comparison of per-capita wind and thermal electricity production and CO2 emissions in Germany, Denmark, Spain, and France.

Germany — most industrial wind facilities in the world (18,400 MW in 2005) –
2005: 10.6 tonnes CO2 per capita, 6.4 tonnes from electricity
190% increase per capita production from wind from 2000 to 2005
9% increase per capita thermal electricity production from 2000 to 2005
1% increase per capita CO2 from electricity 2000 to 2005

Denmark — highest percentage of industrial wind in the world (18% of production) –
2005: 9.3 tonnes CO2 per capita, 5.5 tonnes from electricity
54% increase per capita production from wind from 2000 to 2005
8% decrease per capita thermal electricity production from 2000 to 2005
11% decrease per capita CO2 from electricity 2000 to 2005

Spain — second most industrial wind facilities in the world (10,000 MW in 2005) –
2005: 8.5 tonnes CO2 per capita, 3.8 tonnes from electricity
317% increase per capita production from wind from 2000 to 2005
41% increase per capita thermal electricity production from 2000 to 2005
10% increase per capita CO2 from electricity 2000 to 2005

France — virtually no industrial wind (760 MW in 2005) –
2005: 6.6 tonnes CO2 per capita, 2.6 tonnes from electricity
~0% increase per capita production from wind from 2000 to 2005
19% increase per capita thermal electricity production from 2000 to 2005
1% decrease per capita CO2 from electricity 2000 to 2005

There are no meaningful differences in standard of living among these countries. Note that Denmark, with the highest percentage of its power produced by wind, is forced to export 85% of it to neighboring countries – mostly Sweden – because so much of it is produced when it isn't needed. Their decrease in CO2 emission is only possible because they are now importing conventionally generated power from neighboring countries when their wind doesn’t blow. Denmark's consumers pay the highest price for electricity in Europe and endure a blighted landscape – without achieving any environmental benefits. It is also notable that France's status as the lowest per capita emitter of CO2 in Europe is achieved primarily through reliance on efficient nuclear plants.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Vandalism by wind proponents is very symbolic

(submitted to hays Daily News Jan. 25, 2008)

Following the zoning meeting last Wednesday night, certain wind proponents were apparently not satisfied with Gene Bittel's rant to go after anti-wind signs for compliance with zoning regulations. They completely destroyed a two-sided 4' by 8' sign worth approximately $500, shattered the 4x4 uprights, and piled the lumber on an adjacent property some 200 yards down the road.

We already knew that wind proponents had no concern for their neighbor's opinions or enjoyment of property. This act is proof positive they have no respect for property either. This particular sign, that happens to belong to an elderly grandmother, had been repaired or reconstructed three times following previous acts of vandalism that included the use of spray paint, razor blades, and a shotgun.

The destruction of this sign is very symbolic. It says,
"We don’t care what you think - about us or the wind project."
"We don't care about your property rights."
"We don't care about your constitutional right to freedom of speech."
"We will have our turbines and damn you if you don’t like it."
"We will destroy you if you get in our way."

The people of Hays and Ellis County should take careful note of the character of those they are about to entrust to oversee a multimillion dollar industrial development spanning 10,000 acres that will change the face of this county forever and saddle it with massive liabilities. They should also ask themselves what standards of responsibility and stewardship for the local environment they can expect from those who have such little respect for their neighbors in their own community.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Letter to the Editor: Wichita Eagle, Jan. 7th, 2008

Letter in response to Mr. Scholdfield's editorial of January 2, 2008 "State poised for new wind energy era."

Dear Mr. Scholfield,

In your obviously promotional generalities and glowing report on the wind industry, "State poised for new wind energy era", you neglected to mention a few facts and details that might interest some of your readers.

The risk that Westar and other utilities understand is that electricity has two components energy and capacity. While wind can produce energy, it has no true capacity, which by definition is the ability to produce energy on demand. Thus every MW of wind energy has to be backed up with conventional energy. No wind=No power. In addition, while wind is often described as being 44% efficient, in reality it often produces one third or less of its name plate power. In the summer heat wave of 2006, Sunflower Electric received less that 3% of the power it was supposed to be receive. Texas only factors in an actual year round use of 7% to 8% of name plate power because the power cannot be produced when it's needed at peak load times.

The economic development that is frequently touted by the wind developers amounts to payments for a few landowners, (Elk River has 5 landowners, 4 of which are absentee), and no taxes since wind developments are exempt from property taxes in Kansas. The neighbors of these industrial wind complexes in the Smoky Hills and Elk River and other proposed complexes have been and continue to be vehemently opposed to the complexes due to ecological, safety, health and landscape impacts. There are NO State or Federal regulations to protect them. The idea of irreversibly altering 8,000 acres to produce possibly 120MW of unreliable energy at a 35% to 40% efficiency is suspect, when a conventional plant can produce 1200MW on a site of several hundred acres, is 85% to 90% efficient, and produces energy 24/7 on demand.

The dubious 'payments in lieu of taxes' that developers offer countys is tenuous at best since even with a written agreement they legally are a 'payment without consideration' and cannot be enforced. These have been called 'bribes' by some zoning experts.

The construction jobs mentioned are transient with both Elk River and Smoky Hills being constructed by out of state workers driving out of state vehicles. Neighbors to Elk River can count 7 jobs, all held by workers who live in Wichita . In both cases, there is an on-site rock quarry and on-site cement plant which saves local contractors the bother of the extra business.

The 'experts' at the 'energy summit' in Topeka, formerly called a Wind Energy Conference, are all connected to and paid by the wind industry. One such expert explained why Texas was doing well with wind when I attended in 2005. He stated the key was to levy a high RPS requirement with stiff penalties and NOT allow less expensive renewable sources such as hydro-energy to be counted in the percentage that utilities were mandated to buy.

Concerning tourism, as more industrial complexes go up, they will be places to avoid, not travel destinations, as Europe as discovered. Europeans have voted Industrial Wind Developments the "Number One Eyesore" out of the top 10 listed.

There are also very real ecological issues that make some places more suitable for Industrial Wind Complexes, provided the community wants them, than the prairie.

In the interest of maximum reality education concerning the wind energy and the wind industry, I would suggest you undertake having an Industrial Wind Complex of 50 to 100 turbines built next to your neighborhood or suburb. Have your community hooked up to that complex and rely solely on that source of power for a year. Keep track of the developer s promises, where the money comes from and goes to. After a year of actual experience, write another article on wind energy; the number of hours/day & days/year that you actually had adequate energy, the cost involved, subsidies paid, jobs that local people fill, your adjustment to the noise, lights, shadow flicker, your neighbors opinion of you, and which direction your property values are headed. That would be a truly interesting article.

For any of your readers who are interested in wind energy facts that are not supplied by the wind developers, check out:
Or contact me and I'll be happy to give you a tour of the prairie and discuss real facts with you.

Rose Z. Bacon
1181 Four Mile Road
Council Grove, KS 66846
Kansas Flint Hills

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Wind energy headline doesn't cut to real chase

From Ellis County resident, Jacinta Faber:

The headline in Thursday's HDN, Poll: Public Favors Wind Energy, might appear as a mandate for the 100-plus families situated in western Ellis County to stop opposing the proposed wind project.

This might seem like a clear message that most Kansans would want 400-foot turbines situated next to their homes, or even better, next to other people's homes. Claiming that Kansans favor wind energy indicates little about how to resolve logistical issues concerning the proper establishment of wind industry.

We have been taught in school that the way a question is asked influences the way a person answers it. If a poll were conducted with the question, "Do you support the treatment of raw sewage?" undoubtedly the majority of Kansans would respond in the affirmative. It would not follow that the majority of Kansans would want a treatment plant next to their homes.

In the same vein, I believe the number of positive responses given by Kansans regarding wind power would decrease significantly if they were asked if they would want an industrial wind plant placed 1000 feet from their homes.

Since the beginning of this debate, I never have stated I am against wind power. My concern has been about the noise industrial wind turbines produce.

What I would like to see on the front page of the HDN is this headline: "Wind Ordinance Adopted By The Trempealeau County (Wisconsin) Board." The Trempealeau county officials have taken their responsibility for the protection of their citizens seriously. The noise section included in the ordinance mandates a 1-mile setback between residences and industrial size turbines. I bet if the people of Trempealeau County were to be polled, the majority would support wind energy, too.

Submitted by:
Jacinta Faber
Hays, Kansas