My view: Wind energy a faith-based initiative


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  • Kevon Martis Riga, MI
    May 27, 2013 7:55 a.m.

    Man of these comments reflect the common misperception that wind generation and thermal generation are interchangeable. But they are not.

    AWEA board member E.ON, which operates German transmission grids and also builds wind plants in the US, is succinct:

    "Wind energy is only able to replace traditional power stations to a limited extent. Their dependence on the prevailing wind conditions means that wind power has a limited load factor even when technically available…. Consequently, traditional power stations with capacities equal to 90% of the installed wind power capacity must be permanently online [and burning fuel] in order to guarantee power supply at all times"

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    March 22, 2013 7:43 p.m.

    "regulations your ilk is pushing"

    My ilk. Haha. Okay. But it was you that cited the article that calls for massive regulation. And, dude, the article does not say at all what you are saying it does.

    Redshirt: It states that thanks to warming we can "increase global crop yields by up to 135 million metric tons per season and prevent hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year."

    It says nothing of the sort.

    "A new study led by a NASA scientist highlights 14 key air pollution control measures that, if implemented, could slow the pace of global warming, improve health and boost agricultural production. The research, led by Drew Shindell of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, finds that focusing on these measures could slow mean global warming 0.9 ºF (0.5ºC) by 2050, increase global crop yields by up to 135 million metric tons per season and prevent hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year. While all regions of the world would benefit, countries in Asia and the Middle East would see the biggest health and agricultural gains from emissions reductions."

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    March 22, 2013 1:24 p.m.

    To "Man_of_letters" what have I misrepresented. The article from NASA said that thanks to warming we could produce 135 million tons more of food? It states that thanks to warming we can "increase global crop yields by up to 135 million metric tons per season and prevent hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year."

    To "mark" regulation is stupid and will accomplish nothing. I don't agree with the authors call for more regulation since other studies out there show that the regulations will actually cause more problems than they solve. If you watch the documentary "Cool It" they find that most the the propaganda and regulations your ilk is pushing will cause more problems than some of the more mild community based actions.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    March 20, 2013 9:28 p.m.

    RedShirt, the NASA article you are referring to say nothing of the sort. Really, do you read these articles, or do you just look at the headlines?

    From the article:

    "The new study focused on 14 measures with the greatest climate benefit. All 14 would curb the release of either black carbon or methane, pollutants that exacerbate climate change and damage human or plant health either directly or by leading to ozone formation "

    They are talking about controlling the pollutants that damage plants.

    But if you are for the measures they are calling for, outstanding. Obviously you know, because you read the article, they are calling for a bunch of government regulation. Good to see you have changed your mind about government regulation. After all, we implement the massive regulations the authors are calling for we will be able to feed 135 million additional people. Right?

    By the way, you people that are talking about redundant systems clearly don't know how electrical systems work.

  • Man_of_letters Salt Lake County, UT
    March 20, 2013 4:15 p.m.

    RedShirt, this isn't the first time you've been caught misrepresenting the sources you cite. I'm not sure if that's a comprehension issue, or if you've just trained yourself to spin things a certain way and your mind only sees things from a twisted point of view. Do you work in PR, or something?

  • Dektol Powell, OH
    March 20, 2013 2:44 p.m.

    In many areas they work well an generate a lot of electricity. The real problem lies in the price of that electricity when it is sold. At todays rates most turbines will never pay for themselves. It is government subsidies that make them viable. Without that few would be built.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    March 20, 2013 10:58 a.m.

    To "Maudine" the Newsbusters article covers information researched by Spiegel. You can be more honest with us and read their source titled "Global Warming: Not the End of the World as We Know It"

    You are ignoring the fact that NASA admits that thanks to global warming the Earth will be capable of producing 135 million metric tons more than it currently does. That means that thanks to global warming we can eliminate a lot of hunger. 135 million metric tons is equal to 297 billion pounds of food. The average american consumes 1 ton of food per year, and now thanks to warming we can feed an additional 135 million people.

    Do you want people to go hungry?

    To "Open Minded Mormon" that was not the question asked.

    Since PV arrays don't work at night, how do plan on getting power at night? If it requires a redundant system, why not just build the system that doesn't rely on nature?

    Another problem with the PV arrays is that if you have clouds or rain, they don't work so well. On days like that, how do you plan on getting power? What about when they are covered with snow?

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    March 20, 2013 9:57 a.m.

    Thinkin\' Man
    Rexburg, ID
    A philosophical question: Why build ANY power plants that cannot operate all of the time (like wind and solar)?


    A philosophical answer:

    Becase Electrical power demand is highest and peaks during the daylight and early evening hours when 99% of the people are awake & working.
    Which also happens to be precisely when PV Solar and Wind are producing the very most.

    That's why "Thinkin\' Man"

  • Thinkin\' Man Rexburg, ID
    March 20, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    A philosophical question: Why build ANY power plants that cannot operate all of the time (like wind and solar)?

    That means you have to build and pay for redundant systems, which means more expense for everybody.

    How about if we just start replacing coal-fired power plants with gas, and then with nuclear as we go until we end up all nuclear? Forget the redundant systems altogether -- in a real sense, they are wasted money.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    March 20, 2013 8:06 a.m.

    @ Redshirt: the NASA article in question talks about reducing pollution and slowing global warming to get that effect. Reading comprehension is a good thing.

    And, seriously - you are using Newsbusters as a source?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 20, 2013 7:59 a.m.

    To "UtahBlueDevil" according to the DOE, and other energy related industries, wind power is not as cost effective as other sources because of the redundancies required to maintain a constant load. The costs to generate power are not limited to fuel only, the analyses that I have seen consider construction payback, fuel, maintenance, and any other costs associated with power generation.

    Read "German Mag Debunks Climate Change Hysteria, Extols Benefits of Warming Planet" at Newsbusters

    Even NASA agrees with me. See "NASA Study Shows Health, Food Security Benefits From Climate Change Actions" at NASA where they point out that a .9 degree temperature change will increase global crops by 135 million metric tons.

    March 19, 2013 9:08 p.m.

    The biggest problem with wind energy is that it doesn't deliver. A wind installation will average between 11% and 25% of nameplate, depending on whose numbers you're using. And then you need backup for when the wind isn't blowing. So if you want 1 GW of electricity from wind, you need to build a 4 GW wind facility and a 1 GW natural gas facility as backup, and then you need some really good switching gear between the two. It's cheaper to just skip the wind bit and go with the gas facility, which will deliver nameplate capacity 24/7.

    The problem with comparing renewable energy sources to the evolution of computing devices is that the big problem with renewables is lack of energy density - you can't get more power out of the wind than there is in the wind, so it will always require a lot of windmills and a lot of real estate. That equates to a lot of money.

    If we had gone with the IFR back in the 90s, we could by now have been enjoying inexpensive electricity produced from spent fuel rods.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    March 19, 2013 7:10 p.m.

    To the author of the article: Sources?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    March 19, 2013 4:30 p.m.

    Redshirt - you didn't actually say " It will open more farm land up, and make the climate more mild for large portions of the earth."

    This is based on what? Are you claiming the changing climate in the midwest... that is good for the farmers?

    And to your other post about cost. If you only consider the "expense" line on the cost to generate electricity, then your numbers probably are correct. Kind of looking only at fuel cost as being the main contributor to the total cost of ownership for a car. Daily operating cost is not an effective measure of a plants "cost". Particularly Nukes.

    I would love to go into the math... but lets just say my total cost of operation numbers and yours are way off. Particularly when you look at the cost of the asset over 30 to 50 years. And if you look at the cost trends over the last 20 years of the various technologies, the trend lines are very divergent.

    Wind, solar, and other "new" energies all cost much more in their infancy. I paid nearly $4,000 in 19986 for my old IBM AT. Today, that processing capability cost pennies.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 19, 2013 4:15 p.m.

    To "cjb" how is global warming a threat? It will open more farm land up, and make the climate more mild for large portions of the earth.

    So far the predictions of more hurricaines and more severe weather have been a bust.

    So again, why is global warming so bad if it makes it so that we can produce more food and live in areas that used to be hard?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 19, 2013 3:41 p.m.

    To "Open Minded Mormon" what are you talking about. JoeCapitalist was talking about wind power and PV arrays, and you are talking heat pumps.

    What power are you generating with a heat pump? You remind me of my kids when they start in the middle of a story and expect me to understand what they are talking about.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    March 19, 2013 3:21 p.m.

    It is said that global warming is the greatest threat facing mankind.

    That being the case, why aren't we looking at seting aside all the reasons in the past why we haven't ... and begin to make use of Yellowstone for geothermal.

    I have read that 75 billion watts of energy could be gotten from Yellowstone.

    Wind may not work, (or it may if this article is incorrect), but geothermal is proven to work.

  • mark Salt Lake City, UT
    March 19, 2013 2:26 p.m.

    The (37) turbines, which began operating in 1987, were among roughly 60 beta, or prototype, models manufactured by Mitsubishi Power Systems early in the company’s foray into wind power, Pace said. After Mitsubishi quit making the older wind turbines, it became difficult to find parts for them.
    The Kamaoa Wind Farm turbines, some with peeling paint and missing turbine blades, were cited as an example by anti-wind power groups in their efforts to block wind projects planned for Molokai and Lanai.
    Tawhiri’s parent, California-based Apollo Energy Corp., bought the Kamaoa Wind Farm in 2004 and kept it going for several years by cannibalizing parts from the original 37 turbines. The company developed a new wind project several miles away called the Pakini Nui Wind Farm, which went into service in 2007. The new project features 14 General Electric turbines with a maximum generating capacity of 21 megawatts. The old Kamaoa turbines had a combined rated capacity of 9.3 megawatts.- National Wind Watch, Turbines come down at defunct wind farm, Alan Yonan Jr, 31 March, 2012.

    Bill Gunderson, yes, 1986 wind tech is obsolete.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 19, 2013 2:05 p.m.

    Wind is not the perfect alternative energy. OK, fine. Lets look at it, see if it can be made cost competitive after some "tipping" point is reached. IF not, lets look elsewhere. Or lets make it a part of our energy plan.

    Wind should not be supported or panned based on anything political. Facts are not right or left, Rep or Dem. Lets look at them and incorporate them in reasonable decision making.

    What a totally unreasonable concept that is.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    March 19, 2013 2:06 p.m.

    Orem, UT
    I will install a windmill on my property (just like I will install solar panels) when it becomes economically feasible to do so.

    In other words, when the amount of energy it produces in five years has an equal value to the cost to install and maintain the system without government subsidies.


    It already is...

    The average ROI (Return On Investment) is 5 - 10 years.

    I also had a Geo-Thermal heatpump installed.

    My utility bill for heating/cooling and power in the peak summer and winter months is $35 - $55 per month.
    Lowest was $17.

    My 5 year 2nd mortgage for the $20,000 installation is $221 per month.
    Making it the same as I was paying the Untility companies.

    In 2015 I will be saving $200 - $300 for the rest of my life.

    FYI - I can also sell back my used excess power at the going rate.
    Not only saving money, but MAKING money.

    Time to put your money where your mouth is.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 19, 2013 1:05 p.m.

    To "Sensible Scientist" actually you are wrong. They are not price-competitive with fossil fuel power plants.

    According to the Energy Information Administration the cost for wind power is 9.8 cents/KWH, while coal or nuclear power costs about 1/3 that amount.

    Plus, you ignore the simple fact that if you have a wind farm, you also need a backup source that can pick up when the wind dies down. This means that when you build a wind farm, you also have to have a gas, coal, or hydro electric plant tied into that system to maintain power levels.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    March 19, 2013 1:04 p.m.

    I invite the author to contact me... I work in analytics for the energy industry... and nothing written here is more than conservative talking points. Garbage like...

    "As many as 4,500 wind turbines have been built — and abandoned — in California alone. But as long as the tax subsidies continue, so will the good money continue to chase the bad."

    And exactly how many abandon oil and gas wells do we have? Ones that produce... but just not what was executed? I can tell you, over the last few years, it is a heck of a lot more than 4,500.

    Not every well that goes in produces the yields expected, and not every wind turbine does so either. The cost to put a hole in the ground is many times more than a turbine, and leaves a much larger environmental liability. I am nor anti drilling... I work on drilling projects for Oklahoma and Texas companies every single day. But what is represented is so far from being an accurate representation that the author needs to be called out on it.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    March 19, 2013 1:01 p.m.

    I will install a windmill on my property (just like I will install solar panels) when it becomes economically feasible to do so.

    In other words, when the amount of energy it produces in five years has an equal value to the cost to install and maintain the system without government subsidies.

    I am just not willing to spend thousands of my dollars (or other taxpayer's dollars) to build something that will take 50 years of optimal performance just to break even and runs the risk of breaking down before then.

    Call me when the technology advances enough to make it anywhere close to a good investment.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    March 19, 2013 12:42 p.m.

    The letter writer is critical about the investment in Wind Energy, the failure of wind industry, and the progressives don't discuss his facts and quotes, they fall into what he says "There may be 1 million reasons to invest in wind or install a windmill. Most of those reasons involve bragging to your friends that you are saving the planet. But if you need the energy or the money, don't. Because right now, wind is still a faith-based initiative."

    He is saying, the costs far exceed the benefits. Not a do nothing-ism, a reality-ism.

    Rather than attack the messenger, how about showing where he is wrong in facts.

    I love the new UTA Trax commercial hyping the airport run, as no emissions. If their right, coal plants in southern Utah now produce no emissions. Where do they think their power comes from?

  • Sensible Scientist Rexburg, ID
    March 19, 2013 11:48 a.m.

    Wind turbines make money and produce price-competitive electricity. That's the bottom line.

    You just have to be thoughtful about where you site them -- they really detract from the scenery.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    March 19, 2013 10:53 a.m.

    Yeah, let's stick with oil. It's way easier, cheaper, and geopolitically safer.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    March 19, 2013 10:13 a.m.

    All-or-Nothing, Do nothing-ism.

    Must be a Republican.

  • Lew Scannon Provo, UT
    March 19, 2013 10:04 a.m.

    If we really want to generate electricity from wind, we should just install little windmills in front of politicians' mouths.