If the Sierra Club and its lawyers could make a proven scientific link between man’s activity and climate change, this entire adventure in science-legal arm wrestling over windmills would stop. References to some nefarious scientific body is not enough evidence to claim that windmill energy is more than a toy in the hands of some irresponsible faux-environmentalists that behave more like modern Don Quixote’s. The Sierra Club will dally around for a while, make a few wild claims using PowerPoint, and move on to the next target. Just like the circus.
The sun causes global warming. Look out the window. Do you see any glaciers? The proven science is that the sun will become hotter with time. That is the proven nature of thermonuclear reaction that is the sun. We have about 4 billion years left until it burns out.
All warm-blooded animals exhale carbon dioxide. All plants absorb CO2. A CO2-rich atmosphere will promote more plant growth to feed our increasing world population. The oceans absorb CO2 and form coral reefs. Recent satellite data reveals that more heat and CO2 is lost into space than previously thought.
But, As Huey Lewis said, “Sometimes bad is bad.” For example, Altimont Pass Wind Resource Area is in the coastal mountains between the San Francisco Bay area and the central San Joaquin Valley. The pass is rolling foothill, grassland with very few trees. During the summer, an east wind is pulled from the cold, Pacific fog bank just west of SF and then is pulled through this pass by the intense heat of the San Joaquin. Wind speeds are typically 15 to 25 mph. During the winter the wind stops and a dense tulle fog blankets the entire San Joaquin for weeks at a time
The Altimont Pass Wind Resource Area was started in 1981. It was financed with federal tax revenue. This revenue was, in part, confiscated from me under threat of imprisonment. There are 5,200 turbines installed and they kill about 4,700 birds per year, or about 140,000 dead birds total. This is documented fact. Raptors, such as bald eagles and golden eagles, account for about 40,000 of this slaughter. These raptors eat squirrels and mice, so the ecology has been compromised and a rodent population explosion is probable.
Consider the Kern County mice population explosion of 1926 and 1941. It peaked at 90,000 rodents per acre, and that could be traced to weather, agricultural seed not harvested … and indiscriminate killing of hawks, owls and eagles.
All of the 5,200 original Altimont wind turbines are being replaced with larger and taller turbines. These new turbines are being manufactured in Japan. The higher, larger turbines will produce more electricity. The increased height is also expected to reduce bird kills. Let me repeat, the height increase will only reduce the kills to a lower body count, but the 100-foot turbine blade, tip speed will increase to 140 mph. But not to worry, a different tactic will create a wall of turbines, 180 feet up and close together, so the birds will easily identify the blades. The goal is not to eliminate the kill, but only to reduce the carnage. What the hell? Better than before. Where is the Audubon Society you ask? They apparently do not care.
If these “more-or-less” wind turbines are sited off our North Carolina shore they will kill pelicans, gulls, sand pipers and other sea birds. If the site is onshore, then the kill zone will devastate the Lake Mattamuskeet migratory bird sanctuary. Worse, the killing zone will be in the center of the North American Migratory Bird Flyway.
Suppose that the Sierra Club has its way – The documented efficiency of a windmill turbine is about 30 percent. Each wind turbine will require coal or natural gas generators for back up.
Wind turbines are not “plug and play” devices. Connecting these albatrosses to the national electric grid will be very difficult. The power that they produce will have to be conditioned and massaged to a higher quality level. Moving wind power in and out of the grid during the 70 percent down time will be difficult and thus expensive.
In summary, the migratory bird and raptor population will decrease, so the rodent population will increase. The big three power companies will not buy the power these turbines produce. (Forget the Sierra Club’s baseless claims about anything.) The windmill is better suited for pumping water than for making usable electricity.
Our nation’s power grid is an engineering marvel. It can deliver electricity to 234,000,000 or so customers at a reasonable cost with outstanding reliability. It seems foolish, no, stupid, to bend to the demands of the Sierra Club and a bunch of scientifically challenged lawyers and attempt to add these bird-killing windmills to the power grid.