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The Catch 22 of windmills

Talk about a Catch 22, the residents of Howard and Tipton counties are caught in a classic dichotomy, paradox or whatever description fits the situation concerning ill-advised determinations by their respective county governments.

Tipton County government got snookered by a bunch of slick-talking professional presenters, and Howard County government essentially ignored tensions developing among citizens in Tipton County.

The Catch 22 is the fact that the anti-windmill citizens of Howard and Tipton counties will have a portion of their federal taxes allocated to the monthly lease payments of people who have contracted to have windmills on their land. The payments will be derived from federal subsidies paid to wind and solar operators. The wind and solar companies could not financially exist without federal government subsidization. The one question wind power companies will not answer is “Can you exist without taxpayer dollars?”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, wind power was the most heavily subsidized form of electric power for fiscal year 2010, and the cost keeps getting higher. In 2010 wind was subsidized to the tune of $4.986 billion or $56.29 per megawatt hour. In comparison, oil and gas, which is an exponentially larger energy producer, had a subsidy of $654 million, not billion, or $0.64 per megawatt hour. The oil and gas cost for each megawatt generated was $50 per megawatt hour cheaper than wind – a huge difference.

These subsidy comparisons don’t take into consideration that coal, oil, and natural gas paid more than $10 billion in corporate taxes and wind and solar are negative drains on the United States budget.

The United States should eliminate all subsidies for all forms of energy with a projected savings of over $11 billion annually. This would create a level playing field for all energy sources, and the American people could decide which sources to choose. It would also take the American government out of the business of deciding what energy source they choose to support at any given time.

But back to local considerations, namely, who benefits from the wind farms? We know, because of subsidies, the wind farm developers have a business model based on subsidies, so they benefit off the backs of the American taxpayer. A very small number of land owners benefit, and they also benefit off the back of the American taxpayer, their neighbors. I’m sure if the truth was known, the landowners who have these monstrous machines in back and front yards are having second thoughts.

But dollar signs can make a person rationalize very distasteful situations. A person who has nine of these Frankensteins on their property is set for life because of the income derived. Whatever income for property owners, there is a countering loss of surrounding property values for people who get absolutely no benefit. No subsidies, irritations from various negatives created by the windmills, and plunging property values – that’s what they get.

I am amazed on a daily basis how little people know about solar and wind energy. There are people who believe renewables are free, and there is no cost for delivery. But the one factor that stands out in my mind is that wind and solar are intermittent. There are times when the velocity of the wind will not turn a turbine blade and times of dead calm, therefore no electricity is generated. Solar only generates electricity when the sun is available, which at best, is half the day. Electricity cannot be stored, and that is why solar and wind powers are intermittent suppliers of energy.

Try running a 24-hour, around-the-clock operation like Chrysler or Haynes International on intermittent energy such as wind and solar. The fact of the matter is, at this time, the United States doesn’t need wind or solar as a major or minor component of electrical generation. Solar and wind are no more than “feel good” programs for the “Green” coalition.

Elected officials of Howard and Tipton counties should have protected anti-wind constituents that far outnumber the recipients of wind company largesse. Howard County government keeps falling back on the fact they signed a contract with the wind company and any pushback would result in a lawsuit. Since when has the county run away from litigation if it affects the majority of citizens under county “leadership”? Maybe I’m using the term “leadership” too loosely.

There remain avenues open to Howard County government to stop the rape of the eastern Howard County landscape if any intestinal fortitude exists within that group. The threat of a lawsuit shouldn’t scare any member of the county commission. No company wants to come into a community under an umbrella of total rejection. Howard County government has to take off the gloves and let all wind producers know that they are not wanted in Howard County.

The political situation in Tipton County is out of control with county commissioners in love with wind power and the taxes produced. What a disaster for the residents of Tipton County.