[ exact phrase in "" • results by date ]

[ Google-powered • results by relevance ]


Add NWW headlines to your site (click here)

Get weekly updates

when your community is targeted


RSS feeds and more

Keep Wind Watch online and independent!

Donate via Stripe

Donate via Paypal

Selected Documents

All Documents

Research Links


Press Releases


Campaign Material

Photos & Graphics


Allied Groups

Wind Watch is a registered educational charity, founded in 2005.

News Watch Home

Op-ed: Stop dumping billions into unreliable wind power 

Credit:  By Randy T. Simmons and Jordan Lofthouse | The Salt Lake Tribune | First Published Mar 07 2015 | www.sltrib.com ~~

During George W. Bush’s administration, the Department of Energy set a wildly unrealistic goal to have 20 percent of the nation’s electricity come from wind by 2030. Now, the Obama Administration wishes to fulfill that goal by passing permanent subsidies for wind power.

Wind power has gained a reputation as the future of energy generation, but few wind power advocates seem willing to answer the pertinent question, “What happens when the wind doesn’t blow?” Honestly answering that question means we must acknowledge how undeniably unreliable wind power is. The next logical step should be to stop dumping tens of billions of taxpayer dollars into such a fickle energy source.

In 2014, wind energy only supplied 1.6 percent of total U.S. energy consumption. But, with the growing list of tax incentives, subsidies, federal goals and mandates for wind, we must consider all the implications of boosting wind’s market share.

The first problem with wind is inconsistency. Wind’s inability to supply electricity on a consistent basis renders it dependent on more reliable sources of energy for backup, such as nuclear, coal and natural gas. Wind energy can supplement these conventional sources, but it’s not capable of supplying the base load of power that the country needs.

The inconsistency of wind power also forces us to “cycle” coal, natural gas and hydropower generators in the background so that we can kick them into high gear when the wind stops blowing. Cycling presents its own set of economic and environmental problems, but this is the only way grid operators can drastically increase electricity output whenever demand increases unexpectedly.

The second problem with wind is its low productivity. The amount of energy a wind farm actually produces on average pales in comparison to the energy that it could at full capacity. Wind power only produces its full capacity 20 to 40 percent of the time, as opposed to 70 to 90 percent for coal-fired power, or 60 to 100 percent for nuclear power.

The third problem with wind is the inordinate amount of space required to produce a reasonable amount of energy. Consistent wind blowing at the right speed would require an area about the size of Texas to meet 2005 U.S. electricity demands. However, because wind rarely blows at an optimal speed, much more space would be needed. Are Americans willing to give up the same land area as entire states to reach the DOE’s goal of 20 percent wind power by 2030?

Traditional sources of energy like coal, nuclear and hydro have a huge advantages. We know the amount of available fuel precisely, and we know when we can use that fuel. Wind power may be a nice supplement to our energy portfolio, but we should stop pouring billions of taxpayer dollars into a system that is not predictable, efficient, or reliable. Let the market decide if wind power is worth the investment, not government bureaucrats.

Randy T. Simmons, Ph.D., is director of the Institute for Political Economy and professor of political economy at Utah State University. He also serves as president of Strata Policy, a public policy think tank in Logan. Jordan Lofthouse is a policy analyst at Strata Policy.

Source:  By Randy T. Simmons and Jordan Lofthouse | The Salt Lake Tribune | First Published Mar 07 2015 | www.sltrib.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding
   Donate via Stripe
(via Stripe)
Donate via Paypal
(via Paypal)


e-mail X FB LI M TG TS G Share

News Watch Home

Get the Facts
© National Wind Watch, Inc.
Use of copyrighted material adheres to Fair Use.
"Wind Watch" is a registered trademark.


Wind Watch on X Wind Watch on Facebook Wind Watch on Linked In

Wind Watch on Mastodon Wind Watch on Truth Social

Wind Watch on Gab Wind Watch on Bluesky