One has trouble deciding whether to laugh or to cry after reading your October 2, 2019 feature: “Offshore wind energy checks all the boxes: affordable, reliable, clean, and economically sound” because every bit of this title is, of course, patently false!
First of all, while windmills on land are enormously expensive and would not exist without massive government subsidies and mandates, windmills out in the ocean will be many times more expensive as any knowledgeable engineer will confirm. Thus, can “affordable” or “economical” exist without obscenely generous taxpayer and ratepayer financed corporate welfare? Emphatically NO!
As to “reliability,” windmills sitting in the ocean (as well as those sitting on land) will produce virtually no electricity during most of the year unlike what crony-capitalists would have us believe. While a windmill might add some energy to the grid when the wind decides to blow, a windmill adds no capacity to a system since electricity produced is not dispatchable. In other words, one can never count on wind to blow on demand. Therefore all windmills have to be backed up by dependable, fast-acting, non-intermittent sources, typically natural gas, causing the public to pay for electricity production twice: first for extremely expensive low value electricity from windmills, then from reliable hydrocarbon and nuclear sources.
As to being “clean,” wind-generated electricity is perhaps the dirtiest form of electricity generation known to man since it requires moving millions of tons of ore to produce steel, rare earths, and other resources to fabricate components for these extremely expensive monstrosities. For example, just one, single, two-megawatt windmill with its tower and base requires mining 300 tons of iron ore and burning 170 tons of coking coal to produce 200 tons of steel, all of which is transported by oil or natural gas. Consequently, mining, production and transport requires more energy than what a windmill will produce in its expected lifetime especially as it corrodes out in the ocean.
Worse than just a shame is the level of technical ignorance displayed in the aforementioned fallacious editorial that, unfortunately, will probably be believed by a large segment of the population, especially school children that continue to be indoctrinated in global warming/climate change/carbon dioxide nonsense. For example, the current silly fear of carbon dioxide, a wonderful natural fertilizer is as essential to life on Earth as is oxygen, sunlight, and water!
Finally, obsession with windmills, an ancient largely-discarded, dead-end technology, foolishly resurrected decades ago in the United States to aid rent seekers and other environmental predators selling tax shelters to garner lavish subsidies, has been one of the greatest blunders of our time.
In summary then, absent nonexistent electricity storage, wind simply cannot even come close to providing reliable, robust, industrial-strength power that our nation needs.
M.S. Medeiros, Jr.
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