- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Rail Tie Wind Project an unethical endeavor

Advocates of the 26,000-acre Rail Tie Wind Project claim it will promote energy self-sufficiency. This could not be farther from the truth. The considerable energy, materials, labor, and environmental damage involved in producing and installing a wind “farm” occur on top of a preexisting power infrastructure that it will not and cannot replace.

Turbines cannot produce sufficient constant power to replace conventional power plants. To prevent regular black- and brown-outs, power plants must continue operation in addition to the turbines, which must halt due to maintenance, ice formation, too little, and even too much wind. All turbines have a “cut-out” wind speed at which point the generator shuts off to prevent damage. The blades will spin but fail to generate power. The models ConnectGen is considering cut out at wind speeds of just 55.9 miles per hour, typical for all turbines.

Wind energy draws components from foreign sources complicit in modern slavery. 80% of the rare earth minerals used in turbine manufacture are mined and processed in China under horrific health and environmental conditions. The remainder come from Chinese-owned mines in the Congo hand-worked by children. The cobalt mined there is used in batteries like those developed to store wind energy.

Moreover, turbines are remarkably inefficient, harnessing only 60% of the wind’s power at best—a number which remains consistent despite other improvements in the industry. Even imagining a world in which the wind maintained a steady 30 mph, turbines never required maintenance, ice never formed on blades, and the necessary minerals and metals were domestically mined using equitable labor practices—even in such an impossible scenario, Wyoming would have to be covered with turbines in order to generate enough energy to be self-sufficient.

A reasonable person might ask why turbines are being installed at all. The answer is banal and predictable: money. ConnectGen sends representatives from Houston to Wyoming, assuring us of their expertise and trustworthiness. They exploit financially vulnerable ranchers and virtue-signaling citizens who reasonably assume that these “experts” would not recommend something inefficient, impractical, illogical, and unethical. Unfortunately, the Rail Tie Wind Project is just that.

Emma Clute

Laramie