"Green tags" are not wind energy
July 21, 2006 -- In recent announcements, the National Geographic Society and the New York Audubon society claim that they are buying "wind power." But National Wind Watch (NWW) points out that in fact they are only buying "green tags."
Green tags represent the output of a renewable energy plant, such as an industrial wind power facility, and they can be sold in addition to the actual energy produced. They were invented by Enron to increase the possible sources of revenue for wind plants.
But buying green tags does not add renewable energy to the grid, because that energy was already sold to the grid.
"It is as if a grocery store sold a box of cereal to someone but keeps the box to sell later to someone else," said NWW board member Eric Rosenbloom. "The first customer gets the cereal (and the prize), and the second customer just gets the empty box. You can put it on your shelf and tell people you bought a box of cereal, but in fact you did not."
NWW recognizes that in buying green tags, an organization thereby supports wind energy projects by providing the companies with extra money. That is all that can be claimed. They are not buying wind energy -- neither for themselves nor for others.
Many of these companies do many other things to reduce and redeem their energy use, and the members of NWW encourage and join them in that effort. Support of industrial-scale wind energy, however, should not be part of that effort.
"Big wind is a sprawling, destructive, big-industry non-solution" to our energy problems," adds Rosenbloom. "Modern wind turbines are 100 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. Their blades sweep a vertical area of one and a half acres. They are generally imposed on rural and even wild high-elevation places. And each of them puts out only the occasional sparrow-fart of electricity."
National Wind Watch® is a nonprofit corporation established in 2005 by campaigners from around the U.S. to promote knowledge and raise awareness of the negative environmental and social impacts of industrial wind energy development. Information, analysis, and other materials are available on its web site: https://www.wind-watch.org.