Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but I don’t think so. I think the world is fed up with their nonsense. I’ve often written about the stupidity of wind generated electricity on any scale other than personal. It isn’t that there are better ways to provide our energy needs, it isn’t because of the debilitating noise it produces, or the birds and bats that they kill. No, it isn’t about the scenery or the environmental devastation it creates when materials are gathered for manufacturing the turbines. It isn’t even about the cost. Of course, all of these issues have merit when it comes to opposing the whirly gigs and pinwheels, but the most compelling reason why everyone should oppose the idea of a grid run on renewable energy is that it just isn’t feasible.
Consider the posits of Robert Bryce.
Between 1985 and 2011, global electricity generation increased by about 450 terawatt-hours per year.
At the end of 2011, the U.S. had 47,000 megawatts of installed wind-energy capacity. In 2011, all the wind turbines in the U.S. together produced about 120 terawatt-hours of electricity. Thus, just to keep pace with the growth in global electricity demand by using wind energy, we would have to install about 3.75 times the total current installed wind capacity in the U.S. every year. That means that global wind-energy capacity would have to increase by about 176,000 megawatts each and every year.
That would be an enormous challenge, given that between 2010 and 2011, global wind-energy capacity increased by just 41,000 megawatts. That’s a record increase, and one that advocates of renewable energy are quick to laud. But those same advocates refuse to acknowledge the energy sprawl inherent in wind energy, nor will they admit the growing backlash against the wind industry.
The power density of wind energy is roughly two watts per square meter, or about five megawatts per square mile. That means that by the end of 2011, the U.S. had covered a land area of about 9,400 square miles, just slightly smaller than the state of Maryland, with wind turbines. Therefore, to keep up with the growth in global electricity demand by using wind energy alone, the global wind industry will need to cover a land area of some 35,000 square miles — about the size of Indiana — with wind turbines. And it will have to do so every year from now through 2035.
He goes on by putting it in perspective,…. “In order to merely keep up with the growth of global electricity use, the wind industry would have to cover 96 square miles every day with wind turbines. That’s an area about the size of four Manhattans every day. Now, recall, that’s only to keep pace with the increase of electricity demand. And the econuts actually use the word “sustainable” in connection with wind energy. But, there’s even more to consider. The low hanging fruit of location is already used. The more places where wind gets installed, the less efficient they become. And, they already are horrible in this regard.
Sustainable is exactly what wind energy is not! There isn’t enough locations on earth to support the wind energy fantasy. I’m not sure how we got to this point. For years, many people, including myself and the readers here, have been saying words like “infrastructure”, “materials required”, “alternate current”, and “environmental impact”. But, all of this was blissfully ignored, and not understood. We should have stuck with monosyllabic words. We were always met with something similar to a grunt from a hippy saying “thing go round and round, make electricity.” Then they’d go back to smoking what ever mind altering hallucinogen was in vogue for the day.
But, what I find most fascinating, is that the econuts would have never allowed this fantasy of theirs to come true, anyway. I don’t have a calculation about whether or not the earth possesses enough REE to fulfill this galactically stupid stupid idea, but I do know there aren’t enough REE mines in operation today. And, one of the first places the world would turn to is the U.S. We’ve got lots of the stuff! But, do you think for a second those lunatics would sit idly by while we strip mined enough REE to provide for the windmills? Not a chance!
While we’re at it, the first windmills for electricity production were built by the end of the 19th century by Prof James Blyth in Scotland (1887), Charles F. Brush in Cleveland, Ohio (1887–1888). Can we dispense with the idea that this is an emerging technology? It is an blatant falsehood to make such an uttering. These things have been around for 125 years. They are not going to become adopted.
I think it’s well past time we exposed our grown children to the realm of reality. We should passing laws making wind turbine proposals punishable by law. They’re extracting enormous wealth from the citizenry and there is very little in return. At best, this was a Quixotic dream, at worst, this was an attempt to impoverish the world.