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This page has some articles about industrial wind power. What makes them different, is that they arent written by lobbyists.
My name is John Droz, jr, and Im a physicist who has also been an environmental activist for some 25 years. Ive been a member of the Sierra Club, the Adirondack Council, the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, and the Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks, among others. [The views expressed here are mine as a scientist promoting science, and may not be consistent with the political agendas of those organizations. None of this is about me anyways. It all comes down to this: do you want our energy and environmental policies determined by Science or lobbyists? So far the lobbyists are pitching a shutout.]
The main point of all of my documents is to educate citizens about the basics of industrial wind power, a highly complex technical matter. [A major belief of mine is the KISS (Keep It Simple) philosophy, and my writings attempt to incorporate that principle.]
What then? The objective would be for educated citizens to demand that their government only support (and allow on the grid) energy solutions that have been verified as legitimate using scientific methodology. Science is not a body of data, but is really a methodology. Science without the Scientific Method is just a set of opinions.
That is my key message here: we do have serious energy (and environmental) problems, and we should insist on Sound Scientific Solutions for such matters.
[Note 1: Wind energy is the more technically correct term, but since most citizens are more familiar with the phrase wind power, I will use the latter here.]
[Note 2: This is not a NIMBY issue for me, as no wind power projects are proposed for my community.]
[Note 3: Industrial wind power refers to large scale ventures designed to provide electrical power on a commercial basis. This is an entirely different product (for several technical reasons) from home or boat based wind power generators, which can sometimes make economic sense.]
The ONLY legitimate reason industrial wind power should exist today is for it to live up to its promoters assurances that it will meaningfully (and affordably) help reduce greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. CO2). However (since neither one of these conditions are being met), in almost all cases, wind power development is instead sold to a community based on the financial incentives offered by the developers.
This, of course, is a completely different and unrelated consideration. As the picture on the right shows, the only thing green in this whole matter is the substantial profit being made by the developers and their paid supporters. So begins a series of serious incongruities.
It is an unfortunate indictment of our society today that so many important decisions are primarily based on whats in it financially for me. One obvious consequence of this shortsighted and selfish perspective is that we get what we deserve.
To those people who say wind power is good because it brings money to their community, then we would expect them to be leading the charge promoting other local economic developments that would also bring money to their community, like: a regional landfill, a chemical plant, a prison for terrorists, etc.
Courtesy of WindToons. See their site for many other insightful representations.
I am STRONGLY in favor of reducing the pollutants of fossil fuel power facilities (like coal), and of aggressively investigating other good options for producing electricity. My main concern is that we should not be wasting time and money on illusionary solutions like some of the alternatives being promoted by those with vested financial interests in them.
A critical fact to understand is that just because a power source is an alternative, or a renewable, does NOT automatically mean that it is better than any conventional or fossil fuel source! In other words, electrical energy alternatives/renewables should not be given a free pass on common sense scrutiny, and the use of scientific methodology, in objectively evaluating their merits. (See near the bottom of this page for status of Common Sense.)
Whether an alternative/renewable is acceptable is a highly technical matter that should be decided on the basis of a comprehensive, independent, objective and transparent evaluation of three key conditions: a) its technical performance, b) the economics of the power produced, and c) its FULL environmental impact.
All independent evidence to date indicates that industrial wind power fails on all three of these critical counts.
Now, does stating that fact make me anti-green? How absurd a conclusion that would be! No, it makes me anti-illusion or pro-science. And I fully support legitimate renewables like industrial geothermal.
My articles discussing various aspects of this issue have been grouped into two categories: 1 - those of interest to anyone who wants to know more about industrial wind power, and 2 - those that relate to local groups who are organizing to resist the wind power conglomerate.
As a bonus, a few selected documents written by other experts in the energy field are also referenced. Here is an example: Key Industry Terms in the wind energy business, is an important paper by energy expert Glenn Schleede that does a fine job of explaining many of the technical concepts that we are dealing with. Please read this closely!
Articles of General Interest
The Decline Of Science: Discusses the over-riding issue that has led to government support for wind energy. To adequately resist these political directives citizens must have a clear understanding of what they are up against. [Rev 6/24/10]
Wind Power - How We Got Here. This article explains some history of electrical power generation, and how wind power compares to our conventional electrical energy sources. This argument has nothing to do with visual impact, or any of the other common (and legitimately) cited faults of wind power. [Rev 11/8/08]
This (surprisingly) unique perspective is the basis for a PRESENTATION available to any open-minded organization (or community) that wants to see how wind power stacks up against our traditional power sources. There is a wealth of information on the 200± slides, and it is now available online (Electrical Energy - Sound Scientific Solutions). Closely studying this puts a lot about wind energy into the proper perspective. [Hint: this is at an easy-to-remember link EnergyPresentation.Info, so pass it on to other open-minded people.]
The live version is still the best option as it includes full commentary, more interesting slides, built-in video, and an extensive Q&A afterwords. The live Presentation lasts a little over an hour, and goes quite a bit beyond what appears in the first essay, including (for instance) some of the key points from The Power of Energy (see next article). If you are interested in having this free Presentation put on in your community, please email me.
The Power of Energy. This is an essay about how we got into this mess, and how to get out. It focuses on the deterioration of the ability of our society to do Critical Thinking. [Rev 10/2/08]
The two driving causes behind wind power are Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) enacted in one way or another in some 30 states, and Federal subsidies. Although the declared intent of these is to help with electrical energy issues, they both cause more problems than they solve. The War of the Worlds discusses the RPS and why it is so counterproductive. Unfortunately, a national RPS is now being considered. If it is structured anything like the states currently are, it will also be a very bad idea. [Rev 12/18/08]
In 2011 North Carolina is going through the process of approving the first industrial wind project in the state. This summary shows how inadequate the approval process was (and is). This is worth reading as what is transpiring in NC is indicative of what has happened in many other places.
As a part of what is going on in NC, there are no human health and safety assessment as part of the wind development approval process. In my communications with the NC State Health Director, he asked me to give him an idea of what health and safety concerns there were. Here is my answer, which applies worldwide.
DOE + AWEA = DOA: a partial critique of the embarrassingly bad 2008 DOE (read AWEA) report about wind power in 2030. [Rev 11/8/08]
Safety In Numbers Can Be An Illusion answers the question How can so many people can be wrong about wind power? Alternatively phrased: how many environmentalists does it take to screw up our energy policies? [Rev 11/8/08]
Some people believe that the situation is hopeless. Their opinion is that our federal and state representatives have gone so far away from the science that it will take years for them to get back to it. Although I can certainly see some basis for this skepticism, Im an optimistic person by nature. As such I am proposing a solution that (if done properly) will fix the entire wind power matter:EEA. Please speak to your federal representatives abut this. [Rev 1/15/09]
Getting Up To Speed on Wind Power (NY), and
Getting Up To Speed on Wind Power (US).
There are two versions of this collection of articles: New York and US. [Note: the US version is for non-NYers and Canadians.] Both are a more detailed summary of the wind power issue, and are made up of five (or six for NY) sections: a) an overview of the wind power situation, b) the Executive Summary [covers two main points; this has been published in many newspapers], c) An Environmental Choice [this is addressed to conscientious, environmentally concerned citizens, and again focuses on just two points], d) Alicia [a powerful analogy of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) situation], e) a several page collection of references to some of the best wind power documents written, and f) in the NY version there is a discussion of the proposed Article X and its implications. [Rev 6/14/08]
My NYSERDA remarks were the comments I made at a very important meeting held on December 12, 2007. The NYS Energy Research and Development Authority is the key state agency that is supposed to be providing objective energy information to citizens of New York. Instead it has become a shill for the wind power industry. [See #14 below for a later report.]
Since wind power is the offspring of Global Warming, I have been asked to give my take as a scientist about Global Warming. This is it. [Rev 6/16/12]
Models of Illusion shows just how much our conclusions about Global Warming (and thus wind power) are influenced by a few computer programmers, and how inherently speculative computer models really are. [Rev 7/22/09]
Articles for Local Groups
See attached Hall of Fame list for NYS Towns that have enacted citizen oriented wind power legislation!
Note: it is NOT enough to have well-intentioned, hard-working, dedicated people fighting this scourge. This is a marketing (public relations) issue. To have a real chance to win a local challenge, community resisters MUST go about this in the right way! Be prepared that the proponents of wind energy will aggressively try to pigeonhole local resisters as anti-progress, anti-green NIMBYs. As such, paying attention to the details, from the beginning, is profoundly important. This section has some ideas about how to do that.
A common situation is that you have three minutes to get up and speak to your town board (or county commissioners, or state representatives, etc.) about a proposed wind project. What you say, and how you say it, is critical to get right! To explain this I wrote What Not To Say (a play on the popular TV program What Not To Wear). Please read it very carefully. Saying exactly what is recommended there has been proven to be the most effective approach tried anywhere.
I created a series of short videos that discuss some common topics. Our hero is citizen Jane. Im calling the video series Jane Discusses Energy. The first is where she talks with a friend about some wind energy issues. The second is where she meets with her town supervisor about a proposed wind energy project in her community, and shares with him her research findings. It follows the approach recommended in the What Not To Say article.
This online post of mine discusses the approach issue further. Part Two is feedback from a small successful group, that shares their conclusions. One excellent paper I was subsequently sent is consistent with our position and worthy for all to see Watts With The Wind.
Anti-Wind Strategies: is an earlier analysis of what is the most effective anti-wind strategy for local groups opposing wind power. [Rev 11/5/08]
A fundamental reality to be clear about is that wind energy is absolutely NOT just a diluted, less-efficient version of our conventional sources (e.g. nuclear power). This is a CRITICAL concept to get your head around. Here is my simple analogy that should be helpful.
Nature Defeated is astute commentary about the foolishness going on here, from an observant citizen.
Some Legal Options: an explanation of six different legal solutions individuals and groups have for dealing with conflicted representatives. The emphasis here is on choices in New York, but similar alternatives exist elsewhere. [Rev 7/23/08]. This related article also discusses some legal options. There are those currently considering a class action lawsuit and other large-scale measures. If you would like to support that effort, send me an email.
Winning The War: is about using good psychology in dealing with confrontational associates. [Rev 11/1/07]
There are some good independent movies about the realities of wind energy, just starting to make the rounds. Citizen groups should consider showing these worthwhile films in their community: Windfall, Con With The Wind and They Are Not Green. For those who get discouraged about this situation (almost all of us), I STRONGLY recommend that you rent the movie Amazing Grace. It is VERY pertinent.
HOW TO KEEP UP-TO-DATE
Here are some examples of sources that I recommend
Some that are primarily about energy matters:
Master Resource Blog (a daily article on pertinent matters): bookmark Master Resource.
National Wind Watch (which collects information from all over regarding wind energy): National Wind Watch.
Industrial Wind Action Group (ditto): Industrial Wind Action.
For NYS focused wind news, get on industry insider Rob Aliassos list. Email Rob.
For Canadian focused wind news, see Ontario Wind Resistance.
For European focused wind news, get on Angela Kellys list. Email Angela.
This site primarily focuses on wind energy related health issues.
This is mostly about global warming matters:
Subscribe to the Global Warming Policy Foundation's newsletter. Email Benny Peiser.
These cover both both energy and global warming matters:
Get on the Science and Environmental Policy Project newsletter. Email Ken Haapala.
Subscribe to the Cornwall Alliance newsletter (faith based). Email Dr. Cal Beisner.
This is about hydrofracking and water quality:
Subscribe to the New York Water Working Group. Email Katherine Nadeau (EANY).
[Note: the solution to hydrofacking is the same as for other technical issues a proper scientific assessment.]
Commentary: One refrain I periodically hear from some people (mostly pseudo-environmentalists) is that they believe that industrial wind power should be part of our energy mix.
Of course, when I ask them exactly WHY it should be, they dont have any real answers. They just have some instinctive feeling that variety is good, or that doing something is better than doing nothing. Not necessarily!
Heres an analogy. Lets say that a college student comes into the doctors office complaining of miscellaneous health problems. The doctor asks about his diet. The student says its primarily McDonalds hamburgers, Kentucky Fried Chicken dinners, and Dominos pizzas. The doctor says that the student needs more variety in his diet.
The student goes back to campus, and adds Twinkies to his fast-food dinners, saying its what the doctor ordered. Thats about how much sense adding industrial wind power to our grid system makes.
Indeed our energy source diet could be better! But making an improvement means: 1) really replacing some of the bad stuff, and 2) substituting something that is genuinely better.
Adding a source that has trivial value, and numerous liabilities, is not any type of legitimate solution. Wed categorize such proposals as Twinkie thinking.
Some material regarding local rules and regulations:
Model Wind Ordinance 1 from Madison, Idaho (PDF), and Model Wind Ordinance 2 from Eddington, Maine (PDF), and Model Wind Ordinance 3 from Trempealeau County, Wisconsin (PDF) and Model Wind Ordinance 4 from Jackson, Maine (PDF) are excellent examples of thoughtful and sound local legislations dealing with wind power development. The people in Bethany, NY also did a superb analysis (PDF) of various considerations that should be written into a local ordinance. Here is a collection of community (Wisconsin) wind ordinances as well as an excellent Setback Recommendations Report. Make SURE that you read this excellent report on how to properly handle Decommissioning costs.
Model Sound Ordinance from two acoustical experts. For the full report see this. The larger file includes an excellent discussion about the impacts of noise from wind turbines. If you want a comprehensive page of acoustical related studies, this is superior. And here is one that focuses on Infrasound (by a peer-reviewed PhD).
Its laughable when wind promoters assert that having an industrial behemoth next door wont affect the value of that persons home. There are simply too many reports on this important subject to list them all here, so see this summary (pdf) page. A very effective wind deterrent has proven to be a Property Value Guarantee. This is explained at this link.
Some material regarding the technical, economic and environmental issues with wind energy:
A MUST READ is an outstanding overview of the wind situation, by independent energy expert Jon Boone: Part 1 and Part 2. Problem With Wind by Eric Rosenbloom is also a superior overview explanation about why industrial wind power doesnt make good sense.
By FAR the number one reason for industrial wind powers existence, is its promoters promise that it will meaningfully reduce CO2, a key global warming emission. So the important question is: just how helpful is it? The best independent scientific analysis to date is a 2007 National Academy of Sciences report (PDF). It concluded that under an scenario that wind power might be able to reduce CO2 level in the US by 1.8%. By 2020. This measly result shows just how inefficient and ineffective wind power is. There are several other studies done by independent experts, that have reached the same conclusion. Here is one example.
Two other superior analyses are: 1) "Cost and Quantity of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Avoided by Wind Generation" by Peter Lang, and 2) "Evaluation of Wind Power Avoided Emissions Benefits" by Tom Hewson. These papers expand on the fine work of James Oswald that demonstrates the high cost and low CO2 savings of industrial wind power. The bottom line is that there is no independent scientific evidence that says wind power does anything consequential yet the US is literally on a path to spend TRILLIONS of dollars on it! This is sound public policy?
In their continuing effort to obfuscate the science, in August of 2010 AWEA started promoting a paper that purported that wind energy actually did save consequential amounts of CO2. A thorough discussion of this specious claim is found here.
Please read two very recent studies by independent scientists who have evaluated just some of the agricultural costs that can be incurred in communities that host wind projects:
a) Study #1 looks at the additional agricultural costs incurred due to the destruction of bats. Amazingly it did a calculation for EVERY US county, and the cost is typically millions of dollars per year. Note that their calculation does NOT include the economic impact of more mosquitos (e.g. more cases of Equine Encephalitis).
b) Study #2 looks at meteorological agricultural impacts resulting from wind projects and concluded that surface temperatures and moisture can be adversely affected in an area of 15± miles downwind of a development! They did not calculate the economic cost of this, but it also could be substantial.
c) Then there is this article which states If wind turbines are allowed, tens of thousands of acres of farmland may become untreatable. That's because the crop dusting planes need enough room to safety navigate and make turns.
Master Resource is a good site for energy information. An example of the articles appearing there is one by Dr. Michael Trebilcock (a Law Professor at the University of Toronto, etc.) and his excellent testimony about a proposed Ontario RPS type legislation. He does a fine job of stating a case against industrial wind energy.
There are several reports that have been published about the Dutch experience with wind power, and why it is not what it seems. This September 2009 study is a good summary. LangStill another worthwhile one was written by J. A. Halkema (M.S.E.E.), also a Dutch energy expert, and is titled Wind Energy Facts and Fiction: A Half Truth is a Whole Lie.
Jesse Ausubel is Director of the Program for the Human Environment, and is a Senior Research Associate at The Rockefeller University in NYC. He has written several comprehensive energy analyses. An example is Future Environment of the Energy Business.
On October 30, 2008, the NYS Attorney General announced new Code of Ethics rules for minimizing conflicts of interests with wind power developers and local officials making decisions of approving such developments. The main problem with these, is that they are voluntary. Although we would always like more, these new regulations are welcomed extra protections for citizens. Other states would be well advised to enact similar measures.
Most reports of turbine related accidents and incidents dont usually make it into the news. The fact is that there are a lot more of these than you might expect which is another unaccounted cost of this energy alternative. Read this report for examples.
Some material about alternatives to wind energy:
There are many good articles that have been published about Nuclear energy. Since there is a lot of misinformation around, it would be advisable to read at least two of these: The Case For Terrestrial Energy (Tucker) and Nuclear Risk in Perspective (PDF). The latter is by Dr. Bernard Cohen (professor emeritus of physics and of environmental and occupational health at the University of Pittsburgh). If you then want to go into a LOT more detail, then check out the site written by Dr. Jeremy Whitlock (a reactor physicist at the Chalk River Laboratories of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd) Nuclear FAQ. Still another excellent article is one on nuclear economics and regulations by Dr. Michael Fox: Untold Story (PDF). A wealth of safety and other nuclear power information can be found here.
Mini-nuclear solutions are now being aggressively developed by several companies. These hold great promise as they are safe, inexpensive, reliable, dispatchable, can be located almost anywhere (so transmission line cost and environmental destruction can be minimized), etc. Read these two good articles Energy Tribune and World Nuclear. Note that the primary limitations to implementation are not technical, but regulatory. Note also that if mini-nuclear gains approval, that industrial wind power would almost immediately be antiquated. As such, expect strong resistence to this legitimate solution by wind power lobbyists.
The energy solutions proposed by Thomas Casten (and others) are very promising. His presentation about delivered efficiency is most enlightening. It is significant in that it is telling us that there are indeed legitimate ways that we can reduce CO2 emissions MUCH more than with wind power: like TEN TIMES as much!
This is just a tiny sample, and there are dozens of other outstanding articles in my Reference section of the Getting Up To Speed On Wind Power package (above).
There are also several excellent sites that have large collections of objective and scientifically supported material about industrial wind power. Two of the best are: National Wind Watch and Wind Action.
Commentary: To see how wind turbines might look in the Thousand Islands (an example of the extraordinarily scenic areas in upstate NY that developers are heavily targeting) see these simulations. Although no wind turbines are currently proposed for Boldt Castle, the point of these simulations is to not only give perspective as to the size of wind turbines compared to well-known structures, but to also demonstrate the visual impact they would have on world-class venues many of which we often take for granted. Can this really be acceptable because of some financial incentives?
Note: a special thanks to Dave Beaudoin who put these animations together from my photos.
Since the wind power issue actually boils down to using common sense and only exists because of the lack thereof I continue to be amazed at the absence of common sense in the media, especially in articles coming from well-known environmental groups. The light went on when I recently read this obituary. (Not sure exactly who was the original author, but this is a possibility.)
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If there are any questions about these articles, or suggestions for improvements, please contact John (see below).
Note 1: If you would like to be on my email mailing list for occasional information on industrial wind power, send me an email saying so.
If so, please tell me where you are located, as my email list is segregated by location.
Note 2: All documents are in the universal PDF format. To download the free Adobe Reader application go here.
Note 3: In all of my PDF documents, all links should be clickable.
Note 4: All of my documents are version dated. I will have the latest versions above, so periodically check to see if what you have is current.
Note 5: Permission is granted to post any of my articles on any constructive website. Proper credits should be given.
John Droz, jr.
Morehead City, NC Brantingham Lake, NY
Send an email to John