America’s wind power industry somehow manages to attract almost no negative coverage in the bought and paid for Media, or litigation from extremist environmentalists, despite causing some of the most obvious and tragic environmental catastrophes so far this century.
Last August I wrote about the ongoing slaughter of whales off America’s northeast coast thanks to construction of offshore wind turbines:
“When you detonate massive explosives,
repeatedly drive steel piles into the ocean floor with a hydraulic hammer, and
blast high decibel sonar mapping signals underwater,
you’re going to harm animals that rely on sound to orient themselves, and find food, and find their companions in the ocean.
To say it is mere coincidence, hundreds of these creatures have washed ashore, dead, all of a sudden, during precisely the same months when the blasting and pounding began, is brazen deception.”
Nonetheless, when the story can’t be buried, deception, lying, obfuscation by NOAA, BOEM, etc., is the strategy.
Not one major environmental organization, government watchdog agency, or media outlet has called for a slowdown in industrial offshore wind projects.
Instead, they repeatedly claim these allegations are misinformation.
And from that “paragon of truth”, FactCheck.org, we get this: “No Evidence Offshore Wind Development Killing Whales.”
Let’s set aside the obvious negative impact on whale populations of tens of thousands of marine surveying and construction sorties into offshore areas where shipping traffic has never before been concentrated, or the impact of noise and explosions on not just one site, such as would be the case with a lone oil rig, but on thousands of sites, each one being prepared for an offshore wind turbine.
The destruction wrought by wind turbines extends well beyond what it’s doing to whales.
A report just released by a New England fishermen association summarizes research they completed on offshore wind projects.
Their findings are stunning.
Just the geographic extent of these proposed offshore wind projects is unprecedented.
According to the report, “Federal regulators at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) have designated almost 10 million acres for wind farm surveys and development.” That is over 15,000 square miles.
Not included in that allocation are the corridors where high voltage lines will have to cross the ocean floor to transfer electricity from many thousands of turbines to land-based power grids.
The report found, “electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emanating from subsea cables appear to produce birth deformities in juvenile lobster.” That’s just the beginning.
The report also found, wind farms “increase sea surface temperatures and alter upper-ocean hydrodynamics in ways scientists do not yet understand,” and “whip up sea sediment and generate highly turbid wakes that are 30-150 meters wide and several kilometers in length, having a major impact on primary production by phytoplankton which are the base of marine food chains.” And there’s more.
Wind turbines “generate operational noise in a low frequency range (less than 700 Hz) with most energy concentrated between 2 and 200 Hz.
This frequency range overlaps with that used by fish for communication, mating, spawning, and spatial movement,” and “high voltage direct current undersea cables produce magnetic fields that negatively affect the drifting trajectory of haddock larvae by interfering with their magnetic orientation abilities.”
Haddock are “a significant portion of U.S. commercial fish landings and are an important component of the marine food chain.”
Nothing to see here, right?
What’s going on off the coast of New England is being allowed to happen because of disgraceful negligence and malfeasance on the part of America’s environmentalist community, and the indecent harvesting of federal and state subsidies, courtesy of Wall Street and the Congress, and countless anonymous bureaucrats in the federal government
What’s about to happen in California is even worse, and is proceeding without any organized opposition or serious criticism; the fed up, tax-paying people who could offer serious criticism have left the state
Earlier this year, the federal government leased 583 square miles of deep ocean waters off the coast of California for FLOATING offshore wind farms.
When the first phase of these offshore wind developments is completed, these wind farms will deliver 4.5 gigawatts , i.e., 4500 MW of installed capacity of “clean” electricity to the California grid. That may sound like a lot of electricity. It’s not.
To begin with, offshore wind only blows intermittently. The most optimistic projections for the actual yield of these turbines are never more than 50 percent. Most likely it is about 40% over its 20-year lifetime.
This means, much less than 2.25 gigawatts will come from these FLOATING offshore wind farms.
California’s annual-average electricity loaded onto the grid is about 32 gigawatts (of which only 22 gigawatts are produced in-state), which means, if these offshore wind farms are ever completed, they’ll supply a mere 6% of California’s current electricity demand, MW – the same MW amount currently coming from Diablo Canyon, California’s last operating nuclear power plant.
But how many turbines will this take, and what will they look like?
The biggest wind turbines are rated at 10 megawatts, these machines are 1,000 feet tall, which is more than three times higher than the Statue of Liberty from the water line to the tip of the torch.
About 450 of these monsters would have to be built, floated 20 miles offshore, anchored to the seabed with cables more than a mile long
Then, from each turbine, a high voltage cable would dangle 4,000 feet to reach the ocean floor, where it would then lie on the sea bed for 20 miles – some proposals actually call for them to be buried – to transmit electricity to the onshore power grid.
Four hundred and fifty floating wind turbines, each one of them with vertical dimensions that are longer than a modern, 100,000 ton aircraft supercarrier.
There are huge and unresolved engineering hurdles involved in developing such large floating wind turbines.
California may not get any bids from European wind companies, because the various project costs will be so high, the average electricity cost will be at least 40 c/kWh, before subsidies, about 20 c/kWh, after subsidies; that will be the WHOLESALE price paid by a utility to an owner.
That expensive electricity will be added to the mix of electricity a utility buys.
Bear in mind, if California’s state legislature gets its way, and the state goes fully electric – think all space heaters, water heaters, dryers, along with all trucks, buses and cars going fully electric – electricity demand will more than triple.
And imagine all the high voltage distribution lines, and all the batteries to buffer the massive surges of intermittent wind power, and future solar power. It is mind boggling
But, in one of the most reputable mainstream studies produced to date, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University, Mark Jacobson, completed a series of simulations, culminating in a report released in December 2021 that called for 20 percent of California’s electricity to derive from offshore wind.
NOTE : All of his prior studies have been debunked by professional energy systems analysts as totally unworkable. But, in California, etc., there are plenty of brainwashed/befuddled people, without knowledge of energy systems, who just love what he is saying.
Making more conservative assumptions regarding the size of each offshore turbine and production, Jacobson predicted more than 12,000 FLOATING offshore wind turbines would be required to provide 20% of the electricity Californians WILL be using in the future, say 2050
Jacobson’s study projected about 33% of California’s future electricity production to come from a combination of onshore and offshore wind turbines.
Imagine the logistics.
How many ships will this take?
How many deep-dive submarines and divers?
How many port facilities?
How many new homes for the construction workers?
What about the undersea power cables?
What about the storage batteries needed to buffer nearly 20,000 MW of VARIABLE electricity?
What about the ongoing maintenance cost, $/MWh; regular offshore is about $80/MWh
What about the raw materials and rare metals needed to build all these leviathans?
What about the $billions and $billions of dollars that will flow into the pockets of the moneyed special interests invested in this disaster of a project?
It likely will be paid for by taxpayers and ratepayers and added to national debt.
In California, four standard nuclear plants, each with two or three 1200 MW units, costing about $6,000/installed kW, would produce enough steady, base-load power, to avoid the need for ALL onshore and offshore wind turbines.
Each plant would need about 1000 acres.
Production would be 4 x 2.5 x 1200 x 8766 x 0.9 = 94.67 TWh/y, for each of at least 70 years
Required floating, 10 MW wind turbines = 94672800/(10 x 8766 x 0.4, lifetime average CF) = 2700
California in-state generation 203.2 TWh; imports 84 TWh; total loaded onto grids 287.2 TWh, in 2022, of which wind was 31 TWh and solar 49 TWh
The nuclear plants would provide THREE TIMES as much electricity (base-loaded, or load-following, as in France) as wind, PLUS last at least THREE TIMES as long as floating wind (70 years vs 20 years)
Shall we reiterate what else we already know about wind turbines?
The visual blight?
The strobe lights, 24/7/365
Where are the environmentalists hiding?
Where, for that matter, are the economists, the accountants?
Is the mantra “climate crisis” so powerful, that common sense leaves and literally anything goes, including a scheme that delivers not only environmental, but also economic catastrophe?
In 2020, an in-depth financial analysis by the Manhattan Institute documented how “offshore wind’s costs will far exceed its benefits.”
And that was before the supply chain problems, inflation, and interest rate hikes that have forced offshore wind developers from New England to California , to Scotland, to England, to greatly increase the prices of their electricity production, c/kWh, or pull out of unprofitable projects altogether.
Imagine, if this was an oil rig, a desalination plant, or a nuclear power plant.
The opposition would be apoplectic, and that is not hypothetical conjecture. Here is an example.
California had a chance to build another major desalination plant, which would have supplied 55,000 acre feet per year of drought-proof, fresh water to the residents of Orange County, population 3 million.
Along with other projects in the works, this desalination plant could have made the relatively arid coastal county completely independent of imported water. It would be prudent to have a lot of storage to ensure supply, in case the plant has an outage
But environmentalists fought the project at every turn, and in May 2022, in a unanimous vote, the California Coastal Commission denied the construction permit. A big win for continued insanity!
As for oil and gas, California’s state legislators are doing everything they can to destroy production in the state.
And when it comes to nuclear power, the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, California’s last one, narrowly escapes regulatory shutdown every few years, despite being designed to operate well past the middle of this century.
The scandalous double standard at work here can only be attributed to a combination of powerful Wall Street-based, special interests representing the wind power industry, interacting with federal and state legislatures and environmentalist movements that are bought off, AND alarmingly stupid, AND alarmingly money grubbing, such as the Sierra Club, etc.
As it is, hundreds of $billions of taxpayer subsidies are on track to pay for offshore wind, per Wall Street designs, courtesy of the Inflation Reduction Act, which will actually increase inflation.
If it is not stopped, it will be one of the most egregious cases of economic waste and environmental destruction in human history. Stopping it would require the demise or curtailment of the IPCC, WEF, for starters
US/UK 66,000 MW OF OFFSHORE WIND BY 2030; AN EXPENSIVE FANTASY
BATTERY SYSTEM CAPITAL COSTS, OPERATING COSTS, ENERGY LOSSES, AND AGING
CO2 IS A LIFE GAS; NO CO2 = NO FLORA AND NO FAUNA
LIFE WITHOUT OIL?
Life without oil means many products that are made with oil, such as the hundreds listed below, would need to be provided by wind and solar and hydro.
Folks, including Biden's handlers, wanting to get rid of fossil fuels, such as crude oil, better start doing some rethinking.
The above also applies to natural gas, which is much preferred by many industries, such as glass making
If you do not have abundant low-cost energy, you cannot have modern industrial economies.
Without Crude Oil, there can be no Electricity.
Every experienced engineer knows, almost all the parts of wind, solar and battery systems, for electricity generation and storage, from mining materials to manufacturing parts, to installation and commissioning, in addition to the infrastructures that produce materials, parts, specialized ships, etc., are made from the oil derivatives manufactured from raw crude oil.
There is no escaping of this reality, except in green lalaland.