Wind energy is terribly inefficient (approximately 35%) and requires another source of energy as a backup. The backup power must enable utilities to balance power grids when wind conditions aren’t optimum, which is often. All existing solar and wind power must have fossil fuel back up, while solar and wind power cannot be used as back up fossil fuel because of it’s unreliability (the wind may not blow adequately or the sun is not shining). Backup power must be 100% reliable to avoid blackouts.
Turbine blades are, for the most part, unrecyclable and are currently filling up landfills around the world. Researchers estimate that the United States could have more than 720,000+ tons of blade material to dispose of over the next 20 years.
Wind turbines have a negative effect on the ecosystem. Wind turbines are the most serious new threat to important bird species. It is the large, threatened, and endangered birds like hawks, eagles, owls, and condors that cannot adapt to the turbines. Another problem is that throughout the world millions of trees have been chopped down to make way for wind turbines. This is ironic as our planet needs healthy growing forests.
Construction of turbines utilize large amounts of the earth’s resources . Compared with hydrocarbons, green machines entail, on average a 10-fold increase in quantities of material extracted and processed to produce the same amount of energy. The gearbox on a turbine contains many, many gallons of synthetic gear oil and oil is changed periodically. When driving by a field of turbines it is very common to see leaking oil on the hub. Both wind and solar involve the mining of rare earth elements used in processes that create toxic waste that has harmed people and water supplies. All of the machines wear out and there isn’t anything actually renewable about them. This is because companies must continually extract materials to build new machines and replace those that wear out.
Industrial wind turbines last a very short time – 20 years or less. Decommissioning becomes a problem if turbines are not re-powered. Decommissioning a turbine can be costly with the average price right now being approximately $400,000 – $500,000. Funds for this aren’t likely to be available. In addition, most decommissioning plans do not restore the site to it’s original condition. Usually just a few feet of concrete will be removed, a little topsoil added but significant materials will be left permanently in the site. This would make it nearly impossible to ever be used as agricultural ground again.
Wind energy tends to destabilize the power grid and raise electricity prices. Every new wind turbine added to the grid has resulted in higher costs to the consumer, because the coal-fired and nuclear power plants displaced by wind turbines produce electricity at a lower cost.
Michael Moore Present: “Planet of the Humans” Documentary