This newspaper has argued that the PTC created jobs. That is wrong. It displaced jobs elsewhere, and it is a net destroyer of American jobs because it raised the price of energy for manufacturers. All the companies that must then pay higher electric bills have less money left over to hire employees and grow their enterprises, and consumers have less money to spend as they see fit.
Wind power is horizon blight.
It's also what economists call rent-seeking. "Rents" are what you get when you're a political crony and you convince the government to take money from others and give it to you. The country would be better off with fewer rent-seekers feeding on the federal budget.
As Kermit the Frog knows, it's not easy being green. When it comes to extracting energy from Mother Earth, you pick your poison. We used to live in Farmington, N.M., near two large power plants and an open-pit coal mine. They weren't pretty, but compared to those windmills the limited land damage of a coal mine and power plant look rather appealing. They are certainly more efficient.
The Star's recent editorial celebrating the prairie was a treat. But it overlooked the biggest threat to our prairies now: commercial wind farms.
Few people realize that the state of Kansas has utterly opted out of regulating wind farms. Instead, it has punted the whole question.
In the last six months, I have devoted most of my time to wind energy because of all the recent development activity in the region. Part of my program entails delivering seminars and workshops on the topic. It always surprises me the false impressions or myths that some people have about wind energy and its potential.
The following letter was posted on the Kansas Prairie blog by Peg Britton. It was sent to Ms. Britton from Dennis Farney, a retired writer for the Wall Street Journal who lives in Kansas City and has great love for Kansas. The material in his letter offers insight on how some environmental organizations view Kansas.
''If you want to see how invasive a wind farm can be, just take a ride in Schuylkill County,'' he wrote. ''A ridge that stretches from Mahanoy City to Centralia, an area of the best hunting and passive recreational woods in that part of the county, has been ruined with these monstrosities.''
I had not visited that area for years, and the worst environmental damage I recalled was from anthracite mining. That, however, had a legitimate purpose; wind turbines are a scam that serves only to enrich those who peddle and build them.
Every Landowner should know that a wind farm lease may damage and limit the use of one's own ground.
Wind power is often portrayed as a feel-good substitute for big power plants, but it has severe limitations; its performance, obviously, is as fickle as the wind. Because of that, wind farms must still be backed up by conventional power in case the wind fails.
"You can predict some changes in the wind broadly but not second-by-second," said Robert Michaels, a professor of economics at California State University, Fullerton, who has studied the issue. ...Wind energy will have a growing place in America's energy portfolio, but its niche probably won't approach the Energy Department's 20 percent prediction.
Iberdrola of Spain, owner of Elk River, realized over $9.9 million in PTC allowances in 2007. Foreign companies are not regulated by the Kansas Corporation Commission. There are no state or federal regulations of any kind on WECS. Few Kansas counties have wind regulations.
WECS will force consumers to pay for their electricity three times; to build the WECS, build conventional power as backup, and additional transmission lines to carry power from the WECS to the grid.
WECS will not produce large economic benefits to a community as evidenced by records from Gray County (Montezuma), or Butler County (Elk River). Elk River has produced seven jobs. Most employees live outside the community.
Some have stuff to lose while others have things to gain. Take T. Boone Pickens for example. He's "been an oil man his entire life," until he found wind. Why the sudden burst of what appears to be environmentalism? I don't know Pickens, but I do know this: Oil companies such as Exxon boast a profit margin of approximately 8 percent. Most estimates place his potential profit margin in industrial wind at or above 25 percent. It comes as no surprise, that being a good capitalist, Pickens wants in on wind. Why then does his campaign sound so political? That's easy: Without the government subsidies and tax breaks, industrial wind couldn't make money at all, let alone a 25 percent profit. Makes me think he's not so much concerned about transfers of wealth so long as the wealth transfers to his account. Without our money (the government) transferring to his account, wind isn't profitable, and without the profit he won't build, so he's depending on us to lobby the government. Sound familiar?
On June 26, two of our county commissioners fired the shot heard round the world. I assure you that within 24 hours every large wind farm conglomerate in the world got the news that the biased, hand-picked zoning committee had accomplished their mission. ...Now, we will all be forced to live with wind farm rules that are so vague and minute, they will do little to protect the citizens of our county. Now that the fox is in the chicken coup, we will see dozens of applications to bring in wind farms. Because these huge conglomerates are worried they may lose the monster tax breaks if Congress votes them out, they will be in a mad rush to get things going in our county. Within five years we may not have one scenic location left in Ellis County. When they have destroyed all the high hills, they will just make the towers a 100 feet higher and continue to march across our county.
It seems politicians of every stripe have a new buzzword to abuse. Preface any project or technology with the word "renewable," and it is almost guaranteed to generate automatic public support and popularity, even though it is invariably linked to some handout for big corporate interests. Powerful lobby groups representing private interest sectors are the primary beneficiaries of these policies, rather than the public interest. ...How renewable will our farmland be when thousands of acres of prairie are fragmented by access roads, power lines and wind turbine foundations?
How renewable will our precious rural ecology be when soil profiles are disrupted, native plant ecosystems damaged and wildlife driven off by the noise and intrusion of monstrous wind turbines?
Most sources of energy are beyond the pale in the Democratic Party, but nothing carries quite the moral stigma of coal. The latest excommunication is under way in Kansas, of all places, and it may be a forerunner of national political trends.
Governor Kathleen Sebelius calls it "a moral obligation," as though she were opposing crimes against humanity. This is a reference to coal companies guilty of nothing more than attempting to provide power to consumers. But their misfortunes include emitting carbon dioxide into the current political atmosphere, and also the presence of Ms. Sebelius, who recently invented another way of enacting her preferred global-warming policies without legislation. ...Coal provides more than half of U.S. electricity because it is cheap and abundant - and viable. Wind turbines and the rest of the boutique alternatives are none of those, a reality that Democrats are going to have to square when they actually bother to pass a climate-change bill.
We need to adopt a new way of thinking for the prairie land that sustains us. Our prairie isn't a waste dump to place a huge, monetarily motivated, (supposedly) economically stimulating thing that defaces it of its natural beauty and hampers the land's usefulness. ...Might I appeal to all fellow prairie landowners to look about this endless simple beauty and say, "You can't pay me enough!" when approached to lease for a commercial wind farm.
At a recent public meeting, someone said I was opposed to electricity produced by coal, nuclear, and hydro-as well as wind. Moreover, I was reminded that I was off the mark by saying wind technology could not prevent new conventional power plants from being built to meet increasing demand, pointing to a recent Parade magazine article reporting the governor of Kansas was building a 1000MW wind facility, obviating the need for a new coal plant. Here's reality. ...
The Ellis County Environmental Awareness Coalition has proposed an ordinance to the zoning board that would regulate wind energy development in the county to protect citizens, the environment, and the common good of community. The regulations were drafted from zoning laws of counties in other states experienced with wind energy and follow recommendations set forth in the governor's guidelines for wind energy development in Kansas. ...Proponents can argue that some of the proposed regulations are too stringent, but they cannot argue that they are not needed.
In the Kansas Country Living, February 2008, Gov. Sebelius is said to have a personal goal set to "achieve 10 percent wind power by 2010." Someone outside the forever-tax-exempt, corporate-wind-farm, big-business-gifting-the-officials-with-scraps office do the math. How in the world can a governor party about the Flint Hills Tallgrass Prairie Landscape (the last known one of its kind on earth) and party on the other hand with big business that is mutilating and hacking to pieces the very tallgrass we call a Wonder? One ridiculous wind farm destroyed 10,000 acres of significant ecological and scenic area of these precious grasses in Lincoln and Ellsworth counties.
While I am a strong supporter of wind generation as a supplemental source of energy, it cannot replace additional baseload generation. Because wind is intermittent, it must be accompanied by baseload generation of some sort and currently is paired for the most part with natural gas because it is more efficient to power down and power up a gas-fired generator than to do so with a coal generator.
However, to have the capacity to produce much more wind generation, Kansas will need additional transmission lines from west to east and south to north. ...For transmission lines to be financially viable, they need to move energy from baseload generation as well as wind generation. ...The bottom line is Kansas is short of baseload generating capacity, and we are short of transmission capacity in the larger region. We no longer can rest on the assumption that yearly transmission service will be available even if the utility has a power supplier.
As a rancher in Osborne County that is not leasing to the proposed wind farm here, I took interest in your article of Dec. 31, 2007, "First Phase of State's Fourth Wind Farm Nearing Completion."
I have spent most of my life working to acquire and maintain my ranch properties and one parcel goes back four generations. Am I to sit and let this huge, disruptive, totally scenery changing wind farm operation take place around me, as helpless as the bison that originally roamed the prairie home?
I find business contracts offered me the poorest business venture I could ever make. One-third of 1 percent per structure value per year's rent offered or, to my understanding, under 1 percent royalty hardly matches oil royalty.
What I see driving past the Lincoln project is a far bigger mess than any oil patch I've ever seen. ...I do not want to be part of a low rent wind farm and hope there are others enough so we have a Kansas prairie fully up to our counties true life blood support of agriculture. With faith in our prairie lands of Osborne County, I, for one, do not feel it appropriate to put up these tombstones to a failed agriculture.