Wind - Facts or blowing hot air?

Government agencies and the wind industry have successfully portrayed wind-generated electricity as "green" and as a price-competitive, potentially significant alternative source of power which could reduce dependence on 'dirty' fuels. While wind generated electricity may make sense in some circumstances, industry and government claims for its widespread use are not currently supported by sound science or economic analysis of costs v. benefits.

Despite the multi-billion dollar expenditure of taxpayer funds by government and the "renewable energy" industry during the past 35+ years, the results have proven disastrous in economic terms. The Department of Energy (DOE) and other federal and state agencies have spent over $40 billion on "energy research and development" and subsidies, not including private R&D costs, yet virtually nothing has been 'developed' that is technologically, economically or environmentally sound.

The subsidy of "green" energy, such as solar, geo-thermal, hydro, bio-mass and wind, has distorted the operation of electrical power markets, increased electricity rates to consumers, increased taxes at all levels of government, diverted resources from industry financed (private) research for more efficient and cleaner means of producing and distributing power, politicized energy production, and prevented or delayed bringing more base capacity on line to reliably meet present and projected increases in demand.

The current national debate on construction of "wind farms" is, to a large extent, focused on environmental and 'scenic' issues, and the effects on local property values. Depending on location and other factors, these questions may have merit; however, they are often a distraction from other important questions, and are too often confused by political agenda, and opinions or bias of opponents and proponents alike - which may have little to do with logic, sound science or economics. Because of their subjective, emotional or often controversial nature, these questions are not addressed here except as they relate to laws of economics and engineering.

The basic economic factors and taxation-subsidy policies affecting wind generation are well known and have been recognized in the United States and worldwide by opponents and proponents alike. There is little disagreement on basic economic realities. There is disagreement on the wisdom of government-mandated social engineering and economic intervention for which taxpayers and ratepayers are being forced to bear the substantial cost of waste, mismanagement and even corruption.

Public discussion of these issues is often limited because it is not considered 'pertinent' to politicized energy policy. Industry and elected officials always seem to have a 'new plan' to correct past 'mistakes.'

The average taxpayer's/electric ratepayer's ignorance of and confusion about wind power are largely due to official bias and the lack of factual information. So-called 'facts' are rarely examined critically in the news media, nor does the general media "follow the money" to determine who gains and who loses.

The purpose of this report is to examine some of the 'dollars and sense' issues related to industrial-scale wind-generated electricity in order that the costs v. the benefits can be rationally weighed.

Wind Leo

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MAR 1 2004
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