A Tail of Two Turbines: The Hypocrisy of Green Energy

As I drove home from work this evening, my jaw dropped as I saw the gas prices jump nearly 20 cents from the last time I’d seen them, to a staggering $3.59 a gallon in my hometown. Where just 4 years ago the national average was just $1.87, our nation currently enjoys a national average of of just a few cents less than my bill, at $3.54. This is up from Friday’s jump to $3.46, which represented the “biggest one-day pop in pump prices in nearly two years.” In other words, instead of filling my tank up for approximately a third of the cost and using the the rest of the money to save for… gee whiz, I dunno, a down payment on a house or some other silly responsibility… I get to pay wildly above what its worth and continue to pinch my pennies.

These sound like the problems of a nation mired in economic troubles, and to make matters worse, a nation devoid of its own natural resources.

We are one of those things, but we certainly aren’t the other. And furthermore, we are in the mess we’re in by choice. We (I say that loosely- I am not one of “we”)  chose to elect a man whose big, bright idea was to spend our way out of debt, and then we elected him again. That, however, is a topic for another debate.

Let’s talk fossils.

Fossil fuels, that is.

If the wildly successful North Dakota is any indicator, the United States would effectively be the Saudi Arabia of coal, and potentially natural gas if the chains that tether American industry in the name of “environmentalism” were loosed.

We hear time and again that fossil fuels are horribly destructive to our environment. Hollywood tries to scare us with movies like Promised Land that display the so-called evils of hydraulic fracking–which simply aren’t true— and Al Gore and the rest of the green movement have spent years telling us that the polar ice caps would be gone by 2012. Well, we just rang in 2013, and unless the sun got a few inches closer to the earth recently, the polar caps are still pretty “polar,” and Mr. Gore just sold Current TV to oil-backed Al-Jazeera. What a crock.

Meanwhile, as we continue to pay through the nose to other nations for the “privilege” of driving our car of choice, our ever-growing individual tax bill continues to fund such boondoggle projects as Wind Farms, while funding a Department of Justice and an EPA that are so lawsuit-happy you’ll be hearing from their lawyers if you dig a hole in the wrong place or God-forbid, accidentally kill a field mouse with your lawn mower.

Ah, windmills. Those 400 foot tall white monstrosities sprinkled across the fruited plain. . .  the stuff of Don Quixote and his imaginary battles. . .  kind of. These owe-so-“valuable” eyesores received, per the Heritage Foundation, a government subsidy “already equivalent to 50 percent to 70 percent of the wholesale price of electricity.” In fact, “according to Larry Bell, a Forbes contributor, in many parts of the country the PTC [production tax credit] actually exceeds the wholesale price of power.” Some had their fingers crossed that this subsidy would go over the cliff with the rest of the negotiations, but sadly, it was renewed for at least a year. In other words, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Aside from being terribly INEFFECTIVE in its supposed purpose of generating the energy needed to support our country…the hypocrisy surrounding the wind energy industry is epic.

Fiscal insanity aside for a moment, let’s take a peek.

Windmills kill birds. Quite a few, in fact. With its massive blades, wind turbines are said to be responsible for the death of over 500 birds at one SINGLE wind farm this last year alone. Meanwhile, Continental Resources, an Oklahoma oil company, was hauled off to court for supposedly “killing one bird “the size of a sparrow” in its oil pits

Per the Heritage Foundation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was, as of spring 2012, “considering loosening regulations on the killing of bald eagles, the national bird of the United States, to accommodate the development of wind energy sources. A draft regulation first filed in April would allow businesses to apply for 30-year permits allowing them to kill bald eagles in the course of other legal activities.” In other words, the government recognized that the wind industry poses a serious threat to birds, including our treasured Bald Eagle, and yet their solution was to simply make the killing of them in certain circumstances . . . such as at the top of a spinning wind mill. . . “legal.” Of course, if Joe Nobody cuts down a tree that happens to contain an eagle’s nest full of baby eagles, it’s a federal offense. But wind turbines that kill thousands of birds a year–in the name of environmental consciousness of course–is a-okay.

A piece put out by the U.S. Geological Survey had me chuckling recently. “Bat Fatalities at Wind Turbines: Investigating the Causes and Consequences” was the name. While it made the claim that “the general impact of wind turbines on the environment is likely far less than that of conventional power sources,” the USGS still can’t quite figure out the “cause” of the bat fatalities at Wind Turbines. The article’s author anxiously continues “. .  .is it a simple case of flying in the wrong place at the wrong time? Are bats attracted to the spinning turbine blades? Why are so many bats colliding with turbines compared to their infrequent crashes with other tall, human-made structures?” Gads. Hey fellas- try putting a giant fan in the middle of your daily commute to and see if you can drive fast enough through the moving blades. Goodness. We’re talking about 136 foot blades with an optimum wind speed of 25-35 mph, at which speed the blades rotate at 14 rpm, giving “them a speed of 105 mph at the tip.” Do we really need a USGS study to figure out how it is that bats, even with their superior sense of direction, are continuing to die as a result of wind turbines?

While the environmental community likes to paint terrible pictures of commonplace flaming water and sludge-filled ponds resulting from fracking and drilling, it’s simply not happening. Meanwhile, detriment to the environment and to human safety abounds in the wind industry. Did I mentioned that aside from the avian bloodshed, these wind turbines can also send giant slabs of ice in any direction at high speeds? While the American Wind Energy Association likes to deny the fact that ice can build up on the blades, as “ice can end up at places other than exactly at the base of the turbine, but it’s a myth that a turbine will (and can) operate at high speed with ice on it and fling ice for miles,”  according to New York Times article quoting a 2006 publication by G.E. Energy, “rotating turbine blades may propel ice fragments some distance from the turbine — up to several hundred meters if conditions are right.” For your viewing pleasure:

Don’t get me wrong- I realize that over the course of human events, certain forms of wildlife are going to perish along the way. Should we be careful? Of course. We are, after all, to be good stewards of the earth God gave us. The point is simple- when one industry is sued into oblivion for slight infractions of this kind of collateral damage, while another walks away scott-free from far worse transgressions simply because it happens the favorite child of power brokers in Washington- shouldn’t that bother people?  Alas, “going green” truly is where the power’s at. As long as it’s profitable for a few, we’ll all be pushed in to heating our homes less, filling up our cars less, driving larger cars less, using electricity less, all in the name of “saving our planet.” Just as Al Gore’s sale of Current TV to Al-Jazeera, and the wind turbine industry’s epic bird problem shows us, it’s never been about the environment.

And, as the gas prices continue to rise and the economy continues, CONTINUES to tank, our dear leader busies himself by talking about the vital issues- gun control, legalizing illegal aliens. . . among others. Just as a magician achieves his trick by successfully drawing his audience’s attention away from what the other hand was doing. . . such as the tail of our current state of affairs.

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