Some politicians want us to think they are doing something to combat global warming and help the environment by supporting wind turbine development, when in reality the destruction of forestlands and watersheds does much more environmental harm than the wind turbines do good. It is a terrible trade-off and tragic mistake.
Industrial wind turbines are not being built to produce energy - but to reap the benefits of huge federal and state subsidies and tax breaks. The FACT is, industrial wind turbines produce very small amounts of electric power and require huge numbers to generate even modest amounts of electricity. Click here to see for yourself. It would take thousands of huge industrial wind turbines to produce enough electricity to equal the power generated by one conventional power plant. Gamesa wants to install 30, 2MW wind turbines on about 5,000 acres of Shaffer Mountain. It would take 5,365 wind turbines covering 671 miles of Pennsylvania ridgetops to create as much Summer output as is produced from just the Homer City Power Plant. Is it worth destroying so much of our undeveloped wilderness ridgetops - for so little energy?
Industrial wind turbines are set to produce power at low to moderate wind speeds, when the amount of electricity is a mere trickle. As the wind strengthens and real power becomes available, the turbines have to shut down or they will destroy themselves. Click here to see what happened at Gamesa's brand new Allegheny Ridge wind plant in Lilly, PA in March 2007.
Why do industrial wind turbines generate so little electricity? Wind is an intermittent, unreliable source of power. It is the only form of energy that we cannot control. If there is no wind, the wind plant generates no electricity. If there is too much wind, the turbines must be shut down. Wind turbines have about a 26% capacity in our area meaning that they generate power only 26% of the time. Wind turbines often have a capacity factor of less than 10% in the Summer months, just when demand for electricity is at its greatest. When they do generate power, each turbine generates only an insignificant trickle. Indeed, those who manage power supply simply ignore their existence because they are so insubstantial. Although the number of industrial wind plants has tripled in the last few years, wind still provides less than 0.4% of the electricity consumed in the U.S.
Wind turbines require a large amount of energy to operate. Other electricity plants generally use their own power, and the difference between the amount they generate and the amount delivered to the grid is readily determined. Wind plants, however, use electricity from the grid, which is NOT accounted for by any current manufacturers (Vestas, GE, and NEG Micon) in their output figures. Among turbine features that USE energy:
- Yaw mechanism control (to keep blades perpendicular to wind and untwist cables)
- Blade pitch control (to keep rotors spinning at a regular rate)
- Lights, controllers, communication, sensors, metering, etc.
- Heating, cooling or dehumidifying the nacelle
- Oil heater and pump and cooler in gearbox
- Hydraulic brake (to lock blades in high wind)
- Thyristors to regulate connection and disconnection to the grid
- Magnetizing the stator (up to 10% of rated capacity used here)
Using the generator as a motor (to help start blade rotation in low wind), the grid magnetized stator must work to help keep the 40-ton blade assembly spinning, along with the gears that increase the blade rpm some 50 times for the generator, not just at cut-in (15 mph) but at least some of the way up to full rated wind speed (30 mph).
It is estimated that EACH turbine may consume as much energy as it produces (under less than perfect wind conditions) in its own operation. Under these conditions, the plant as a whole, which may produce only 25% of its rated capacity annually, would be using nearly all of the electricity it produces unless wind speeds were nearly constant at 30-40 mph at all times.
The construction of industrial wind plants is only possible because of huge federal and state subsidies and tax credits. NOT because of any benefit to the environment. Here is a list of the incentives and how they work.
By some estimates a typical 100MW wind plant, consisting of 67 1.5MW turbines, can pay NO INCOME TAXES for the first five years. State and federal subsidies and tax breaks pay for as much as 75% of the cost of building a wind turbine project. Sometimes, these huge tax credits cannot be used by the wind turbine developers so the developer actually "sells" them to big corporations who can use them. It's all about MONEY $$$$$$ - not environmental benefits, of which there are few, if any.
In addition, wind energy companies often pay no taxes to counties, municipalities or school districts. Local citizens get nothing but the headaches and are left to deal with the environmental destruction they bring.
Politicians want you to "think" they are actually doing something about "global warming." What a better way than to put some of these mega structures on the highest points in the Commonwealth FOR ALL TO SEE.