Lynch’s Folly

Relying on bad science and bad economic analysis from environmentalist professors and economists at the University of New Hampshire, the state is a participant in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) with a goal of reducing greenhouse Gas emission 10% by 2018.

To make matters worse, Governor John Lynch created the NH Climate Change Policy Task Force which committed the state in March 2009 to a goal of a 80 percent reduction by 2050 in greenhouse gas emissions.

Science tells us that CO2 has risen the last century but temperatures have cycled up and down in 25 to 30 year intervals. This alone would question CO2 as the climate driver assumed. In New Hampshire and the northeast temperatures have exhibited cyclical changes the last century but without net warming (graph source NOAA NCDC).

But even if we were to accept that CO2 causes warming, emissions control is not a viable option. Using the government’s own models, the reduced CO2 from a complete cessation of all CO2 emissions (setting the clock back over 120 years) in New Hampshire will be completely subsumed by global emissions growth in just a bit more than one week’s time. What’s more, the effect on global temperature by 2100 for New Hampshire’s ‘sacrifice’ would be an unmeasurable 0.0006 degrees Celsius (PDF).

The state looks to wind as the savior and promises other benefits like green jobs. This has not panned out wherever green renewables like wind or solar have been mandated.

Spain – Spanish economist Professor Gabriel Calzada, at Juan Carlos University (PDF) estimated that each green job had cost the country $774,000. Worse, a “green” job cost 2.2 real jobs as industry, which can’t afford to pay the higher fuel bills, simply moves elsewhere. Worse yet, only 1 in 10 green jobs are permanent. Unemployment in Spain increased to 18.7%, emissions increased 50% as the wind doesn’t blow reliably and fossil fuel plants had to be kept in ready back-up to maintain a steady stream of power. Now dead broke Spain can’t afford to prop up renewables anymore and subsidies are being cut (see). “We feel cheated”, Tomas Diaz of the Spanish Photovoltaic Industry Association told Bloomberg. But it’s undoubtedly taxpayers who have been cheated the most.

Denmark – the claim that “Denmark produces 19 percent of their electricity through wind power” is false. Even with over 6000 turbines, Denmark actually produces much less of its own electricity from wind, as low as 4 percent depending on the year, with the recent average of 9.7 percent despite a massive buildout on some of the most hospitable terrain for wind power in the world. Households are paying the highest electricity rates in Europe. Yet not a single coal plant closed and emissions rose 36%. Under pubic pressure, handouts to the wind industry are being cut with numerous local complaints about cost, noise.

As the Wall Street Journal reported, Mr Lavecchia a fellow and Dr. Stagnaro the research and studies director at Istituto Bruno Leoni showed for Italy that for every ‘green’ job created by government, 4.8 ‘gray’ jobs are lost in the private sector.

Germany – “Although Germany’s promotion of renewable energies is commonly portrayed in the media as setting a “shining example in providing a harvest for the world (The Guardian 2007), we would instead regard the country’s experience as a cautionary tale of massively expensive environmental and energy policy that is devoid of economic and environmental benefits.” Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, 2009 (PDF)

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported in 2008, on a dollar per MWh basis, the U.S. government subsidizes wind at $23.34 – compared to reliable energy sources: natural gas at 25¢; coal at 44¢; hydro at 67¢; and nuclear at $1.59, leading to what some U.S. commentators call “a huge corporate welfare feeding frenzy.” The Wall Street Journal advises that “wind generation is the prime example of what can go wrong when the government decides to pick winners.”

David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis adjusted the Energy Information Administration’s projected energy costs for various sources in 2016 to account for the variability and remoteness of the major renewable energy sources – wind and solar. With these adjustments, swapping one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity from coal or natural gas combined-cycle generation to onshore wind drives the cost up from about $79 to $177. Offshore wind is worse at $218 per MWh. Heritage analyzed a generic RES that starts at 3 percent of total power generation in 2012 and rises by 1.5 percent per year. Such an RES would destroy 1 million jobs by 2020, when the standard reaches 15 percent. Average family will pay $2,400 more per year.

Five reasons to rethink wind power

Paul Wornham, Environmental Examiner listed five reasons to rethink wind power (here):

(1) Wind turbines need online back-up capacity

Wind is unpredictable, no one can know when it will blow or when it will be calm but because modern life needs reliable power, every wind turbine needs online back-up capacity. In Ontario, that backup is largely provided by gas turbines that run at 60% capacity whether or not they are generating power for the grid. In most cases, it would be more efficient to run the gas generators to generate electricity and not have the additional cost and carbon footprint of the wind farm at all. “During the January 2010 cold snap in the United Kingdom, wind was able to generate power at only 4% of its rated capacity. Jeremy Nicholson, Director of an Industrial Energy Consumers group, noted, “Even if we had 30 gigawatts of wind power, it wouldn’t have contributed anything of any significance this winter…” (UK, Telegraph). As noted in all countries where wind has been pushed as a solution, CO2 emissions have increased.

(2) Carbon cost of construction

Wind turbines are complex machines and require vast quantities of steel and concrete for the construction of the tower and foundation, in addition to materials like copper, aluminum and carbon composites for the blades and generating system. Concrete is said to be responsible for 5% to 10% of all human sources of CO2, emitting approximately 1.25 tons of carbon dioxide per ton of concrete. Full-size on-shore turbines need between 500 and 1000 tons for a solid foundation which comes at a high cost to the environment before the first kilowatt is generated.

(3) Wildlife

Wind power has a high negative effect for wildlife, particularly birds (here and here). Estimated will kill up to 300,000 birds if implemented as planned along with as many or more bats (here and here). The green credentials of wind turbines are challenged especially in Altamont pass in California which is to blame for thousands of bird deaths every year, many of them protected species. Offshore wind farms can affect dolphins and seals in addition to birds. Some environmental wildlife groups have initiated lawsuits against wind turbine farms and power grids.

(4) Health

There are concerns that wind turbines sited near communities cause health problems for residents. The New York Times reports residents living less than a mile from the $15 million wind facility in Vinalhaven, Me., say the industrial whoosh-and-whoop of the 123-foot blades is making life unbearable. “The quality of life that we came here for was quiet,” one resident said. “You don’t live in a place where you have to take an hour-and-15-minute ferry ride to live next to an industrial park. And that’s where we are right now.”

In Canada, Carmen Krogh, a retired Alberta pharmacist and a group of volunteers surveyed residents in areas near wind farms. Of 76 people who responded to their informal survey, 53 reported at least one health complaint. All across the US, lawsuits have been filed against the wind farms because of these health issues.

(5) Other Hazards

Numerous wind turbines have caught fire or exploded flinging debris long distances. In places where ice and snow threatens in winter, ice that may accumulate on turbine blades can be dangerous projectiles when the wind picks up.

Collapsing Wind Industry

Bloomberg New Energy Finance reported world prices for new wind turbines are down by 15 per cent on their 2008 peak amid a sharp slump in European and global demand. WSJ reported General Electric Co.’s revenue fell 5% to $35.9 billion, led by a big drop in sales of wind-power equipment. Profit fell 18%, to $2.1 billion. The NH plan, heavily dependent on wind will fail. But energy costs will ‘necessarily skyrocket’, chasing a bad idea

Unless there is a change in the statehouse and legislature, New Hampshire residents will pay heavily for Lynch’s folly.

Note: Substitute your own state and Governor or country and leader and the same will likely apply


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