March 1, 2008

Lessons from Europe

Denmark produces 20% of its electric power from wind, but is able to use less than 20% of it, exporting most of it to larger neighbors that can absorb it. Plans to double that figure over the next few decades are already running into fierce opposition from potential host communities. Denmark hasn't added new wind capacity since 2004. Off-shore projects have proven to be prohibitively expensive and technically problematic.

In Germany, more than 22,000 MW of wind turbines cover the country, generating 5% of its electricity. Yet 26 new coal plants are still planned, and 8 are on a fast track. Emissions continue to grow, because the grid has to continue operating as if the wind turbines aren't there -- because more often than not, they aren't generating electricity when there is an actual need.

In Britain, the Dept. of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform reports that fossil fuel use for electricity increased -- not decreased -- 1.5 times more than the production from wind turbines from 2002 to 2006. (That's after accounting for reductions in nuclear, hydro, and imports during that period and for increased consumption.)

The modern wind industry was created by Enron in the 1990s, and it remains a harmful tax avoidance scheme, industrializing our few remaining open spaces and mountain forests and siphoning public funds away from real solutions.

[This was written in reply to Cape Wind propagandist Wendy Williams' article in the March 2 Parade magazine. See later post for references (click here).]

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, vegetarianism