Wind power: the reliable con

The only thing reliable about wind power is its ability to con reporters. Information supplied by wind power developers, their flacks and faithful, is rarely questioned by the media. Facts and details about wind power are ignored.

Here’s an example, from the Cape Cod Times, Jan. 19, 2017, about Cape Wind’s $88,000 annual lease payment to the federal government. The developer hopes to keep his 15-year offshore turbine project alive, despite failing in courts, state legislation, financing and power purchasing agreements. The story explains: “With up to 130 turbine generators mounted on steel monopole foundations and turbines with a maximum blade height up to 440 feet, the project has the potential to meet three quarters of the electricity needs of Cape Cod and the Islands [Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard].”

Sounds great, right? Wow! Steel monopole foundations! Everyone knows how wonderful they are. But check the word “potential.” That is code meaning if all 130 turbines are running at maximum production 24/7 over a year’s time. That’s like saying Red Sox batters have the “potential” of hitting .500 during a season. Wind power turbines are lucky to produce 30 percent of their rated capacity over a year. You can search high and low in the media to find this fact mentioned.

Then there’s Cape Wind’s often-quoted con of supplying “three quarters” of the Cape’s electricity. Since the project would depend on huge state and federal subsidies and tax credits, an honest story would not limit power benefits to Cape Cod, but would have said the turbines would provide, at best, one percent of Massachusetts electricity needs, and perhaps 0.01 percent of the needs of the New England’s electrical net.

Although wind power is often described as renewable and green, it is rarely described as unreliable, not guaranteed to be available when needed, an environmental nuisance and harmful to the health of humans living nearby. And never, ever, mention that the Obama administration has exempted wind turbines from regulations protecting bald eagles from being killed by those terrific 440-foot blades.

The Cape Wind project is estimated to cost $2.6 billion. No investor in his or her right mind would put up that kind of money for a power plant producing so little electricity. Unless, of course, excellent profits are guaranteed by federal and state and power buyer subsidies and tax credits. Try to find that in wind power stories.

File under: Don’t kill a story with facts.


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