It’s an ill wind that blows everybody no good

There is a great article on wind power by Jay Lehr and Tom Harris over at WUWT. It goes into more depth about the cost to consumers and to nature but as they are US figures and examples they are not directly transportable to a New Zealand context. The extra costs and the danger to wildlife, however, is true – worldwide. Quote.

Wind energy can never replace fossil fuels, despite claims of [Megan Woods, James Shaw, Jacinda Ardern et al.] It’s not environment-friendly either. Indeed, wind power is hampered by many limitations, including:

  • its intermittent and inefficient nature
  • insufficient sites with adequate, reliable wind
  • acreage required to erect turbines and harness wind
  • excessive expenses, many of them rarely mentioned
  • dangers to bird and bat populations
  • dangers to human health from light flicker and low frequency throbbing noise (infrasound).
  • costs, limitations, and health and environmental impacts of batteries and other back-up systems

Wind turbines are highly inefficient. Large industrial wind turbines (IWT) typically produce about 2.5 megawatts of power when wind speed is between about 8 and 25 miles per hour. However, most of the time it’s not, even at the best locations.

Today’s wind farms have a 30–40% average “capacity factor.” That means their average annual output is only 30–40% of “nameplate” capacity, or what they would produce if the wind were blowing 8–25 mph 24/7/365. As we erect more turbines, they must be placed in less optimal locations, and capacity numbers will drop, perhaps dramatically. And no one can predict when they will generate electricity. End quote.

New Zealand wind farms, touted as among the most efficient in the world, are not even getting close to 30% capacity factor. Still, with another 4.5 windfarms added each year, everything will be tickety-boo. Megan said so. Quote.

When the wind isn’t blowing, the electricity grid cannot provide the energy we need to operate and maintain our standard of living. Today fossil fuels stand ready to step in when wind speeds decline. But under the [CoL], virtually all fossil fuels would be eliminated, making it impossible to keep the lights on without a major increase in nuclear power, [fill in the blank here] which environmental activists hate even more than fossil fuels.

To generate significant wind energy, facilities must be located where there is steady wind most of the time. […] Offshore areas have higher wind potential but are be at least three times more expensive to develop.

Perhaps the biggest drawback to relying on wind power is the immense amount of land required. IWTs must be placed far apart so they don’t interfere with each turbine’s “wind capture area.” End quote.


Dr. Jay Lehr is Senior Policy Analyst for the Ottawa-based International Climate Science Coalition. Tom Harris is Executive Director of the ICSC. (Some of the information for this article was derived from the 2018 book The Mythology of Global Warming by Bruce Bunker PhD, published by Moonshine Cove. The authors recommend this book as an excellent source of information on the climate change debate.