BY MICHAEL R. FOX PHD – In warfare such as World WarII, military installations are targeted, of course, but so are the manufacturing sectors. This included all energy production facilities, both electrical plants and petroleum refineries.
Our enemies in WWII, however, could not even imagine what today’s America’s leaders are doing to destroy to our own nation’s energy production capacity. They are actively opposing coal fired electrical plants, oil production and refining, nuclear energy, and in the Northwest even fighting against hydro electricity. The oil leak in the Gulf, produced by a foreign oil company, has been a propaganda gift as well to those opposed to oil production and refining in the United States.
We spend about 1 billion dollars per day on imported oil, yet by using excessive regulation, taxation, and litigation, Americans are kept from producing much of their own energy. These energy sources contribute directly to our security, prosperity, productivity, freedom, and liberty. The restricting, obstructing, or forbidding of domestic energy production is a direct threat to all that America stands for.
Many are calling for the de-industrialization of the United States and the West, along with its de-population as well. UN advisor Maurice Strong said at the Rio Conference in 1992, “Isn’t the ONLY hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” This was met with thundering applause from thousands at the Rio Conference, including many from American environmentalists. Crippling the American energy infrastructure will certainly help them achieve such an awful goal.
Maurice Strong was also one of the organizers of the now discredited Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has been desperately fighting to shut down fossil fired electrical plants in the US and around the world. The IPCC has been a prime mover in promoting the man-made CO2 hypothesis. The Cap, Tax, and Trade legislation currently coursing its way through Congress will go a long way toward achieving just such destruction. President Obama has explicitly stated that the price of coal fired electricity will skyrocket. (http://tinyurl.com/6q2tjb). Our economy will suffer immensely because of these higher energy costs, since much of the energy that drives it comes from coal and other fossil fuels.
All of this destruction of the US energy infrastructure is proposed to support the discredited hypothesis that man-made CO2 cause climate warming. While the Obama Administration opposes our major sources of energy, China has passed us, and now is the largest consumer of energy in the world (http://tinyurl.com/24k6pj6).
China also is now the largest automobile market in the world (http://tinyurl.com/y8pxtat). While the Obama Administration opposes the major sources of US energy, the Chinese are building a large coal plant each week, and will have constructed nearly 2-dozen large nuclear reactors by 2020. They have also just completed the largest hydroelectric facility in the world (http://tinyurl.com/2e39g8u).
Similarly, India is also building a very large electricity system as well. While these nations recognize the benefits of abundant energy for their own people, our president elevates and venerates people who oppose and would destroy such energy sources in the United States. To their credit the Indian leadership has essentially told the IPCC to go pound sand with regard to the man-made global warming silliness. India needs the energy for the health, safety, and prosperity for its people.
Eric Hoffer got it right when he said “One of the surprising privileges of intellectuals is that they are free to be scandalously asinine without harming their reputation.” Frighteningly, many American Congressmen and leftists also hold these same horrendous views, and many of these activists have found both admiration and employment in the Obama Administration.
To help conceal their contempt for the freedom and for the free-market system of government in America, many of these activists support large subsidies to promote the deployment of so-called “green energy” sources such as wind and solar energy. Even though the American landscape over the past 30 years has been littered with failed wind and solar energy facilities, these ineffective systems still have powerful supporters in government and industry. Huge subsidies destroy common sense.
The American public has rarely seen hard-nosed economic and engineering assessments of these failed wind energy sources, and for good reasons. They have all failed on a grand scale. Invariably the true cost of electricity from wind is always underestimated and its value is always overestimated (http://tinyurl.com/2328ff5).
The wind farms in the US stretch from Hawaii, to California, to Cape Cod, and are all notable for their failures. Yet leaders in these areas continue to shout out the virtues of windmills. Obama himself continues to divert billion of dollars into such “clean energy”, even though they have been historic failures.
A recent talk show host noted that “windmills can never generate enough energy during its lifetime to manufacture the windmill”. Large windmills contain huge amounts of steel in their towers, and rebar and 30 ft bolts in the tower footings, along with tonnage quantities of concrete, all of which are highly energy intensive materials. Historically their operational lifetimes have been quite short as well which we have learned the windmills on the North shore of Oahu, South Point on the Big Island, and the Goodnoe Hills of southern Washington, to name but a few.
Freshmen engineering students could itemize the reasons for these failures. Windmills are too intermittent, to undependable, too unreliable, and far too costly. These wind farms also interfere with wildlife, even in some cases killing thousands of birds and bats. (http://tinyurl.com/4d7fa).
The reasons why the windmills are so costly, is that many cost analyses omit the magnitudes of its many tax subsidies. Wall Street analysts point out that windmills need not produce any energy to still be profitable to its owners. The subsidies are so huge that the taxes avoided are in the billons annually, making such companies profitable without producing any needed energy at all. So the ratepayers are forced to pay higher energy prices, thank to the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) in many states, as well as pay the taxes avoided by the windmill owners.
While a small amount of unreliable energy is, in fact, produced at unpredictable times of the day and year, the windmill owners get a nice tax credit of 2.0 cents per kw-hr.
While the Obama administration has yet to learn about windmills and the inherent energy limits, all they would need to do would be to study the wind energy experiences of Spain, Germany, and Denmark for a glimpse of our energy future.
First, we would find that the European windmills are even less reliable than advertised.
The Germans have learned from real engineering experiences with actual windmill performances. See (http://tinyurl.com/28umesa).
These analyses have involved thousands of windmills with a total nameplate (theoretical) capacity of 23GW, which is an impressively large number. However, the windmills never operate at 100% capacity or even 90%. The analyses of the German windmill performances show that they averaged only 17.5% for the 8 years between 2000 and 2007.
This is a very low number putting and refutes the claims that wind energy is useful and reliable. Experiences show that it is neither. In contrast, the capacity factors for US nuclear power plants are now at 90%, even better than France’s vaunted nuclear program that operates at 80%.
The German population is paralyzed with political correctness, and that has given the use of wind energy topmost priority in its use. Wind energy must be transmitted into their transmission systems at the time it is being produced. This means that much lower cost electrical energy must be taken offline, while consumers are forced to take and use and pay for the much more costly wind energy.
As if this weren’t bad enough, the theoretical 23 GW of German wind energy capacity has introduced a huge pollution problem. The 17.5% capacity factor for German windmills means that more reliable backup energy is needed for the 82.5 % of the time when the wind doesn’t blow. In Germany and in Denmark the backup energy is usually provided by coal fired electricity. These coal-fired plants must be kept running without generating electrical energy. This is called “spinning reserve”. The plants must be ready to come back on line when the wind dies, which is often in a few minutes.
The costs of operating and fueling the backup systems are often not included in the true costs of the wind energy, thus understating, again, the costs of wind energy. While wind energy is supposed to be “clean energy”, the coal fired plants needed for backup energy is not. Thus, wind energy in much of Europe provides only minimal amounts of unreliable subsidized energy, while its essential backup systems burn thousands of tons of coal without produce any energy. Wind energy is not pollution free.
Our Administration is pushing wind energy on us and forcing us to pay billions in subsidies to corporate deadbeats – the question is why?
Michael R. Fox, Ph.D., is a nuclear scientist and a science and energy resource for Hawaii Reporter and a science analyst for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, is retired and now lives in Eastern Washington. He has nearly 40 years experience in the energy field. He has also taught chemistry and energy at the University level. His interest in the communications of science has led to several communications awards, hundreds of speeches, and many appearances on television and talk shows. He can be reached via email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org