Tuesday, June 22, 2004


Wind power imposes huge costs on everybody and the windmills kill lots of nice creatures so the Greenies are no longer keen.

"On March 10, the Royal Academy of Engineering released a study, "The Cost of Generating Electricity," comparing the costs of generating electricity from a number of energy sources.... After cutting through the hidden taxpayer subsidies and market constraints that frequently mask the true costs of electrical power generation, the Academy concluded, "Our cheapest electricity will come from gas turbines and nuclear stations, costing just 2.3 p/kWh (British pence per kilowatt hour), compared with 3.7 p/kWh for onshore wind and 5.5 p/kWh for offshore wind farms."

Even fossil fuels were found by the Academy to be half as expensive as renewable energy sources--even after the Academy assigned a penalty to fossil fuel sources to take into account the costs of mitigating carbon dioxide emissions to a level required by the Kyoto Protocol, which Britain has pledged to support.

A study titled "Tilting at Windmills," released April 18 by Scottish economist David Simpson of the David Hume Institute, bolstered the Royal Academy's findings. According to Simpson, generating electricity through wind power and other non-nuclear renewables costs twice as much as generating power from conventional sources. Achieving the British government's goal of 20 percent of generation of energy through non-nuclear renewable sources, concluded Simpson, will cost British citizens well more than a billion dollars per year. Additionally, according to the study, "A serious attempt to address the issue of a reduction in CO2 emissions may raise wholesale electricity prices by up to 60 percent in five years."...

An association of renewable energy companies, Scottish Renewables, conceded in a written response published in The Scotsman that the Hume Institute study accurately reflected the annual costs of supplying power through renewable sources. The renewable energy association also conceded, "Because of the cost of providing additional stand-by generating capacity, it is unlikely wind power will ever account for more than 20 percent of electricity generation through the National Grid, and will make no substantial contribution to a reduction in carbon emissions."

Analysts noted economic costs are not the only costs associated with wind power. Many environmentalists oppose wind power because of the substantial number of birds slaughtered by turbine blades every year. In Northern California's Altamont Pass wind fields alone, thousands of birds are killed by wind turbines each year, including roughly 1,000 annual kills of such valued birds of prey as golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, and burrowing owls."

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