Can We Afford ‘Free’ Wind and Solar Energy?
Lots of wind farms dotting the landscape, but none anywhere near even small population centers.
Many of the turbines weren’t moving, and one of the largest appeared to have about 100 turbines, yet I counted just three in action.
How can this be? Having paid for the land, the turbines and those long transmission lines, don’t providers want a maximum of the machines going? Nope. Because, you see, wind farms – and solar farms for the same reasons – don’t make their money by generating electricity. They do it by generating government subsidies.
Wind and solar have no purpose other than lining the pockets of fat cats, this was no shocker. No purpose, really? Really.
Physics ultimately dooms both wind and solar. Sure, the “fuel” for both is “free.” But that’s also true of sailing ships. How many merchant and warships are sail-powered? Problem is it takes a lot of “canvas” to catch that “free energy” because both wind and solar energy are (1) variable and (2) intermittent.
In other words, a fossil fuel or nuclear plant can steadily pump out energy day or night, independent of climate or weather. And “capacity factor” for nuclear plants has steadily increased so now they’re operating at close to peak efficiency all the time.
But turbines turn only when the wind blows, and if it blows too hard they have to be governed or shut down to prevent damage. Solar panels are useless at night and in places useless all winter.
The Westinghouse AP1000 WPR small modular reactor — the only type currently being installed in the U.S. — requires five acres of land. The company calculates that to generate the same amount of energy “average solar” would require 2,400 acres while “average wind” would need 60,000.
That’s 500 and 12,000 times the land mass respectively, which makes them cost-prohibitive for built-up areas – where customers are. Imagine the cost of 60,000 acres near New York City, which also happens to have relatively low amounts of wind and sun and therefore needs far more than that average.
For that 7% of electricity, wind and solar grab a stunning 64% of federal subsidies, meaning over $10 billion or about $80 per U.S. federal taxpayer annually.
Beyond federal support, personal tax credits related to solar products are available in 20 states, 18 states have corporate tax credits or deduction programs, and 14 states offer taxpayer-funded grants to support solar electricity. Now toss in local subsidies.
Solar’s take per amount of energy supplied is much larger than wind’s. Why? Because solar is that much more inefficient!
If solar and wind were indeed catching up to other forms of electricity generation, they wouldn’t need current subsidies, much less ever-growing ones. Such are the incredible costs of producing energy with “free fuel.”
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