Today is was brought to my attention the Sierra Club has a really nifty glossy booklet explaining all about “deniers” and “wind warriors” with ties to the fuel industry. Once again, there is an insistence that fossil fuel industry (yes, they still use that antiquated term–never mind abiotic oil is reaching mainstream science) has to be funding this group. Which brings out a very interesting point–supporting wind is all about money. Wait, how can we be sure? Because the wind industry is incapable of understanding the idea that people actually fight against wind because they are principled people who see an industry lapping up federal money, destroying the environment and name-calling all who resist the turbines as something that should be stopped.
The wind industry is unique in that multi-billion dollar companies both local and overseas soak up billions in subsidies and there is no outcry. Wind is just as big an industry as oil and gas. In fact, oil and gas companies invest in wind. So they are evil, except when putting in wind turbines? Isn’t that “blood money”? Yet there is rarely an outcry against billionaires who want to put 1000 spinning towers of death on the sagebrush sea in Wyoming. How can a billionaire out to destroy the western vistas not be evil? The tiny drill rigs (half or less the height of turbines and not permanent) are evil and ruin the landscape. The pump-jacks are smaller still and can be located close to homes without negative effects. Are we to believe these individuals cannot see 1000 400-foot towers littering the landscape? Talk about “deniers”. Only the wind industry can seriously say the turbines are barely noticeable and very beautiful. Unless, of course, they see tall towers of $100 bills where the rest of us see metal and oil towers that create noise, kill birds and spill petrochemicals on the ground if a leak develops. They seem to have missed the ugliness of abandoned turbines rusting in place.
Often, the response by wind to “deniers” is the deniers are presenting false science and “facts”. Yet try to get science and facts (other than how much money the turbines make and SWAGs about the number of jobs) and no answer is forthcoming. That is also true in climate change. If the wind industry is so perfect and necessary, one would suppose the industry would put out production numbers and cost/benefit analysis instead of telling how much they gave to the local charities. (Is it a charitable donation if the money wasn’t yours in the first place?) I know of one company that publishes actual output numbers and the output is very low. Based on this company, it’s pretty clear why wind is not bragging about their accomplishments. Even Consumer Reports online reviewed a home wind turbine and found that at least that turbine would take a lifetime to recoup the cost of. Does that put Consumer Reports in the evil oil industry camp? Were they bribed by the Koch brothers? It all looks too much like belief in conspiracy theory rather than a well-thought out claim.
The pamphlet rambles about oil money, organizations changing names, “their science”, attacks individuals based on their past and assumed ties to oil and gas, but does nothing to explain why wind and solar are so important and why after 20 years of subsidies these industries are going bankrupt. Again, if wind is a panacea, why does it need government money? Maybe because it does not work and probably never will. So wind cannot present itself as proof of the need for the PTC. Their only option is to attack the persons opposing them.
Which brings us back to the opening paragraph. It’s all about money. The wind industry cannot understand how a group of loosely organized people with little, and often no, funding can be holding up something so important as the handouts to alternative energy sources. So there has to be a conspiracy, it has to be the oil and gas industry, and that is why wind is faltering. Wind lobbyists spend millions to try and hang on to federal handouts while ordinary citizens pointing out the flaws and futility of producing useful energy are garnering more and more attention. It simply cannot be the message.
Ask yourself who the real “deniers” are.