RI Alliance for Clean Energy

The Rhode Island Alliance For Clean Energy


THE REAL FACTS ABOUT WIND POWER IN EUROPE & AROUND THE GLOBE

The Rosy Picture Deep Water Wind, Governor Carcieri and the Leadership of the General Assembly paint is far from being true

They all want you to believe that there are never any problems with large scale wind farm development but another look will tell you otherwise. Deepwater Wind and our elected officials site Europe and especially Denmark as the shining example of the wind industries successes. An independent look however will uncover something vastly different and the opposite of what they want you to believe.

Europe

Throughout Europe, wind turbines produced on average less than 20% of their theoretical (or rated) capacity.

The European Union (E.U.) published the results of a 5-year investigation into wind power, finding noise complaints to be valid and that noise levels could not be predicted before developing a site.

An April 2000 E.U. report found that, using existing technology other than wind farms, increased efficiency could decrease energy consumption by more than 18% by 2020.

Denmark

In 1998, Norway commissioned a study of wind power in Denmark and concluded that it has "serious environmental effects, insufficient production, and high production costs."

Denmark (population 5.3 million) has over 6,000 turbines that produced electricity equal to 19% of what the country used in 2002. Yet no conventional power plant has been shut down. Because of the intermittency and variability of the wind, conventional power plants must be kept running at full capacity to meet the actual demand for electricity.

A writer in The Utilities Journal (David J. White, "Danish Wind: Too Good To Be True?," July 2004) found that 84% of western Denmark's wind-generated electricity was exported (at a revenue loss) in 2003, i.e., Denmark's glut of wind towers provided only 3.3% of the nation's electricity. According to The Wall Street Journal Europe, the Copenhagen newspaper Politiken reported that wind actually met only 1.7% of Denmark's total demand in 1999.

Denmark is just dependent enough on wind power that when the wind is not blowing correctly they must import electricity. In 2000 they imported more electricity than they exported. Also added to the Danish electric bill are the subsidies that support the private companies building the wind towers. Danish electricity costs for the consumer are the highest in Europe.

Detailed Report by Vic Mason and The Danish Society of Windmill Neighbors

Follow-up paper by Vic Mason

The Danish government has cancelled plans for three offshore wind farms planned for 2008 and has scheduled the withdrawal of subsidies from existing sites.

Flemming Nissen, head of development at the Danish utility Elsam, told a meeting in Copenhagen, May 27, 2004, "Increased development of wind turbines does not reduce Danish CO2 emissions."

Development of onshore wind plants in Denmark has effectively stopped.

Because Danish companies dominate the wind industry, however, the government is under pressure to continue their support.

In February 2003, the output of the more than 6,000 turbines in Denmark was 0!

Denmark Wind Turbine Explosion
Turbine in this video is 196 feet tall (This turbine is 31 feet taller than the turbine at Portsmouth Abbey and 208 feet shorter than the turbines proposed by the Governor)
Wind Speed was measured around 30 mph
The wind turbine had to be evacuated ¼ mile in either direction

News report of Wind Turbine Explosion

The Danish government's National Environmental Research Institute reported that in 2003 greenhouse gas emissions increased 7.3% over 2002 levels despite having more than 6,000 wind turbines

Progress toward the Kyoto targets

Germany

Eon Netz, the grid manager for about a third of Germany discusses the technical problems of connecting large numbers of wind turbines

Germany reduced the tax breaks to wind power, and domestic construction drastically slowed in 2004.

A German study in 2003 found significant noise levels 1 mile away from a 2-year-old wind farm of 17 1.8-MW turbines, especially at night.

On August 31, 2004, Bloomberg News reported that "the unstable flow of wind power in their networks" has forced German utilities to buy more expensive energy, requiring them to raise prices for the consumer.

A German Energy Agency study released in February 2005 after some delay stated that increasing the amount of wind power would increase consumer costs 3.7 times and that the theoretical reduction of greenhouse gas emissions could be achieved much more cheaply by simply installing filters on existing fossil-fuel plants.

In Germany, utilities are forced to buy renewable energy at sometimes more than 10 times the cost of conventional power, in France 3 times.

Actual Pictures of the country side in the State of California and the Country of Germany

A 1995 study in Germany estimated that 80% of insurance claims paid for wind turbine damage were caused by lightning. Lightning destroys many towers by causing the blade coatings to peel off, rendering them useless. If the blades keep spinning, the imbalance can bring down the whole tower. The towers are subject to metal fatigue, and the resin blades are easily damaged even by wind.

More than 100 German University lecturers and writers demand the withdrawal of all direct and indirect subsidies going to large-scale wind power companies

Spain

Spain began withdrawing subsidies in 2002. They are now aggressively seeking out solar energy and technology instead of large wind power.

In 2005, Spanish utilities began refusing new wind power connections. In 2006, the Spanish government ended -- by emergency decree -- its subsidies and price supports for big wind.

A 2002 study in Spain estimated that 11,200 birds of prey (many of them already endangered), 350,000 bats, and 3,000,000 small birds are killed each year by wind turbines and their power lines. Governor Carcieri wishes to place hundreds of turbines less than a mile away from the Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown which have about 100 species of birds and in most cases less than ¼ of a mile away from Piping Plover breeding grounds near Watch Hill in Westerly, Sachuest Beach in Middletown and the southern portion of Little Compton in near Sakonnet Point. It is interesting to note that the Massachusetts Audubon Society rejected Cape Wind’s plans in Massachusetts because of the potential to have a high rate of bird kills from these large structures.

The planners of giant wind installations in Valencia, Spain, mention the dripping and flinging off of motor oil (almost 200 gallons of which may be present in a single 1.5-MW turbine) and cooling and cleaning fluids. The transformer at the base of each turbine contains up to 500 more gallons of oil. The substation transformers where a group of turbines connects to the grid contain over 10,000 gallons of oil each.

Ireland

Ireland in December 2003 halted all new wind-power connections to the national grid. In early 2005, they were considering ending state support.

Irish grid manager in a study released in February 2004 "The cost of CO2 abatement arising from using large levels of wind energy penetration appears high relative to other alternatives."

Impact of Wind Power Generation In Ireland on the Operation of Conventional Plant and the Economic Implications

The noise of a wind plant in Ireland was measured in 2002 at 60 dB 1 km (3,280 ft) upwind. The subaural low-frequency noise was above 70 dB (which is 10 times as loud on the logarithmic decibel scale).

A criminal suit has been allowed to go forward in Ireland against the owner and operator of a wind plant for noise violations of their environmental law.

In Ireland, a developer has been forced to compensate a homeowner for loss of property value, and many people have had their tax valuation reduced.

United Kingdom

Click to see the video "Wind Madness"

In the U.K., the Telegraph has reported that rather than providing cheaper energy, wind power costs the electric companies £50 per megawatt-hour, compared to £15 for conventional power.

In the U.K. (population 60 million), 1,010 wind turbines produced 0.1% of their electricity in 2002, according to the Department of Trade and Industry. The government hopes to increase the use of renewables to 10.4% by 2010 and 20.4% by 2020, requiring many tens of thousands more towers. As demand will have grown, however, even more turbines will be required. In California (population 35 million), according to the state energy commission, 14,000 turbines (about 1,800 MW capacity) produced half of one percent of their electricity in 2000. Extrapolating this record to the U.S. as a whole, and without accounting for an increase in energy demand, well over 100,000 1.5-MW wind towers (costing $150-300 billion) would be necessary to meet the DOE's goal of a mere 5% of the country's electricity from wind by 2010.

In the Lake District of northwest England, a group has sued the owner and operator of the Askam wind plant, claiming it is ruining their lives.

In January 2004, a couple was awarded 20% of the value of their home from the previous owners who did not tell them the Askam wind plant was about to be constructed 1,800 feet away: "because of damage to visual amenity, noise pollution, and the irritating flickering caused by the sun going down behind the moving blades." The towers of this plant are only 40 meters (130 feet) high, with the rotors extending a further 24 meters (75 feet). Steve Molloy of West Coast Energy responded that loss of value of a property, although unfortunate, was not a material planning consideration and did not undermine the industry's argument that the benefits of sustainable energy outweighed the objections.
Windfarm blows house value away

Interesting article in United Kingdom’s Telegraph Newspaper
“Wind farms 'make people sick who live up to a mile away” By Catherine Milner

As an example, Country Guardian calculates that for the U.K. government subsidy towards the construction of one wind turbine, they could insulate the roofs of almost 500 houses that need it and save in two years the amount of energy the wind turbine might produce over its lifetime.

Research done by Dr. John Hedger from the Institute of Biological Sciences at the University of Wales in the United Kingdom

Australia

In 2004, Australia reduced the level of renewable energy that utilities are required to buy, dramatically slowing wind-project applications

"Tooborac"

France

In France utilities are forced to buy renewable energy at sometimes more than 3 times the cost of conventional power.

Switzerland

Switzerland also is cutting subsidies as too expensive for the lack of significant benefit.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands decommissioned 90 turbines in 2004.

Japan

Many Japanese utilities severely limit the amount of wind-generated power they buy, because of the instability they cause.

Did you know?

Build-up of salt on off-shore turbine blades similarly has been shown to reduce the power generated by 20%-30%.

The U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has stated that simple voluntary energy-efficiency improvements in buildings will reduce world energy use 10%-15% by 2020. They state that, with technology already in use, efficiency improvements in buildings, manufacturing, and transport can reduce world carbon emissions more than 50% by 2020. This statement was not referring to the use of Large Scale Industrial Wind Power.


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