WIND FARMS COSTLY FOR KANSANS AND WILDLIFE, SAYS STUDY

June 9, 2005

Kansas consumers will pay higher taxes and higher electric bills if the state chooses to adopt wind power recommendations made by the Kansas Energy Council (KEC), says former New England Electric System Vice President Glenn Schleede. The KEC exaggerates the environmental and energy benefits of wind power and understates the environmental, energy reliability and economic costs, says Schleede.

For example, the KEC incorrectly assumes that a potential resource is an actual, practicable, marketable resource:

  • Wind turbines harness only a small portion of the wind; wind that is too light or too strong cannot be harnessed at all.
  • Ideal wind conditions are rare, intermittent and unpredictable.

Wind farms cannot displace conventional power plants; they merely supplement them:

  • Under ideal wind conditions, Kansans would need approximately 21,000 giant turbines to supply their energy needs while keeping the conventional power plants running standby.
  • Billed twice, Kansas consumers would pay the costs of new wind farms and conventional power plants.

Furthermore, says Schleede:

  • The wind industry receives a 1.8 cent federal subsidy for each kilowatt hour of electricity produced and two-thirds of the value of a wind energy project comes from two federal tax breaks.
  • Even with generous subsidies and tax breaks, wind power remains more expensive to produce than coal, natural gas and hydroelectric power.

Against all this economic cost, says Schleede, wind power might still be desirable if it provided substantial environmental benefits, but instead, it imposes its own unique price. Wind turbines despoil landscapes, disrupt aviary migration patterns and directly kill hundreds of thousands of bats and birds (including endangered species) each year.

Source: James M. Taylor, "Wind Farms Costly for Kansans, New Study Finds: Consumers Would Pay Higher Bills, Reap Few Green Benefits," Heartland Institute, May 2005; Glenn R. Schleede, "Misplaced State Government Faith in 'Wind Energy' -- This Time by the Kansas Energy Council," March 1, 2005; and "Kansas Energy Report 2005," Kansas Energy Council, December 20, 2004.

For Schleede study: "Misplaced State Government Faith in 'Wind Energy'":

http://johnrsweet.com/Personal/Wind/PDF/Schleede-KansasWind-20050301.pdf

 

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