NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 25, 2005

The energy bill which recently passed the Senate would force large utilities to generate 10 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2020 and provides $3.7 billion in tax credits to wind-power producers. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R - Tenn.) says this is a bad idea because the presence of huge wind turbines will ruin the aesthetics of the countryside.

According to Alexander:

  • A modern wind generator stands on a tower between 300 and 400 feet high with flashing red lights that can be seen for more than 20 miles.
  • Its blades are 95 feet long and when the wind is blowing at a sufficient speed, enough electricity can be generated to power 500 homes - but that is only 35 percent of the time.

There are other reasons for opposing wind generators:

  • After three decades and over $14 billion in taxpayer subsidies, renewable energy sources supply just 3 percent of U.S. electricity; wind provides less than 0.2 percent.
  • A single 555-megawatt gas-fired power plant on 15 acres generates more electricity each year than all 13,000 of California's wind turbines on 106,000 acres.
  • An estimated 44,000 birds, including an average of 50 golden eagles annually, have been killed over the past 20 years.

Furthermore, wind farms in agriculturally dominated areas would significantly increase local surface drying and soil heating, harming agriculture and making it harder to grow corn for ethanol.

Source: Editorial, "Running Against The Wind," Investor's Business Daily, July 15, 2005.


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