NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

An Ill Wind: Wind-Generated Energy

July 16, 2002

Wind-generated energy is hyped as one of most environmentally beneficial sources of renewable energy. However, according to the Heartland Institute, the costs of wind-powered energy far outweigh the benefits.

  • At the risk of stating the obvious, wind power is only available when the wind is blowing; when it stops, so does the power.
  • To produce the same amount of energy as a conventional power plant, wind farms need 85 times more land area.
  • Wind farms produce both noise pollution and sight pollution, emitting blinding strobe-light sensations at dawn and dusk, and nearly constant noise pollution.
  • Wind power costs twice as much as electricity produced by traditional fossil fuels.

Also, critics ask, where is the environmentalist lobby's well-known concern for animal life? The Department of Energy plans to build 132,000 new wind turbines by 2020. By conservative estimates, the new turbines would kill between 12 million and 15 million birds.

Environmentalists ignore the clear and certain costs of wind-powered energy: higher cost and lost efficiency, increased land development, noise and light pollution and bird deaths.

Source: Michael Heberling, "Energy Answer is Not 'Blowing in the Wind.'" Environment & Climate News, Volume 8, Number 6, July 2002, The Heartland Institute, 19 South LaSalle #903, Chicago, Illinois, 60603, (312) 377-4000.


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