Monday, November 21, 2011

What is a location where nature makes wind power impractical?

It's not what you might think.  As budgets all across the EU come under pressure from the creaking sovereign debt train wreck unfolding there, governments are slashing subsidies to wind farms.

Even in the Netherlands, home to many picturesque and historical windmills.

The problem is that the windmills are picturesque and historical because they were all replaced 150 years ago by cheaper energy sources.  Coal fired steam engines at first, and then coal fired electrical generators.  The current Green philosophy is that carbon energy sources need to be replaced with "sustainable" power.  There's just one little catch with that whole "sustainability" thing:

Towering over the waves of the North Sea like an army of giants, blades whipping through the wind, the turbines were the country's best hope to curb carbon emissions and meet growing demand for electricity.

The 36 turbines -- each one the height of a 30-storey building -- produce enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 100,000 households each year.

But five years later the green future looks a long way off. Faced with the need to cut its budget deficit, the Dutch government says offshore wind power is too expensive and that it cannot afford to subsidize the entire cost of 18 cents per kilowatt hour -- some 4.5 billion euros last year.
Now €4.5B may not sound like a lot, in this day of Trillion dollar deficits.  But let me put that in perspective: the population of the Netherlands is about 16.5 Million people, or about one twentieth of the population of the USA.  So that €4.5 is the equivalent of $100B here Stateside.  For wind power subsidies.

Just by itself.

That's what Greens mean by "sustainability" - massive subsidies shifting wealth from poor people (in the form of higher electricity prices) to wealthy, politically connected corporations like GE.

In the name of "social justice", of course.

And the punch line is that this is happening at ground zero for wind power.  I mean, it's not like we don't know that the wind can drive the Dutch economy or something.  It's like the reverse of Sinatra's song: if you can't make it there, you can't make it anywhere.

But don't you forget, the people proposing these policies are smarter and nicer than you or I.


Ken said...

Yep. Sustainability and subsidy might be fairly close in the dictionary, but out here they're worlds apart.

B said...

and don't forget the 14,000 abandoned windmills in the US alone.

Seems that when the subsidies run out, they all of a sudden are useless...or something.