Gone With the Wind

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One of the magic solu- tions for global warming pushed by those of greenish hue is wind power. The greenies tout wind power as a perfectly safe source of energy. An article in Der Spiegel makes that claim look dubious.

Germany has more experience with wind power than any other country on earth. It has over 19,000 wind turbines, thanks mainly to lavish government subsidies. But a spate of recent accidents has caused concerns.

In one case, a 328-foot-tall wind turbine in Oldenburg broke apart. The authorities investigated six other units, and they shut down four of them because of safety concerns. In another case, parts of a rotor blade flew off and landed on a nearby road (luckily not during rush hour).

Rotor blades from another wind turbine flew off in Brandenburg. In yet another incident in Schleswig-Holstein, a 230-foot-tall windmill broke in the middle. And several wind turbines near Osnabrock caught fire recently.

All this has led the German Insurance Association to com- plain about the large number of defects showing up, such as problems with the rotors, gearboxes, and generators. The big insurance company Allianz was hit by nearly a thousand claims for wind power problems last year alone. Insurers now call the technology “risky.”

In case one might think that putting windmills out in the ocean will solve the problems of risk, well, many countries have run into problems with wind turbine fields at sea. Vestas, a world leader in wind power technology, had to remove an entire field of turbines off the coast of Denmark in 2004, because the turbines couldn’t stand up to the sea and weather.

The Spiegel piece doesn’t explore two other problems with wind power. First, fields of wind turbines have proven great at killing birds. Quite an ecological downside, no? Second, because of the feeble output from a single wind turbine, you need massive fields of them to generate an appreciable amount of power, and those fields are surpassingly ugly. This is why the Kennedy clan, oh-so-green and politically correct, killed a planned project that would have placed a field off Martha’s Vineyard, where their castle is emplaced.

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