Bats versus wind energy — I'm rooting for the bats

by CynthiaYockey on October 26, 2009

Wind energy as a renewable energy source not only requires a back-up power source that neutralizes all its supposed energy benefits, but also requires installing tall, hideous turbines in large numbers — it cannot be justified as a source of green energy not only because it destroys the environment, kills birds and insects, but also just does not produce energy efficiently enough to justify its costs:

Then there is the insurmountable engineering problem. The wind cannot be relied on to blow all the time within the operating parameters of the wind turbine. If the wind is not sufficient to turn the turbine blades no power is produced. If the wind is blowing too hard, the unit shuts down to protect itself and no power is produced. Therefore, the utilities are required to have 100% backup available for the wind generation because the power has got to be there when demand increases. Why? Because if the voltage is pulled down enough on the grid due to an increase in demand, the entire grid will collapse. Best case projections allow for wind systems to be available 35% of the time. Those projections are actually not accurate because they do not take into account time of day loading. In other words, the wind systems may be capable of producing power at night when demand is lowest, not during the day when it is most needed.

Basically, although some amount of fossil fuel is not used when the wind farms are actually on line, these projects can never be cost justified from an engineering standpoint due to the 100% backup capacity required. This is going to apply regardless of how high fuel prices go. There may be other justifications for construction of such a system, but the fact is that if one system is so unreliable that it requires a 100% (reliable) alternate backup, it makes no engineering sense to install the first system. Economically, you are spending more than double what you actually need to, to achieve the desired result.

This is an area I know rather a lot about, having spent my career in the utility business.

The installation of every, single utility-owned project has been a purely political decision. I limit it to utility-owned because that is my field. But it is no different for any other project.

Bottom line – wind power cannot ever be economically or engineering justified. Any system that is so inherently unreliable as to require an installed 100% backup system cannot be justified.

One of the most coveted spots for these indefensible outrages against life, beauty, efficiency, prudence and reason IS THE RIDGES OF MOUNTAINS.

So, while browsing at Red State, I happened on news of a battle of endangered species vs. wind energy where environmentalists want to replace the trees on a West Virginia mountaintop with over 100 wind turbines even though they know the turbines will kill tens of thousands of birds and bats. They have been sued by a local bat lover and I pray to God the endangered bats win. In a previous post I discussed research showing that the turbines for wind energy kill birds and insects by creating powerful vortices that overwhelm them, make it impossible for them to return to their homes, or just plain chop them up. The Washington Post’s story on the West Virginia battle reveals that researchers have shown that bats are killed along with birds and insects (boldfacing mine):

GREENBRIER COUNTY, W.VA. — Workers atop mountain ridges are putting together 389-foot windmills with massive blades that will turn Appalachian breezes into energy. Retiree David Cowan is fighting to stop them.

Because of the bats.

Cowan, 72, a longtime caving fanatic who grew to love bats as he slithered through tunnels from Maine to Maui, is asking a federal judge in Maryland to halt construction of the Beech Ridge wind farm. The lawsuit pits Chicago-based Invenergy, a company that produces “green” energy, against environmentalists who say the cost to nature is too great.

The rare green vs. green case went to trial Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

It is the first court challenge to wind power under the Endangered Species Act, lawyers on both sides say. With President Obama’s goal of doubling renewable energy production by 2012, wind and solar farms are expanding rapidly. That has sparked battles to reach a balance between the benefits of clean energy and the impact on birds, bats and even the water supply.

At the heart of the Beech Ridge case is the Indiana bat, a brownish-gray creature that weighs about as much as three pennies and, wings outstretched, measures about eight inches. A 2005 estimate concluded that there were 457,000 of them, half the number in 1967, when they were first listed as endangered.

(snip)

Indiana bats hibernate in limestone caves within several miles of the wind farm, which would provide energy to tens of thousands of households. The question before the judge: Would the bats fly in the path of the 122 turbines that will be built along a 23-mile stretch of mountaintop?

Eric R. Glitzenstein, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in his opening statement that both sides agree the windmills will kill more than 130,000 bats of all types over the next 20 years.

(snip)

The case probably will come down to a battle of bat experts.

There is no question turbines in other locations have killed tens of thousands of bats. Some strike blades. Others die from a condition known as barotrauma, similar to the bends that afflict divers. It occurs when the swirl of the blades creates low-pressure zones that cause the bats’ tiny lungs to hemorrhage. Scientists and the industry are seeking ways to lessen the kills, including stopping the turbines at certain times or using sound to deter the bats.

But the habits of Indiana bats largely remain a mystery to scientists. They are so small that only recently has the technology been available to produce devices small enough to track their movements.

You know what energy source we REALLY need more of? Nuclear power plants. Also oil: drill, baby, drill! Not only should not one single additional wind mill be erected, every single one that has been installed should come down. When you consider both their inefficiency and the destruction they wreck on birds, bats, bees, other insects, the local microclimates, the fact that they threaten our food supply due to their destruction of beneficial insects and what an eyesore they are, they do not survive the cost-benefit analysis. If you disagree, would you be willing to debate while standing a few feet from a fan that is generating a vortex powerful enough to force you to cling to something for dear life? If you do, whatever that is, I’m sure I will have no idea how it came to be so liberally greased. I assure you, from the personal experience of being sucked down a whitewater river while trapped under the canoe, you never forget the feeling of being overpowered like that. Assuming, that is, that you don’t hit the fan.

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