Report Says Wind Not the Answer

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With nations around the world, including ours, aggressively marketing wind power as an answer to tomorrow’s energy questions, a new study should catch our attention. The study was published by Civitas, a British think tank, and cites recent research from the Netherlands published by a retired Dutch physicist.

“Wind power could actually produce more CO2 than gas and increase domestic fuel bills,” states the Civitas report, arguing that the switching on and off of backup fossil sources due to too little or too much wind supply causes more negative consequences than benefits.

“You keep having to switch these gas fired power stations on and off, whereas if you just have highly efficient modern gas turbines and let it run all the time, it will use less gas,” said Ruth Lea, an economic adviser to Arbuthnot Banking Group and the author of the Civitas report.

According to reports such as this one in The Telegraph, Britain’s government wants to build as many as 32,000 wind turbines in the next 20 years in an effort to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions. American policymakers are encouraging similar measures through taxpayer-funded subsidies for renewable power.

The report from Civitas, predictably, has its critics. What is clear, however, is that Britain’s energy policies have quickly made the nation’s power rates some of the most expensive in Europe. A recent report by PACE also detailed the ways in which Europe’s plunge into renewable power has also raised the specter of power grid instability.

Higher costs and less reliability sound like a bad bargain for consumers. Hopefully, U.S. policymakers will take the time to look at the facts of this report and judge for themselves to what extent wind power should, or even can, provide part of tomorrow’s energy solution.