When Green Energy Kills Wildlife

On Monday The Daily Caller posted an article about the impact of ocean wind farms on the sonar capabilities of whales and other marine animals. It is known that wind farms impact radar when they are near airports, so it is not really a surprise that they would have an impact of the navigational systems of marine mammals. This report of the death of a family of whales near a wind farm comes from the United Kingdom.

The article states:

The U.K. coastguard received reports of a minke whale calf that had become separated from its mother Friday evening. By the next afternoon, it had been found dead at the mouth of the River Ore, and its mother washed up near Felixstowe. On Sunday, another dead adult whale surfaced, indicating that an entire family could have been killed.

…“There are studies that show that the sounds created by the operational noise of the turbines create vibrations under that may in fact disorient marine mammals like whales,” Bonnie Brady, director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association who regularly discusses the impacts of noise on marine mammals, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “In the case of what looks like this mother and calf, they go on the wrong path and end up disoriented then beaching themselves. The sound kills.”

Both construction and ordinary operations noises from offshore wind turbines can travel immense distances under water. This harms whales, dolphins, marine mammals and fish that communicate with noises in order to breed. For this reason, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) guidelines show that high noise levels can cause marine mammals like whales and dolphins to go deaf and disrupt their vocal communications.

The acoustic disturbances from constructing wind farms and from the wind farms themselves are harmful to fish and water mammals. Combined with the fact that the wind cannot be depended on to generate electricity 24/7 and a backup fossil fuel energy source is needed for those times when the wind dies down, wind energy is not yet at a point where it makes sense. In America, wind farms are killing some of our most magnificent birds. We need to either improve the wind farm technology or look in another direction for alternative energy sources.

The Unintended Consequences Of Green Energy

Wind energy has its positive traits. However, the wind does not always blow twenty-four hours a day, and a back-up source of energy is required. There are also other consequences.

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about the impact of a wind farm off the coast of Block Island.

The article reports:

The fishing industry is worried the first offshore wind farm to come online in the U.S. will ruin their way of life and kill jobs.

An offshore wind turbine three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, will kill large numbers of fish and potentially drive hundreds of small coastal enterprises out of business, according to a fishing industry representative. Fishermen fear offshore wind turbines will continue to pop up along Atlantic Coast, eventually make it impossible to be a commercial fisherman.

“This will absolutely cost jobs in the U.S.,” Bonnie Brady, director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “If New York Governor [Andrew] Cuomo’s administration gets what it wants from offshore wind that’s thousands of fishing jobs. It’ll rip the coastal communities apart.”

The article further reports:

“Block Island has messed up gill netters and trawlers,” Brady said. “They’re not going to certain areas because its a risk to the boat. The five turbines they put in place there are ruining one of the most productive bottoms around.”

Estimates from the liberal Brookings Institution suggest the U.S. fishing industry supports 1.5 million jobs and generated $90 billion annually.

“These are great jobs,” Brady told TheDCNF. “You can make a really good living working on a fishery. It is a solidly middle class life and a really good trades-job. We have more growth potential for fishing jobs in the U.S. than anywhere else, but we’re being removed from our fishing grounds because of offshore wind.”

There may come a time when ocean-based wind power makes sense, but that time is not now. In addition to the unreliability of the electricity produced by wind and the damage to the fishing industry, the cost of wind-powered electricity is about for to six times the cost of conventionally generated electricity. It may also turn out that in our rush to save the environment with green energy, we have damaged areas of the environment we chose to overlook because of political fads.

 

 

 

The Wind Doesn’t Cut It

Hot Air posted an article today about changes in Germany’s energy policy. Germany has often been cited as an example of effective use of green energy. Well, evidently green energy is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The article reports:

Germany plans to stop building new offshore wind turbines to lower the costs of electricity and prop up its ailing power grid, according to a revision to a new energy law.

The revision of the law will come into force at the start of 2017, and will sharply limit the construction of new offshore wind farms, reports Reuters. The motivation behind the law is that Germany’ over-reliance on wind power “has pushed up electricity costs in Europe’s biggest economy and placed a strain on its grids,” the article reads.

“Germany now has electric rates for consumers that are among the highest in the world. Energy poverty has become a reality for millions of German families,” Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the free market Competitive Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The article goes on to explain that Germany has made good use of wind energy, but that there are two problems with wind energy. First of all, despite the fact that the government has subsidized wind energy, the consumer prices of electricity generated by wind are much higher than the price of electricity generated by fossil fuel.  Second of all, wind power is neither stable or predictable–in order to supply electricity 24 hours a day (expected in most western countries), wind power needs a fossil-fuel powered back-up.

The article concludes:

Keep that in mind here in America where we have a vastly larger and more complex grid. We can’t operate this huge system without a predictable energy supply which can be regulated to match fluctuations in demand. Wind can be a great booster to the energy supply in the areas where it can be produced, but the technology remains too expensive in most cases to stand on its own feet and the wind still has an unpleasant tendency to stop blowing sometimes.