When Sustainable Energy Isn’t Sustainable

On January 20th. a website at Substack called Energy Bad Boys posted an article about the Nobles wind farm in Minnesota.

The article reports:

In 2007, Minnesota began its quest to power the state with wind turbines and solar panels when the Next Generation Energy Act (NGEA) was signed into law. This legislation mandated that 25 percent of the state’s electricity come from “renewable” energy sources by 2025.

These mandates, along with generous federal tax subsidies and monopoly utilities seeking to maximize their government-approved profits by building new infrastructure, led to a building boom in wind turbines and solar panels.

From 2007 through 2022, Minnesota built thousands of wind turbines totaling 3,690 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity and 1,143 MW of solar capacity en route to meeting the mandates in 2020, five years ahead of schedule.

However, many of the turbines built to comply with the 25 percent mandate are already being refurbished or “repowered” long before the end of their supposed 25-year useful lives. In fact, one of these wind facilities, the Nobles wind farm, has already been repowered after just 12 years in service.

But why was Nobles refurbished more than a decade before the end of its useful life at a cost of $240 million? The official reason provided by Xcel Energy for repowering Nobles was to spur economic activity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and extend the retirement date of the facility from the year 2035 to 2045.

This story makes for a good newspaper headline, but the data tell a very different story. Digging deeper into the reasons surrounding Xcel’s decision to repower the Nobles facility illustrates how our state and federal energy policies are causing America’s energy decisions to grow increasingly irrational.

The article also notes:

Currently, there aren’t enough transmission lines to move the power generated from these wind facilities to other areas of the 15-state regional grid that could use it. This is because the existing transmission lines can only transport so much power at a time, similar to how water flowing down a sink is governed by the width of the drainpipe. As a result, the oversupply of electricity frequently causes power prices to go negative, which sends a signal to wind turbine operators to scale back supply, at least it works that way in theory.

In reality, the PTC pays wind projects $26 for each MWh of electricity the facility produces, whether or not that electricity is needed. The subsidies mean that electricity generated from wind farms could potentially be sold into the market at a price of negative $25 per MWh and still turn a profit for their owners. This is why the areas with the most wind turbines see the most negative prices, which you can see in the map below.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It is only one of many illustrations of the fact that the government is subsidizing the quest for a perpetual motion machine that will never exist.

 

When Green Energy Fails

On Friday, WND posted an article about the failure of wind turbines.

The article reports:

Siemens Energy announced Thursday that it will be undergoing a technical review after it was found that up to 30% of its wind turbines could have faulty components, according to statements made by the company.

Siemens Energy, an international energy company that seeks to “decarbonize global energy systems,” announced that it is withdrawing its profit guidance for the year after subsidiary Siemens Gamesa found that there was a “substantial increase in failure rates of wind turbine components.” The company believes that between 15% and 30% of its installed fleets are suffering from component failures, Jochen Eickholt, CEO of Siemens Gamesa, said during a Friday morning analyst call.

“The fact that we have identified more quality problems marks a significant setback for us. These quality problems go beyond what we were previously aware of, and they are directly linked to selective components at a few but important suppliers,” Christian Bruch, President and CEO of Siemens Energy, said during the call. “At this point in time, we believe that the costs are likely to be in excess of 1 billion euros.”

As a result of the announcement, stock in Siemens Energy fell 36% as of Friday morning.

The article concludes:

The use of wind energy has received criticism as operations grow in size, incurring more maintenance costs and environmental concerns. Newer, larger turbines designed to generate enough power to fuel renewable energy desires suffer from a greater rate of component failure, resulting in higher maintenance costs, according to The Wall Street Journal. Some environmentalists also claim that wind farms harm animals, including birds, through habitat destruction and obstructing air travel.

It’s time to realize that although fossil fuel is not perfect, it can be utilized in a way that creates a minimum amount of pollution. We need to look at the pollution we are creating in the manufacturing of the windmills and solar panels that generate ‘green energy’ and the pollution caused by the disposal of their parts after they wear out.