It’s symbolically appropriate that one of President Obama’s preferred forms of “green energy” crony capitalism has the effect of killing off the national bird. The federal wind production tax credit (PTC) is mercifully set to expire on New Year’s Eve. The PTC provides a financial boon, at great taxpayer expense, to well-connected companies that build eyesore wind farms that kill great birds of prey and pretty much anything else that flies within the range of their “green” blades. The nonpartisan Institute for Energy Research estimates that if this cozy arrangement between big government and big business were to be extended, it would cost American taxpayers $55,000,000,000. The fate of the PTC — and of that $55 billion— now rests with House Republicans, who would have to approve the PTC’s renewal.
As John Fund writes today at National Review Online:
“[N]o matter how much money is blown its way, wind power — for simple scientific reasons — can’t graduate to the kind of large-scale, reliable energy production that its backers tout. Physicist and environmentalist John Droz Jr. notes: ‘There is no real environmental benefit to wind, because a) it’s an unpredictable commodity, b) output from any group of wind projects can and will go to zero on many occasions, and c) energy generated from industrial wind power cannot be economically stored.’ Germany, which has gone stark raving mad in building wind turbines, has proven just how unreliable it is. On one day this February, wind power delivered a third of Germany’s electricity needs, but four days later, on a still day, it contributed precisely zero.”
“Then there is the carnage inflicted on Mother Nature. Paul Driessen reported in the Washington Times that ‘the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that wind turbines kill 440,000 bald and golden eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, cranes, egrets, geese, and other birds every year in the U.S., along with countless insect-eating bats.’ The actual numbers are probably far higher. The turbine blades of the nation’s 39,000 windmills move at 100 to 200 miles per hour and can mow down anything that gets in their path.
“Over the past 25 years, an estimated 2,300 golden eagles have been killed by turbines at Altamont Pass, Calif., alone, leading to an 80 percent drop in the golden-eagle population of southern California.”
But there is at least one more way in which wind farms undermine, rather than improve, the environment. They are aesthetically hideous. At close range, these giant, eagle-killing windmills — and some of them are giant — look like something implanted on earth by an unfriendly alien civilization. Nobody would ever want to live near one.
So, why are liberals so fond of them? Because they never get built in cities, where liberals live. As for why liberals can overlook the carnage, that’s a good question.