“To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.” – Aldo Leopold
Unsettling numbers of environmentalists fail to see that wind turbines are enemies of nature posing as saviors. Fearing a fossil fuel catastrophe, they’ve hastily abandoned their land ethic if they ever had one. Wind energy in the abstract sense is clean and natural, but the physical manifestation of how people “harvest” wind is big and unnatural by necessity. Wind power zealots can’t admit that ruining the countryside with obscenely large towers is a continuum of the “build, build, build!” mentality that’s destroyed nature throughout history. It’s the towering, spinning version of “drill, baby, drill!” and supply-side ideology over conservation. Wind energy promoters push the fable that their emperor isn’t an ungainly giant who cuts down trees, blasts ridges, kills airborne animals and tortures ground-based ones with blight and noise. They claim to be environmentalists but they’re really ecomodernists gesturing against fossil fuels for new income streams. Their corporate lingo makes it obvious. Ancient respect for landscapes, including modest human additions, has been replaced with sterile slogans about “installed capacity” and “market share of renewables.” The presumption that nothing’s workable unless someone’s profiting guarantees that nature will shrink. Any talk of shrinking economies (the true solution) is shunned since modern systems thrive on growth and slogans of the moment like “clean energy.” Since genetic traits are hard-wired, the avarice may never stop until society crashes like a brakeless wind turbine.
The original point of environmentalism was buffering nature from all human intrusions and toxins, not just fighting a specific type of pollution. Wind cheerleaders have decided that giant, mechanical weeds are green because they “must” be green. Many would probably accept dirt bikes and ATVs crawling all over hills and dunes as long as they had electric motors. Today’s “sustainability” is much more about coddling civilization than protecting nature. Some younger people may not understand what “the environment” is beyond AGW warnings they’ve heard since childhood. To become well-rounded environmentalists they should study the history of physical landscape destruction, which began with agriculture, logging & mining but has entered a major new phase with wind power. Nature has a bleak future unless this industry is restrained. It’s a tragic case of blight for naught when you see how ineffectual wind turbines really are. An all-electric economy may never be possible without earthbound nuclear fusion in portable configurations. Armies of ugly wind towers are doing nothing for nature itself.
Landscape-change denial has become as bad as climate-change denial and it’s worse in a hypocritical sense. The Kochs and Pruitts of the world at least aren’t pretending to be green. Large industrial wind turbines are becoming the ugliest evidence of the Anthropocene, creating an unprecedented visual plague with over 350,000 already installed as of 2019. Benign depictions of wind turbines “dotting” the landscape should be changed to “stabbing” and “blighting.” Nothing else is as tall, widespread, stark and kinetic. As with climate change or cancer in the initial stages, honest discussions of wind power must include its future potential spread, not just what’s known today. The industry seeks to fill up every possible “wind resource zone” and there’s no precedent for machines of this size and quantity, especially in scenic areas. Their closest rivals are offshore oil rigs which are far less numerous, not seen from inland areas, and not designed for permanence. Some future schemes call for nearly 4 million wind turbines but backlash is already strong because people can no longer ignore their presence.
Below is a list of wind industry propaganda and rationalizations, with responses.
- “We think wind turbines are beautiful.” Why should the alien aesthetics of a subsidy-chasing industry be accepted as the new normal? Natural scenery is integral to quality of life and should never be disrespected. They started building these mutant thistles without a real vote, knowing the impacts would be major. When you call something beautiful you must do it in the context of what it replaced, altered, devalued or ignored. Wind turbines at a distance may look slender and elegant compared to blocky oil rigs but it’s absurd to only mention that angle when there are so damned many, and their size, albedo and motion make them impossible to unsee. The axiom “everything in moderation” has never been truer. Rare wind turbines in urban settings can look interesting but most end up in rural or wild areas where they upset the historical sense of place and cause anger, sadness and depression. When a smug shill tells you to adapt and get over it, you realize what the industry is really about. Some turbine-lovers say power lines are ugly even though new transmission corridors are built for wind sites through remote lands. It’s impossible to avoid environmental hypocrisy in the wind business. Certain people have never respected nature’s grandeur without man-made “improvements.” It tends to be a Creationist or anthropocentric engineering mindset. Wind turbines are the biggest structures being forced onto landscapes by the same types who used to interrupt rivers (see below). Where’s the moral consistency? If wind factories are intrinsically attractive, why would anyone reject them anywhere? The cases of Crescent Peak, NV and Ocean City, MD prove that wind developers are indifferent to scenery, and often live thousands of miles from their projects. In the overrun UK, people are rightfully comparing them to War Of The Worlds tripods or marauding Triffids. In rural landscapes it goes against evolution to accept mechanical monsters as natural. This author’s gut reaction to “they’re beautiful” isn’t fit to print, but this picture will suffice.
- “Would you rather live near a coal mine or wind farm?” This tactic has come to be known as whataboutism. It’s a misleading diversion, since far more people are dealing with visible wind turbines now, and coal mines are known damage. Mines also tend to be hidden at depth or obscured by ridges, whereas three-armed bandits are deliberately prominent. The effect is profoundly unnatural, with circular motion being a major component. They don’t sway like trees or break like waves, and their noise and red lights grate on nerves. Unlike fossil fuel development, wind projects aren’t limited by geology so they affect districts that never expected to see urban mega-sprawl. Zoning laws are relaxed because they’re “green” and few people predicted their eventual size. As of this writing, the Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign is run by a woman who fought mountaintop removal but is OK with miles of giant spikes adorning similar Appalachian peaks. Even fracking is much less vertically intrusive and its sites can be restored (water is a separate issue; this isn’t a fossil fuel apologist site). The wind mob knows many people resent their unexpected invasions but they keep rationalizing the spread. Their money/subsidy motivations are covered in depth elsewhere.
- “We’ve built silos, water towers and pylons in the countryside for decades. Wind turbines merely continue that tradition.” This is the mealy-mouthed, greenwashed equivalent of “the climate’s changed before, so why worry now?” Nobody who respects scenery can ignore what’s really happening. Who would pretend there aren’t exponential scale-increases in the wind power domain vs. older structures? There was no ability to build blades and cylindrical towers so large in the old days. Nothing with this uniquely visible combination of size, color and quantity was ever seen in rural areas. Even taller radio towers are less contrasty and fade better into the distance, with far fewer of them. You have to wonder if some wind-pushers have lousy scale interpretation. Are they blinded by perspective and see them like this? That’s doubtful. The most likely explanation is apathy about the loss of rural aesthetics, plus standard shill-spin.
- “They will replace fossil fuels and help stop global warming.” This also fails the evidence test, since wind turbines merely stretch fossil fuels by using them to grab a less consistent form of energy (there are parallels to a hydrogen economy that needs energy to isolate it from water, gas or biomass). True wind power ERoI calculations can be complex, with mountaintop trees and other carbon sinks lost during construction. You can’t build or transport such absurdly large machines with electric power; you need heavy mining & smelting equipment and big diesel trucks to move them around. Due to wind’s intermittent nature, wind power can’t work on the grid without a backup energy source, often gas, coal or nuclear. In many cases it’s been shown that CO2 emissions have actually risen as backup plants are installed in new areas to accommodate fickle winds. Some historical wind patterns are already changing along with the climate and we could see many more idle turbines. If you think Germany’s ambitious Energiewende is an economic or popular success, watch this “wind turbine battle” video and research their CO2 balance sheet.
- “We can carefully site wind turbines to minimize their impact.” Terms like “careful siting,” “proper siting” and “responsible siting” are farcical on a finite planet with finite zones of adequate wind and limited open space within those zones. In wind power’s 1970s infancy there were few protests because people saw it as a limited-scale experiment, but the monster escaped its cage and there are ever-fewer places left to build them after every new installation. In 2007, before the U.S. wind industry exploded, the National Academies Press published a detailed analysis of all the problems discussed here. Wind turbines back then were smaller in size & scope but it was clear that they were an “invasive species.” Now, too much land is already developed and wind power just adds to existing blight. Wind energy advocates think their giant machines can’t be ugly due to a righteous anti-carbon message but landscape blight didn’t vanish as an issue when global warming took center stage. Turbine apologists say that smokestacks are ugly but wind towers just add blades to the same general structure. The industry talks of making towers even bigger to work in lower wind areas, and concrete may become a means to that end, with a more smokestack-like appearance. Will they keep calling them beautiful? Some wind drones do admit that turbines blight landscapes, and they think offshore wind factories are the answer but it’s not cost effective to install them at distances where they’re invisible from shore. Many people see an unbroken ocean horizon as a basic right. Where else can you look to “infinity” without disruption? Ocean-based turbines also tend to be the largest models and harder to hide. See calculators for visibility at a distance, which the industry probably views as burdensome.
- “Wind turbines occupy relatively little acreage.” Popular influencer Neil deGrasse Tyson repeated this deception in the 2014 Cosmos remake, along with the fable of “100% renewable energy.” He perpetuated the myth of wind tower-bases as the only intrusions among vast arrays of preternaturally large machines, like only noticing the bottom floors of skyscrapers. It’s the same rationalization the GOP uses for ANWR oil drilling, citing “only 2,000” affected acres that would actually sprawl over 1.5 million acres. A direct parallel is Wyoming’s Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, which claims to need only about 2,000 acres of a 320,000-acre ranch but would actually sprawl over 229,000 acres (see map) and require hypocritical eagle-take permits. Most environmental groups understand the ANWR ruse, so who are they kidding? See the NRDC ANWR land-grab map vs. their wind energy platitudes. The Union of Concerned Scientists also tows that line, apparently unconcerned with scenery. Any industrial complex has a footprint of its total encompassed acreage, including access roads. The whole area becomes aesthetically tainted and cannot be classified as natural anymore. The greater separation of wind towers as heights increase just widens the sprawl zone. The industry also pretends home values aren’t affected when turbines are in the viewshed. A number of people have simply moved away, as they might with any lousy, permanent neighbor. Such large machines are difficult to remove for legal and financial reasons, even when decommissioned, e.g. Falmouth, MA. Those who claim turbines can be a bridge technology, later dismantled, are not facing facts. Their roads and cement bases may remain for centuries and energy put into building them is wasted now.
- “Rich people just don’t want their view spoiled.” With this canard, the wind mob plays the common man sympathy card while trivializing the importance of scenery to quality of life. It’s also an admission that “wind turbines are beautiful” is a damned lie. When Donald Trump fought an offshore wind farm near his Aberdeen, Scotland golf course, it was used as dual proof of wealth and climate-denial conspiring against innocent wind machines. In truth, some very humble people live in or travel through scenic areas, and wildlife has no voice when homewreckers arrive. Wind companies often target cash-strapped farmers to bribe them for land-grabs. Some carbon-obsessives think tarnished scenery is our penance for fossil fuel use, but the subsidy-hungry industry pushes the same growthist agenda as the rest of the economy, using green sales pitches for a sense of urgency to ruin landscapes. Maine and Vermont are notable examples with remote mountains in the crosshairs. West Virginia has already been spoiled with eyesores like the Laurel Mountain project, with its additional battery storage blight. North Carolina set the rare precedent of banning all but the smallest mountaintop wind turbines in 2009, but it’s unclear how long it will last. The rural poor get caught in situations where a neighbor is paid to host turbines but one could be 10 feet from their property line and create nothing but noise. A number of wind executives are quite rich but how many would live near their own contraptions? T. Boone Pickens didn’t want turbines on his own land when pushing a Texas wind power scheme. He literally called them ugly. Just as with oil & gas, weak land use regulations in Texas have allowed the rapid spread of wind projects. The conflict between the King and Kenedy ranches was a good example.
- “Cats, cars and windows kill more birds than wind turbines.” People who parrot that excuse show the same glibness toward life as they do scenery. Also, cars or store windows never claimed to be saving the world. More birds will obviously die as more turbines are built on this finite planet, so the “X kills more than Y” diversion becomes less true with every wind-sword placed in a flyway. There are no house-cats in many areas where wind turbines are installed, and the species of birds are often different, e.g. large raptors that rarely succumb to other animals. Birds tend to be mentioned first in mortality discussions but the plight of bats is worse. Read these articles. Bats can’t escape wind turbine blades via sonar and are actually drawn to them. Even when they avoid the blades, they die from pressure shocks as they pass by, and few other machines can duplicate that effect. Insects are also dying in great numbers, which affects food chains from the bottom up. Why would any “green” technology be causing death on a regular basis? A job description for a fatality monitoring technician near Minot, SD is frank about the problem. Even with growing evidence that wind turbines function as apex predators, the rationale is that AGW could eventually kill more wildlife, stacked on the assumption that wind energy will stop AGW, so let’s keep building more; a Faustian bargain at best. Given human greed, the most likely outcome is a warmer and uglier planet with more dead wildlife.
- “People who complain about wind turbine noise are NIMBY liars.” This is a puerile denial of the obvious. You can’t claim that gigantic machines intercepting large volumes of air won’t affect the soundscape! Listen to the air-roar of a mere 20″ box fan, then ask yourself how something vastly larger with a driven generator can be quiet. Just two large turbines in Falmouth, MA angered enough people to get them shut down. The noise is complex in its manifestations and topography, yet fundamentally simple; friction and mechanical resonance creates sound. The industry uses the complex aspects to distract from the blatant ones, especially in opinion polls with cherry-picked residents. Infrasound causes some very unpleasant effects and can be hard to measure with standard equipment, but the audible noise is bad enough. It needn’t be super loud, either, just unnatural or jarring, like a dripping faucet that would barely register on a dB meter but can prevent sleep. The typical industry excuse is that they aren’t louder than a refrigerator but who hasn’t been kept awake by a refrigerator in the same room, e.g. a motel? A related, equally dishonest angle is “I usually see wind turbines at a distance and never hear them.” Do they think wind turbines have a magic motility that always makes them far away and quiet to a given observer? Why are setback distances from homes such a big issue?
- “Some right-wing climate change deniers are against wind power, therefore that’s everyone’s motive.” This is an association fallacy or hasty generalization. Why assume that landscapes and quiet nights aren’t important to millions of Democrats and other random people? Wind turbines are very large machines built where nobody really expected them. Some things are offensive on a gut level no matter how much green propaganda is thrown around. Wind turbines are an example of something that can be done with applied engineering skills but ought not be, for moral reasons. They aren’t as dangerous as nuclear weapons (another case of hubris gone mad) but they are “blowing up” scenery in many ways. Small-footprint alternatives like rooftop solar should be getting the bulk of subsidies.
- “Wind energy advocates are good environmentalists.” Only because they say so, as they wreck landscapes while yammering about how beautiful or majestic their machines are. Many green groups were adamant about protecting scenery until carbon-dread quashed so many old concerns (a monomaniacal reaction). How many who resent Trump’s attacks on national monuments like Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante would be silent if those same lands were blighted by wind machines? Same goes for the NODAPL protesters of a barely visible pipeline (water issues aside in this context). We’ve reached a strange point where the visible environment is seen as inconsequential compared to air and water pollution, but the damage is all cumulative. Climate concerns don’t make scenery ruination any less of an issue. Corporate sellouts like The Nature Conservancy equate ruined hilltops with positive climate action, ignoring how futile the blight really is. People plant trees and grass in cities because we evolved in nature and don’t want it obliterated by buildings and machines. The industry’s growth is decades past the point where there’s any balance between the scale of wind energy and the need for pleasant scenery. German academics saw this coming in 1998 but landscape apathy prevailed and things are much worse now. Each new “farm” (aka factory) eats into more space that wasn’t tainted by huge machines, unnatural noise and light pollution. When you witness their detachment from nature, it’s clear that many wind engineers, truckers, crane operators and maintenance workers could easily segue into fossil fuel extraction.
Below is an example of wind industry propaganda and arrogance from wind-energy-the-facts.org, which echoes awea.org. The .org domain is also a ruse since wind power is clearly commercial.
“The effects of landscape and visual impact cannot be measured or calculated and mitigation measures are limited. However, experience gained recently suggests that opposition to wind farms is mainly encountered during the planning stage. After commissioning the acceptability is strong.” (source)
They start with the specious claim that blight “cannot be measured or calculated” in a technical sense, which ignores aesthetic gut reactions. There is no official ugly scale but ugly is still ugly! Ski lifts and office buildings (like LG’s 143-foot proposal on the Hudson River) have often been protested as environmental blight. Much smaller cellular towers can spoil views and are disguised as trees or shrunk to fit their surroundings. You can’t do that with wind turbines so they resort to propaganda. That first lie sets up the ruse that opposition to industrialized scenery is mostly temporary. They claim “after commissioning the acceptability is strong” but cite no objective polls. A more likely scenario is that people give up fighting and just try to cope, like Indians beaten down and trapped in reservations. At least that article admits that “mitigation measures are limited,” which is a dry way of stating that you can’t un-see or un-hear huge towers all over the place, so you either cope or move.
The wind business forces itself onto rural communities and expects them to adopt a Stockholm Syndrome mindset. Gag orders are placed on landowners as part of their turbine-hosting agreements (almost everyone has a price) and upbeat polls ask if people favor “renewable energy” without specifying its ugliest component. Articles and forums supporting wind power are constantly ignoring or downplaying its aesthetic damage to scenery and the animals it kills. A truly green business wouldn’t need so many cover stories. They’re filling the fields, mountains and oceans with colossal, noisy, flashing towers and acting like it’s easily ignored (see cognitive dissonance). Engineers are generally not stupid people, so they’re either lying to themselves or have chosen to disrespect nature.
Propaganda and denial sites dismiss wind power’s downsides with “careful siting” lies and implausible schemes to discourage birds & bats from entering expanding gauntlets. They won’t explain why they find landscapes non-integral to the environment, except to insist that AGW dwarfs other concerns per feeble evidence that wind turbines can stop it. Here are random samples of attitudinal greenness:
- awea.org (money clearly motivates them, just like their parent fossil fuel business)
- wind-works.org (wind advocate since the 70s, pretends the scale hasn’t grown ugly)
- windustry.org (lists the downsides but gives them little weight; common shill tactic)
- eon.com (“Many people delight in the sight of wind turbines” plus other loaded claims)
- climatecrocks.com (“wind turbine syndrome is bullshit” sums up the smugness of that site)
- earther.gizmodo.com (“earth-friendly” tech site that panders to the world’s kludgiest gizmos)
- The Nature Conservancy (“Site Wind Right” fantasy collides with mission to protect open space)
- desmogblog (shows no concern for the large-particulate smog look of wind turbines on horizons)
- electrek.co (another tech site full of bean-counting shills who prefer gigawatts to natural scenery)
- Mother Nature Network (hundreds of articles praising Big Wind and rejecting low-sprawl nuclear)
- The Sierra Club (they’ve dropped many of their land-protection goals and their non-woke founder)
- awwi.org (American Wind Wildlife Institute insists that birds & bats can be protected; naive or evil?)
- Films For Action (negatively reviewed “Planet of the Humans” because it questions green growthism)
- cleantechnica.com (see no evil, hear no evil; bans anyone who criticizes wind power in a forceful way)
- Yale Climate Connections (another university spawning engineers and financiers, not ecological thinkers)
- oceana.org (“protecting the world’s oceans” by supporting vast, ugly construction projects in their waters)
- globalwindday.org (shameless photo contest spins industrial scenery as a beautiful nature enhancement)
- National Resources Defense Council understands oil drilling footprint lies but ignores them for wind projects.
- skepticalscience.com (allows glib pro-wind praise, yet rejects reasonable comments on aesthetics as sloganeering)
- ramblingsdc.net/windenergyopposition.html (rambles about the “benefits” of rural ruination, claims to respect nature)
- reddit.com/r/wind/ (post anything negative and you’ll feel the wrath of snarky environmental posers defending paychecks)
- thestranger.com/…/rural-people-who-hate-wind-power (insults rural folk, ignores wind energy’s futility; see arrogant quote)
You can’t reach hardened wind power advocates with aesthetic arguments. Many of them don’t intrinsically respect nature because they’re anthropocentric technophiles and neo-environmentalists. They probably spend far more time looking at computer screens than physical horizons. Maintenance of the technological world and its power grid is their top priority, with nature as a quaint distraction, or a backdrop for extreme sports. The height of wind turbines plays into the bungee-jumping, thrillseeker mindset and they get fascinated with the ability to build something that large. Ancient concern for nature is lost in their awe of Man’s hubris (not unique to wind turbines but they’re top dog now). Windnuts share many traits with the wingnut climate deniers they claim to despise; always pushing for more gigawatts and construction projects. Instead of protecting nature from people, now it’s about sustaining what people built with fossil fuels, using much weaker forms of energy that require vast acreage. If landscapes must be trashed for the “greener good,” they’re fine with it. Way to go, you soulless idiots! Pursuing a nature-wrecking technology in the name of environmentalism is dystopian irony at its worst. Wind power just escalates Man’s historical plundering of nature and the Manifest Destiny mindset. It squanders our last chance to downsize per countless warnings about carrying-capacity overshoot.
Wind turbine manufacturers compete to see who can build the biggest eyesores. Watch some of these videos where they take pride in looming as tall as possible over the countryside. Anything green is long forgotten in those brag-fests. It’s become a bloated excuse for manufacturing, mining, logging, blasting, road building, trucking and crane rigging jobs. That’s what it takes to get huge machines installed in the hundreds of thousands, eventually millions if madness prevails. Too bad they can’t try it on a different planet instead of experimenting on the public and wildlife. Maybe there’s a planet Enercon (emphasis on the con) or a planet Vestas with no natural vistas. There’s also something sinister about the word Iberdrola, like a disease that’s also a corporation. Not only are they in the wind business, they’re vested in a controversial hydroelectric dam in Brazil. Groups like Greenpeace oppose them for that but not for wind power blight. Where’s the moral consistency?
The USGS Wind Turbine Database is a good way to visualize the total sprawl of these “farms” and debunk minimal land use claims (points 5 & 6 above). You can drive for hours in some places and always see turbines. The industry wants to keep making them taller so they’ll work in lower wind areas. Scenery be damned is the general consensus. Be mindful of the 360-degree viewshed, not just their exact placement on the map. No other energy infrastructure has such far-flung visibility.
People who oppose the damming of water yet support the mass-disruption of airspace are a hypocritical bunch. You can put large generators at ground level or small ones inside large towers in much greater numbers. A high percentage of existing dams merely hold back water and could be retrofitted to generate electricity, which should be considered instead of more wind projects. Water is 784 times denser than air and creates a lot more power per unit area. Water dams kill swimming animals and wind dams kill flying ones. They both disturb nature in big ways, so if you’re against damming rivers, why make excuses for damming the sky? At least hydro-power makes lakes, which are also formed by natural landslides and lava. Nothing in nature looks like wind machines jutting into the sky. Wind power is a hasty reaction to the fossil fuel dilemma, not our sole choice on this scale (see wind energy vs. oil’s density). The definition of the word clean contains “morally uncontaminated; pure; innocent,” which is the opposite of scenery fouled by wind turbines.
The anti-fracking movie, Promised Land, was originally going to be about wind turbines. They ought to do a sequel since the public is still largely duped by wind hype, thanks to media soft-pedaling. Both industries convert scenic, quiet places into energy factories and know it will disrupt lives, so they use slick propaganda. But fracking is much less visible at a distance than wind power and its lands can be restored, though water issues plague it.
It’s unlikely that famous conservationists & naturalists like Henry Thoreau, John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold, Ansel Adams, Rachel Carson, Arne Næss, Edward Abbey, et al., would have welcomed this assault on landscapes. As an example, the John Muir Trust (a Scottish legacy charity) is against wind turbines in any sort of wilderness area but they’re fighting a tough battle. In America, Muir founded the Sierra Club, which has sold out to green-tech, dodging the evidence and calling for “appropriately sited” renewable energy projects. Do they think the planet has endless places to hide huge towers, with so many projects already resisted? Even iconic Loch Ness is threatened by wind energy now. It’s discouraging to see modern environmentalists buy into the weak benefits of a bloated, unreliable power source.
In case you think this is a rant with no hope, I’m all for rooftop & parking lot solar panels or putting them over train tracks and canals. They can be much greener than wind monsters if they don’t increase the human footprint, though that hasn’t proved pragmatic due to economics. Deep geothermal is another potentially good renewable source which could fix the problem of rare locations near the surface. Small wind turbines (under 50 feet tall) can meet modest power needs if people don’t depend on them 24/7. The most promising large-scale alternative is safer forms of nuclear power like SMRs, if old fears can be dropped. The whole centralized model of building “energy farms” and moving electricity over long transmission lines needs to end. Anything truly green should have a minimal footprint, like cargo ships assisted by rotor sails. Unless people practice restraint and use more birth control, our long-term existence on this planet isn’t assured by any technology. Fossil fuels built this whole mess and it’s hard to sustain without them. The whole notion that there “must be a solution” is countered by historical evidence of human greed and shortsightedness. The modern energy quagmire vs. the scale of growing wants & needs is unprecedented. Very large machines in the countryside are a new phase of urban sprawl that leaves many of us speechless. Ecocide, Phase 2 is a good term for it. If these were housing developments or freeways, most environmentalists would oppose them for destroying open space! In light of these inexplicable new values, some ecological thinkers have resigned themselves to the continued destruction of nature by old and new technologies. Wind power is actually an old technology, rebooted in the worst way.
It’s easy to find wind energy opposition groups and antidotes to industry propaganda. The media has done a poor job of reporting both sides of the wind energy story but the tide seems to be turning as these machines reach a critical mass. Hopefully there will be a global moratorium on further construction, at least on mountaintops, where wind turbines are the most disrespectful. Subsidies in various nations have already been cut back as the ruse reveals itself but there needs to be an “outrage clause” that stops them for nature’s sake alone. With all the talk of Climate Justice, why not mention Landscape Justice?
This page may be updated and reworded at random with new information. If you cite it, please post the link instead of a pasted snapshot.
For anyone who comments in support of wind power: If there was no such thing as climate change, what aspect of “the environment” would you want to protect most? Wouldn’t landscapes be high on the list? Also, do you really think wind turbines are divorced from fossil fuels, considering what’s needed to build them?
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Engineers may have “chosen to disrespect nature” but ultimately they have chosen to disrespect non-participating rural residents who are clearly being abused on many levels, small point in an otherwise well done article; a larger point which impinges on the piece’s credibility is the lack of awareness of the economic folly of small-scale unreliables.
People who wish to experiment with them in their own lives with their own money are free to do so however it can easily be shown that on a purely economic basis they make little sense and should never be allowed on a modern grid. Unfortunately governments manipulation and draconian social engineering make it almost impossible for sane social, economic and environmental solutions to prevail. The UN “sustainability” agenda has been anything but and will ultimately achieve the same ends as all forms of totalitarian rule.
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Well put, though your angle is more economic vs. aesthetic. I see the wind industry as an inevitable outcome of greed and economic growth obsession, which drives the whole energy business. There’s also the urge to constantly “build stuff” and support construction jobs, like always trying to increase housing-starts on finite acreage (population growth drives that). Wind turbines are another phase of urban sprawl, but much more visible.
I don’t see turbine-proliferation as a plot to specifically upset rural people. They just happen to be where the practical land is, but of course the result is the same. The oceans are another big target but water acreage (or acre-feet) lacks a sense of ownership, even though millions of people look at it.
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I see the wind power issue as similar to leftist excuses for human overpopulation. They say it’s not too many people, just poor allocation of resources, and they assume the whole planet must share because of oil-based transport. With wind turbines, they say growing numbers of big machines are OK if it fights global warming, but they haven’t proved it really does. It’s entirely subjective to justify that environmental damage in any event. It’s a case of P.C. Groupthink without common sense.
Yes, definite parallels between machine overcrowding and human overcrowding. I can’t see how any intrinsic environmentalist would NOT have a sustained negative reaction to these huge industrial parks.
The definition of an environmentalist is someone who wants to protect nature from human depredation, not someone full of excuses for any alternative to active carbon emissions. I say “active” because wind turbines are hardly emission-free in their total life cycle.
We’ve added this site to our list of anti-wind groups on Quixotes Last Stand.
Thanks for your listing, with the caveat that I’m not keen on these articles: https://quixoteslaststand.com/?s=climate+change+hoax&submit=Search
I see no sense in wasting finite fossil fuels for any reason; they are far too important to be squandered as a form of defiance. Fighting wind power with climate-denial ends up perpetuating stereotypes like this, which hurts the overall cause: https://climatecrocks.com/2013/05/22/the-truth-about-the-anti-wind-movement-a-tiny-paranoid-disinformed-koch-funded-fringe/
Wind turbines should be seen as a new environmental scourge that gullible people have bought as a solution to AGW. The promotion of wind energy as a climate fix creates guilt by association and lends itself to emotional arguments against climatologists, but has no bearing on the laws of thermodynamics (CO2 doesn’t care if wind turbines are ugly). The focus should be on wind energy’s environmental hypocrisy and greener options like solar PV subsidies.
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Whilst it may be technically correct to describe fossil fuels as “finite”, advances in gas and oil recovery by fracking and amazing horizontal drilling have enabled known reserves to be massively increased. There are now sufficient known reserves in the US alone to last hundreds of years. That will give the nuclear industry time to develop newer non-dangerous forms of nuclear energy. Absolutely no need for these bird-munching windmills, especially as they are so inefficient. As we are now seeing global cooling, even if the CO2 scare were true (for which there is absolutely no proof), we need MORE CO2 in the atmosphere, to assist in growing more crops to offset the cooler temperature effect.
Quote: “There are now sufficient known reserves in the US alone to last hundreds of years.”
If you’re referring to coal, maybe, but that’s just not true for petroleum. Peak Oil never went away, it was just temporarily postponed by tight-oil fracking and higher OPEC output (likely designed to compete with fracking).
Tight oil (including tar sands) is the difficult, low-ERoI stuff, not the free-flowing crude of yesteryear, and armchair analysts fail to account for the large energy inputs needed to extract it, Kerogen (an oil precursor) gets ridiculously overhyped as containing “trillions” of barrels. Just look up USGS shale oil projections with American daily consumption of ~20 million barrels in mind. A billion barrels sounds like a big number but only lasts America about 2 months, and oil is sold on the global market which burns it about 5 times as fast. See: https://www.google.com/search?q=shale+reserves+overstated
You also lost me with the CO2-is-always-good claim aka global warming denial. Being against wind power for unscientific reasons hurts the credibility of the cause.
I love this article, and thanks. However, it is essential that we cry out against climate lies as well, because the global warming hysteria has led to massive acceptance for industrial wind and solar, too. Solar is four or five times more subsidized than wind, and is frankly, toxic as well. I know you mention solar in parking lots, and small applications, and I say, let’s wait for nano solar, geo thermal, perhaps new nuclear, and other R and D energy advances in the works. It seems that LARGE as you note, is the modus operandi, and massive fields of solar that burn birds from above is also obscene. Did we mention highly toxic rare earth elements, and non recyclable, too? “https://grist.org/climate-energy/thousands-of-birds-are-igniting-mid-air-whats-solar-got-to-do-with-it/” This is equally ugly and disgusting.
Thanks for a wonderful piece. Don’t be afraid of global climate lies! They will make you even more determined to tell the truth!
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Well, show me specific “climate lies” that don’t involve conspiracy theories or ignoring the automatic heat-trapping vibrations of CO2 molecules which don’t recognize politics. The Earth came with no warranty saying “Just do what makes you feel good and it will all work out somehow.”
Possibly a few climate warnings are too dire but I wouldn’t bank on rolling dice decades into the future! Fossil fuels are finite, CO2 traps infrared radiation, AND wind turbines are futile & ugly.
Respectfully, there are many scientists who openly talk climate change, which of course happens, and is real, fairly, without conspiracy theory, without politics. Many. Unfortunately, the “religion” of global warming,” which is now debunked quite clearly, as most agree we are in a period of global cooling, which may indeed be a little ice age again, has overtaken sensible and clear thinking about how we can best be environmentally sensitive, and have cleaner cheaper, safer energy sources. Many are being developed that will change things radically. If you read Joe Fone’s little book, Climate Change, Real or Manmade, a wonderfully researched romp through climate change facts through the ages, you will be forever changed. One friend says every child coming out of the womb should have this little book in its hand. I agree. There have been 20 ice ages, and five extinctions before mankind arrived. Please give me your email, and I will send you some materials….just read and see what you think. Maybe you will move a bit from your position. CO2 is not a pollutant. INDUSTRIAL CO2 may be considered a pollutant. However, man made CO2 is about 4% of all world CO2 levels produced.
None of what I am saying diminishes the horrible legacy of waste and garbage and disrespect we show to the planet. But we cannot use climate FEAR to build out turbines and solar arrays, and ask entire policies to reside in the home of lies. It becomes lies upon lies. And then more difficult for us to untangle. Friends of Science in AB, Canada, has a think tank that outlines clearly many of these lies. https://www.friendsofscience.org/index.php?id=3
None of what we disagree about takes away from your amazing article. Thank you again.
If you won’t accept the decades of research on CO2’s capabilities, I’d waste time debating you here. See: https://history.aip.org/climate/timeline.htm (not a lib’rul site by any means)
Note that climate skeptics never had a motive to question the core CO2 greenhouse effect (Earth would freeze without it) and Man is merely amplifying it. A scientific consensus is normally accepted until it questions a religious or money-motive, e.g. evolution, acid rain, CFCs, and now global warming. The latter is the biggest challenge to our energy system, so it’s meeting resistance from people who’s main goal in life is being happy and getting paid, just like the quasi-green wind power industry.
Nobody questions the behavior of gases in an engine piston or home heater, since gases can only behave per the laws of physics. So why are scientists “clueless” when CO2 is the gas in question? CO2 is just a molecule with no awareness of whether people defy its capabilities for political or religious reasons. Likewise, gravity would not spare Scott Pruitt from the impact of an unethically-fired EPA employee jumping off a high-rise above him. Too bad about Trump opposing wind power (another hurdle for scientific credibility).
I’ve never understood the point of AGW-denial. A wise fossil fuel industry would stretch supplies as long as possible. Oil is FINITE and it makes no sense to squander it just to defy the guv’mint asking people to conserve it. Wasting oil or leaving one’s lights on during Earth Day is like throwing food in the trash to protest high food prices. “Waste not, want not” used to be a conservative theme, now it’s gluttony wrapped in a flag.
I’m glad you’re opposing wind power, but science-denial doesn’t do the movement any favors. It’s a lot like claiming Sandy Hook never happened, as a means to promote gun rights. I dislike wind power because it’s destroying the environment, just as are fossil fuels in a cumulative way. A “one vs. the other” mindset is unnecessary.
Oil is finite. Yes, and uranium likely enough for 70 years. New R and D for sure. Turbines ARE oil and fossil fuels, as you know.
There are too many “disagreements,” to carry this conversation further. I wish you well.
Likewise, but I hope you’re aware that wind turbines weren’t initially invented to stop global warming. They were a 1970’s experiment to help offset fossil fuels, and also because it was just an interesting concept. Decades later they became totems for global warming prevention and they’re drawing reactions from rural victims predisposed to right-wing ideology; property rights, gun rights, not trusting “elitists,” etc.
We disagree on AGW, but if you get practical results using that angle with rural councils, so be it!
I just see zero logic in wasting fossil fuels for any reason, so it doesn’t even matter whether global warming is involved. Put the conserve back in conservatism and progress will be made.
Yes, I know. However, the turbine proliferation has been very much tied to fantasy of “saving the planet,” and this is tied to “from” global warming. The hysteria of trying to save the planet with turbines, as you know, my friend, is just plan crazy nuts. It sure works for SOME PEOPLE! Here is Vestas: Act on Facts, and following, the NA-PAW reply, Get Real Vestas. Vilification of fossil fuels? There is no need, because then you are necessarily damning turbines, too. What rubbish. Try taking fossil fuels away, and you condemn the poorest of the poor on the planet as well. Of course, cleaner and more sensible use…duh.
YouTube link: …../watch?v=XoE8h81rBBU
Produced by NA-PAW
That video’s about a 9 on the annoying scale, questioning emotions while obviously playing with those of viewers! It’s too “emotional” to want nature to look like nature, eh? I think the tide has been turning on this since at least 2012, which is why ads like that exist in the first place. They must know they’re hypocrites.
VESTAS = Vehemently Eradicating Scenery Through Applied Stealth
I like your point about the psychology of individuals involved. There is nothing more malevolently useful than a man who feels no compunction manipulating something he doesn’t understand. Inside their technologically-saturated lives, they think everything is just a “technical problem,” and will happily apply their “solutions” at scale in a blizzard of mouse-clicks, wondering what all the hue and cry is about. “It’s simple,” they insist, exasperated. 😦
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Good comment about the “technical problem” rationalization. That’s what Rex Tillerson called AGW when he said it’s “an engineering problem and it has engineering solutions.” There’s that old saying about everything looking like a nail when all you have is a hammer.
Wind energy is also promoted because of “single action bias.” People get tribal about a specific technology and insist that it must be a cure.
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Excellent article, shared and promoted. The world needs to read this. You are spot on!
Thanks for the good words. One can only keep repeating what’s obvious to those who’ve studied the real world.
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You have engaged in one of the most pressing but often ignored pieces of the decay and degradation surrounding the
proliferation of wind. LANDSCAPES, BEAUTY, WHICH SHOULD NOT BE SACRIFICED FOR ANYTHING. Especially when it is as hideous a lack luster performing, nonsensical, harming, killing field. Wind. Thank you again.
Yes, it’s obvious to people with aesthetic values. We could use someone like the late Oregon Gov. Tom McCall in charge of this country (best of right & left ideologies).
Scotland (heritage here) has lost major areas of scenery and they even want to turbinate Loch Ness. Maybe that’ll finally drive out the mythic monster! Pass around this set of articles if you haven’t seen it: http://www.swlg.org.uk/uploads/6/3/3/8/6338077/spwln_final_small.pdf
Great piece. Many thanks. Powerful use of Gerard Manley Hopkins and others.
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Thank you for this. As one of the inhabitants at industrial wind turbine ground zero, I tell anyone who cares to listen about the physical assault from the emanations of these enormous monstrosities except for the environmental zealots, profiteers and naive believers. People get tired of listening, but we continue to suffer. We can’t get tired of it and move on unless we physically move on. These turbines are criminal for countless reasons. So are acres of solar panels to the hot south that are incinerating the creatures that fly over them. Again, thank you for eloquently pointing out the obvious versus the green/greed bubble.
‘The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science’.
YouTube link: …/watch?v=tPzpPXuASY8
My website is
“Human Caused Global Warming”, ‘The Biggest Deception in History’.
YouTube link: …/watch?v=tPzpPXuASY8
YouTube link: …/watch?v=sO08Hhjes_0
The Alex Joneses of America are equally adamant in claiming that Sandy Hook was staged to grab guns from hard workin’ folk. It’s the same mindset that assumes the government wants to over-regulate people’s vehicles & energy habits, therefore they’re inventing false dangers. It’s a paranoid, self-centered theory, not a rational conclusion.
If you find it implausible that man-made CO2 is causing extra warming beyond the natural greenhouse effect (made possible by CO2 in the first place) I don’t know what to tell you, except that CO2 molecules have no awareness of your politics, let alone your existence. They just automatically trap heat per the laws of physics and atom-level vibrations. The Earth would be too cold for most life without CO2.
https://www.google.com/search?q=CO2+infrared+molecular+vibrations+trap+heat (how CO2 traps heat)
https://www.google.com/search?q=global+warming+joules+per+second (how much heat CO2 traps)
Global warming deniers should think about their practical motives. Do they seek to waste more finite fossil fuels than are already being wasted? How does more waste help our long term energy security? The truly conservative (conservation) approach is to make oil, gas & coal last as long as possible with minimal emissions.
As for wind turbines, I see them as a continuum of the same mentality that’s causing global warming. A secondary environmental blunder by a species that doesn’t think ahead very well.
I would only like to say that human beings are a part of nature; that’s the environment, and everything alive there. Some humans are harmed by having to live too close to wind turbines. Good or bad, they, the wind turbines, have no right to harm anyone, or anything. There seems to be a dirth of medical information in this conversation. As far as I am concerned, there is NO place for the safe placement of wind turbines, on land or at sea, no justification for their existence. This may seem a hardship, but let me remind you that archeologists dig up dead civilizations from time to time. I would prefer that mine was never found that way. When a single person commits suicide because he feels so clobbered by these machines and he can’t get any help from the state, his elected reps., anyone, I think it’s time to drop your point of view, and work to end wind power. For this, and many other reasons, I think wind power is a bad thing.
Your points echo the logo/slogan of a major Australian anti wind power site. The industry needs to be halted on moral grounds before it ruins too many places. Too much time is wasted debating technical minutia or marginal economics while ignoring gut-level problems of scale, noise and the general wrongness of the whole enterprise.
“Isn’t there some way of making energy that’s not so huge and obscene?” (Bob Lucas)
Reblogged this on Save The Huron Mountains.
Unless I missed it, while I saw lots of opinion (reasonably documented) on this webpage as to why the author does not want the windmill source of power used, I have not seen any suggestion of what to do in lieu of it. I always believe that when you complain about something that it behooves you to say what you would suggest as an alternative, and be prepared to support it. Almost everything in life has pluses and minuses, and one man’s cup of tea is another’s poison. What would you suggest as an alternative?
I mention nuclear power several times as our low-sprawl hope. France has done nuclear quite successfully, even with older designs. Newer ones have potential to recycle old waste. Fusion experiments are also escalating because scientists know wind & solar can’t be scaled up enough, ugliness aside.
Still, there may be no long-term options if endless economic growth stays on course. People tend to assume society as we know it “must go on,” aka hopium addiction.
Air movement is the essence of climate. Without air movement on earth, climate would be as boring as climate on the moon.
USA has many people and a very large land area. If each American had their own plot of land, each would get only 7.6 acres of land (0.0314km or square 177m on a side). We also use a lot of energy, 10.1kw per person, 24/7.
A typical propeller is 88% efficient, while the gearbox and generator are collectively about 99% efficient, for an overall efficiency of a turbine is about 87% efficient. So, to generate 10.1kw of electrical energy for our typical person by wind turbine, there will be 10.1/0.87=11.61kw of energy extracted from wind kinetic energy. 13% of that goes by friction into thermal energy in the air and the remaining 87% goes into an electrical transmission line.
Assume we get all of our energy needs from wind power and assess the impact. Average land elevation in USA is 610m, and the blades of a wind turbine typically extend from 50m above ground to 150m above ground. Axis of a wind turbine then typically is 710m above ground. Between the axis and a height of say 2km, the average air density(@300K) is about 0.96kg/m3. So, our average citizen on the 177m square of land is looking at 60 million kg of air in the space between the turbine axis and 2km above the turbine axis. During a typical day, that person using 10.1 kw of continuous electrical energy and a turbine 87% efficient will extract 11.6*24*3600=1,002,240,000 Joules of energy from the kinetic energy of the air mass. Assuming that kinetic energy comes from that 2km high column of air (60 million kg), the air velocity all the way up to 2km above the wind turbine will be reduced by 5.78m/s (12.9mph).
This wind speed reduction would be in every one of the notional plots making up the entire USA. Since the typical year around wind velocity in the USA is just 6-12mph, we are looking at a profound effect upon our air circulation, and as asserted earlier above, air circulation is the essence of climate. Clearly, such degradation of air circulation is entirely unacceptable. It would seem that inhibiting air circulation to this degree would reduce migration of water vapor into our interior and result in most of USA becoming a desert.
This simple calculation has assumed that all our power needs are satisfied by wind turbines. Already, we are getting about 3% of our power from wind turbines and the government is gearing up for a huge near-term increase in the number of turbines. Greater than 30% is not an unforeseeable near future result. Taking square roots, the 3% current energy extraction means we have already done 17% of the full damage to air velocity and 30% means 55% of the full damage in the near future. The droughts and climate change we are “seeing now” are more than likely a result of the now existing wind turbines.
Similar calculations for solar and tidal power extraction show that solar is by far the preferential approach, especially if almost half the solar power is placed out to sea. Tidal power extraction is likely to have severe long-term effects on the moon orbital distance from earth (7m/year change?). No consideration of monetary cost has entered into this conclusion.
Local turbine interference seems clear from machine spacing to avoid wind-shadows. All that new interception can’t be good.
It’s a stretch to blame general climate heating on wind turbines alone. Some of the worst hit areas have few machines in-line. For example, many of California’s fire zones get their original wind from the Pacific and it easily moves at higher levels to the mountains, or sweeps up from the Central valley. Forests block untold volumes of wind near the ground but it carries on above them.
Wind can also move a lot of heat, e.g. the Santa Anas, and isn’t intrinsically cooling unless bringing air from elsewhere. Total heat is getting trapped in the global atmosphere, not created in bulk by still (or moving) air near the ground, though friction effects help. Running a fan in a hot room only cools by temporary skin evaporation.
Building solar panels on open space is eco-hypocrisy but I’m for them on existing built areas.
Your “sources” are Google searches. Your “arguments” are rife with strawman fallacies and unsubstantiated fluff. At least no one could mistake this for anything other than the babblegab it is. Sheesh. What a waste of hot air. (Wait, someone set up a turbine!)
No specific “sources” are needed to prove the obvious blight of these faux-green machines – beyond having the ability to do basic image and video searches. That is, unless one thinks those images and videos are fabricated like the “fake” Moon landing. I’m really just repeating the gist of the original post, which I doubt you cared to read much of.
Supporters of Big Wind have little to say in detail, since they’re stuck pretending that giant, sprawling machinery is somehow invisible or benign. They’re so obsessed with climate and energy production (endless economic growth) that the original tenets of environmentalism are ignored. They can’t see the irony that ruthless oil, gas and coal developers had that same growthist vision.