But our intentions are so good – why is this happening?



Daily Caller: wind turbines with up to a 480-year payback life

Towns all over Britain are blowing millions of dollars on wind turbines that are generating almost no revenue and will take hundreds of years to pay for themselves, reports the UK Telegraph.

The Telegraph reports that UK localities are spending hundreds of pounds installing wind turbines in an effort to boost renewable energy generation and fight global warming.

“Some turbines generate so little energy they would take hundreds of years to repay their original value” reports the Telegraph. “Experts argue that the failure of some wind turbines to recoup their value shows how small wind turbines are a poor way to generate renewable energy.”

In fact, only three out of a handful of localities that responded to the Telegraph’s inquiries had wind turbines with payback periods of less than ten years.

The locality of Eastleigh, Hampshire spent nearly $50,000 installing a wind turbine in 2005, but the inefficient turbine only generates about $21 worth of power every month — meaning the payback period on this turbine is 190 years.

In Leeds, officials spent about $102,000 on a wind turbine in 2009 at an inner city sports facility, but the turbine did not generate any power last year. In Derbyshire, a $147,000 turbine was built in 2004 but has not produced power since September 2011.

“Wind energy is an experiment, and sometimes the lessons learnt are hard and dearly bought,” Dr. John Constable, director at the Renewable Energy Foundation, told the Telegraph. “The truth is that foolishly ambitious targets and silly levels of subsidy have overheated the wind industry, resulting in defective technologies and poor installations.”

Constable added that smaller wind turbines were only expected to last up to 15 years, meaning that virtually none of the ones the Telegraph investigated would pay for themselves.

One Welsh turbine was sited in such a calm area that it only generates about $8 worth of electricity  every month — a 452-year payback period.

“If this project had been started when Elizabeth I was on the throne, it would only be reaching break-even point now, sixty years into the reign of Elizabeth II,” Jonathan Isaby, political director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told the Daily Express. “It would seem that the turbine’s installation was nothing more than an obscenely expensive vanity project, with unwitting taxpayers footing the bill.”

Here in the US the same inanity is going on, also courtesy of the taxpayer. Here’s a list of windmill projects in Massachusetts, ranging from a wind farm off Martha’s Vineyard that will dwarf the Hyannis project that has the Kennedys so worked up, to a convent’s single pole to a UMass gesture towards green. If the authorities at GHS really want their students to study alternative energy, they’d do better assigning them to study the economic benefits of these windmills, rather than dick around with a token solar installation on the gymnasium’s roof.


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8 responses to “But our intentions are so good – why is this happening?

  1. Peg

    But Christopher; it makes the True Believers FEEL so very wonderful!

    How can you put a price tag on that?! 😛

  2. Cos Cobber

    But the gratification that green wind power will maim the view from the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport is nearly infinite and certainly immediate and therefore priceless.

  3. AJ

    But they’re killing eagles faster than DDT; what’s so green about that?

  4. towny

    Manufacturing wind turbines is a jobs program for the Chinese,

  5. harrycan

    They really now cant call it a payback, can they? Unless they are assuming that an electrical device that has an expected life of maybe 15 years tops will last 40-500 years. Its insane to try.

  6. Chimney

    There is one of these just north of Logan airport in Boston, which I have never seen turn in ten years- can someone tell me what the payback time on that is?