Jon Boone pans “Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Class, Politics, and the Battle for Our Energy Future on Nantucket Sound.”  – Gas Market and Alternative energy sources offers a very positive review of “Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Class, Politics, and the Battle for Our Energy Future on Nantucket Sound.”  Calling it an “acidly funny account of the battle over an offshore wind farm” the reviewer seems to enjoy that it challenges “the privileges of some of America’s richest and most politically connected people, and they would fight him tooth and nail, no matter what it cost, and even when it made no sense.”  Perhaps telling of the reviewer’s leaning is this closing comment, “it is also a cautionary tale about how money can hijack democracy while America lags behind the rest of the developed world in adopting clean energy.”

Jon Boone’s comment to the post differs greatly with the reviewer:  “Massive industrial wind technology generates very little energy relative to demand, virtually no capacity, and requires accompaniment from reliable conventional generation such that wind technology cannot displace meaningful levels of carbon emissions within a power grid. The gargantuan wind turbines proposed for the Cape Wind project collectively would provide the New England electricity grid with less than 1% of its annual installed capacity, producing only sporadic, highly variable energy at times of least demand, virtually no energy at peak demand times, while increasing the instability of the grid’s equilibrium between supply and demand, forcing conventional generators to follow and balance this instability inefficiently. The writers, who clearly know little about the way modern power grids produce reliable, secure electricity at reasonable costs, blithely accept the false wind industry propaganda about the number of homes Cape Wind would serve, as if an unpredictably intermittent and extremely volatile energy source could really do this. They fail to mention that the huge public subsidies for the industry, by far the highest of any industrial source of electrical energy, are not indexed to any reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. If they were, the wind industry would simply wither away.

The United States increases its demand for electricity around 2% annually. Many new reliable conventional plants will be needed in the next 30 years. The subsidies for each will encourage efficient, dependable, cost effective electricity. The subsidies for dysfunctional industrial wind energy, which can provide virtually no capacity to the system and can deliver at best only sporadic energy, will be used to make inefficient and uneconomical technology falsely appear to be efficient and economical.

There has been no independent scientific substantiation of system-wide carbon emissions abatement due to wind technology anywhere in the world. Germany, with nearly 20,000 installed wind turbines, last year increased its annual carbon emissions by . 6%. California’s nearly 14,000 turbines provided virtually no energy to the grid during last summer’s torrid heat wave, while that state’s carbon emission’s yield continues to expand 2% annually. Volatile wind energy cannot be loosed on the grid by itself; it must be accompanied by reliable conventional generation. As such, it can only be considered one ingredient in a fuel mix. If the other ingredient is hydro, wind can indeed be considered clean. But since hydro plants are so environmentally threatening, they cannot be considered “green. ” If wind is accompanied by fossil fueled generation, which is overwhelmingly likely, it can neither be considered clean nor green.

The real NIMBY’s here are the wind developers themselves, few of whom, if any, would reside near such monstrous facilities. There is also the neocolonialism involved with most wind projects, with distant capital exploiting the people and resources of rural areas with technology that would not be permitted in more energy-intense suburbia.

Williams and Whitcomb have produced another Kennedy-bashing potboiler. But it’s really a bagatelle, for they use a soak-the-rich theme to disguise how little they know about what should be their real subject, which is: can the developers of Cape Wind scientifically substantiate their major claims of reducing carbon emissions, making the air cleaner, improving public healrth, and backing down the coal industry? If they had genuinely examined this subject, the authors would have discovered how Enronesque wind technology is, how it delivers virtually no meaningful product or service yet is so extensively subsidized by rate and tax payers, claiming to protect the environment while in actuality wrecking it. As such, the technology represents one of the great bunko schemes of our era, defrauding both the public and bilking consumers who believe they’re getting green electricity.

So, should you decide to buy and read the book, we would recommend you take what you read with the large shaker of salt Mr. Boone has placed before you.

You may also wish to visit Mr. Boone’s excellent site, Stop Ill Wind, to better understand the reality of industrial wind.

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