But farms are good and useful – turbines are destroyers

burning wind turbine

We learned that some wind turbine greenhouse gas emissions are easily visible.

It is time to eschew the use of the term ‘wind farms’. We should expunge it from our vocabulary, strike it from every text book and exclude it from every school.

Because farms are good and useful things. They are places where natural plants and creatures are bred and nourished to maturity for the good of humanity.

You cannot farm the wind, only further agitate it

In the context of these wind turbines the word ‘farm’ is abused. To apply that gentle word to forests of these ugly, noisy and dangerous machines is a travesty of reason and mocks our language for the sole purpose of making these behemoths seem more acceptable.

The truth is you cannot farm the wind, you can only further agitate it.

Wind turbines are expensive, noisy to the point of ill-health, they kill bats and birds, they catch fire, spill gallons of burning oil and collapse, their blades break off and fly great distances, they wreck our landscapes, fill them with constant motion and destroy our natural peace. Their construction calls for lengthy access roads winding through the wilderness, large quantities of steel and concrete and rare metals from China for their high-tech magnets.

There is a good and sufficient use of wind turbines, which is as a power source far away from civilisation where the wind blows a fair bit, such as a desert island or a mountain village, a yacht at sea or Antarctica.

The only reason these turbines are installed in otherwise sensible modern communities is because the citizens are afraid that their carbon dioxide emissions are dangerously warming the climate. Once again, to be fair, let me reiterate my call for evidence of this (so far no evidence has been seen).

burning wind turbine

Wow! How does the blade catch fire?

In the absence of evidence, there is no good reason for these monstrous erections in our lovely countryside. But wait, there’s more.

Let us suppose our CO2 emissions are warming the climate and therefore we need wind turbines to reduce them. But they still don’t help. We need backup power for when the wind either drops or blows half a gale. That backup burns gas or oil or coal—sometimes it’s hydro, but not often—because that’s the only kind of generation that can be kept spinning for an instant start. So you’ve got to offset the savings from wind by the emissions of its backup, plus the construction and lifetime maintenance of them both. Why bother? Just build another gas turbine and do without the insecurity.

Remember, if you want to persuade me of the wind turbine’s true utility, it’s easy to do: just send me some evidence that our carbon dioxide emissions are dangerously warming the atmosphere.

But whatever happens I shall not allow turbines to be miscalled farms. They are not farms.

Henceforth I shall refer to a windmill as a wind generator or a wind turbine. Or of course a windmill. Where many are situated in an area I shall make those terms into the plural.

The word farm I shall reserve for farms.

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Simon
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Simon

Farms are expensive, noisy to the point of ill-health, they kill bats and birds, they catch fire, spill gallons of burning oil and collapse, they wreck our landscapes, fill them with constant motion and destroy our natural peace.

Richard C (NZ)
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Richard C (NZ)

>”Let us suppose our CO2 emissions are warming the climate…”

Then let us spend the next 25+ years attempting to prove it.

Oops, I digress. That’s the UN FCCC/IPCC. Sorry.

Richard Treadgold
Guest

To some extent what you say is true, however farms have real-world data showing fully satisfactory success over thousands of years and are not installed solely in a knee-jerk reaction to flimsy, unskilled computer models of a chaotic climate.

Richard Treadgold
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Heh, heh!

Richard C (NZ)
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Richard C (NZ)

>”Henceforth I shall refer to a windmill as a wind generator or a wind turbine.”

Windmills are individual mills or pumps driven by direct mechanical linkage to wind-driven vanes – no electricity generation involved, no generators, no turbines. They are entirely different concepts:

Windmill
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windmill
Wind Turbine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_turbine

>”Or of course a windmill”

Better, but both harness the power of wind.

Richard Treadgold
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Thanks for showing the distinction. Still, since windmill is an antique term, it brings a clear note of disparagement when applying it to a modern contrivance. So I quite like it sometimes.

Andy
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Andy

Such utter BS Simon, even by your standards.

Maybe take a drive up,the M25 between Carlyle and Glasgow sometime, and see what your “lovely windmills” have done to the environment

You really have no idea until you have been to Scotland in recent years.

Richard C (NZ)
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Richard C (NZ)

>”The word farm I shall reserve for farms.” “Farm” is either the concept of enclosure e.g.: Enclosure Acts—Great Britain 1700–1801 http://www4.uwsp.edu/english/rsirabia/notes/212/enclosureActs.pdf Or in terms of what is produced, or the contract structure: noun: farm; plural noun: farms 1. an area of land and its buildings used for growing crops and rearing animals, typically under the control of one owner or manager. synonyms: ranch, farmstead, plantation, estate, family farm, dairy farm, hobby farm; More farmland, market garden “a farm of 100 acres” the main dwelling place on a farm; a farmhouse. “a half-timbered farm” a place for breeding a particular type of animal or producing a specified crop. “a fish farm” an establishment at which something is produced or processed. “an energy farm” verb: farm; 3rd person present: farms; past tense: farmed; past participle: farmed; gerund or present participle: farming 1. make one’s living by growing crops or keeping livestock. “he has farmed organically for five years” synonyms: work the land, be a farmer, cultivate the land; rear livestock “he farmed locally” use (land) for growing crops and rearing animals, especially commercially. synonyms: cultivate, till, work, plow, dig, plant “they farm the land” breed… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)
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Richard C (NZ)

Also see the NZ dairy equivalent of sharemilking to land owner-wind operator: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharemilking Typically sharemilkers own their own cows, and will often take the herd with them when shifting between properties on “Gypsy Day”.[1] The model is not exploitative, and over time, sharemilkers often slowly buy out the landholder, or alternatively use the system as a method to save for their own property.[2] This practice helps dairy farmers anywhere who do not wish the burdens of owning their own land, as it allows them to focus their investment in livestock and equipment. Sharemilking also profits former dairy farmers who have given up their herds, by providing them with an income from rental of fields, pastures and barns. # # # In this case the land owner is not the land farmer anymore than a land owner is not a wind farmer unless he owns the wind assets. A wind farm will probably be located on marginal agricultural land (or desert) so there’s no opportunity cost to the land owner and it is an alternative use for the land that draws more revenue than agriculture (or nothing at all). But it would be daft… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)
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Richard C (NZ)

Probably worth making the distinction between wind farms and subsidy farms – different modes but rarely mutually exclusive:

[Warren Buffet] – “…. on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

Richard C (NZ)
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Richard C (NZ)

>”‘Australia’s wind turbines may stop spinning as banks foreclose’” ‘Wind Power Investors: Get Out While You Can’ Wind power companies – like any company – raise capital by borrowing (debt) or issuing shares (equity). Bankers price the risk of lending according to the likelihood that the borrower will default and, if so, the ability to recover its loan by recovering secured assets. […] Bankers have also baulked at lending to new wind power projects, keeping their cheque books firmly in the top drawer over the last 18 months or so. However, having lent $billions to wind power developers over the last 13 years, Australian banks have more than their fair share of exposure – exposure, that is, to the insolvency of the wind power company borrowing from it. Ordinarily, bankers protect themselves by holding valuable security over the assets held by the borrower (eg the mortgage you granted over your patch of paradise when you borrowed to buy it). However, the value of the security granted by a wind power company is principally tied up in the future stream of income guaranteed under its PPA with its retail customer (the true value of… Read more »

Simon
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Simon

The ‘dark satanic mills in England’s green and pleasant land’ were not windmills Andy. William Blake’s poem refers to the Industrial Revolution when flour mills were converted to steam and coal. Wind and hydro power is merely a reversion to how the UK countryside originally produced energy 😉

Richard C (NZ)
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Richard C (NZ)

Very few pure wind plays on the ASX. The Wind Index (in Component Sub-Indices) was discontinued after 2011 on the Australian CleanTech Index due to too few companies. Woeful anyway: ACT Wind Index: -40.1% FY10, -24.4% FY11 Page 5 http://www.auscleantech.com.au/PDF/index/FY14%20Annual%20Performance%20Report.pdf More interesting is Pacific Hydro owned by IFM Australian Infrastructure Fund: About Pacific Hydro Australia Pacific Hydro is a global clean energy solutions provider. Operating for over 20 years, we develop, build and operate renewable energy projects and sell electricity and carbon abatements products to customers in our chosen markets. With hydro, wind and geothermal power projects at varying stages of development, construction and operation in Australia, Brazil and Chile, our vision is to create economic, social and environmental value by being our customers’ preferred clean energy solutions provider. In Australia, we offer solutions for medium and large organisations looking for a reliable, flexible and cost-effective service to meet their electricity needs. Founded in Australia in 1992, Pacific Hydro is wholly owned by the IFM Australian Infrastructure Fund, which is managed by IFM Investors. IFM Investors is a uniquely-structured global fund manager with assets under management across infrastructure, debt investments, equities and private… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)
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Richard C (NZ)

>”The ‘dark satanic mills in England’s green and pleasant land’ were not windmills Andy.” Right. >”William Blake’s poem refers to the Industrial Revolution when flour mills were converted to steam and coal” Not necessarily (and not conversions either). ‘What were William Blake’s dark satanic mills?’ William Blake was a radical Christian, so his dark satanic mills were not the factories of the industrial revolution but the orthodox churches of the establishment. Is this true? William Blake did see a dark and satanic mill. At one time he lived in “lovely Lambeth” and every time he walked into the City of London he would have passed by the blackened and roofless shell of the Albion Flour Mills that stood for 18 years after being burned down in 1791. The site of the mill was between the present Tate Modern and Blackfriars bridge on the River Thames. The mill, only five years old when it burned down and equipped with the latest steam-powered rotary machinery, could grind wheat night and day, and hence alarmed the owners of wind- and water-powered mills in London and the south-east. Arson was suspected: it was said local millers were… Read more »

Richard C (NZ)
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Richard C (NZ)

And did those feet in ancient time [Jerusalem] From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia “Dark Satanic Mills” The phrase “dark Satanic Mills”, which entered the English language from this poem, is often interpreted as referring to the early Industrial Revolution and its destruction of nature and human relationships.[8] This view has been linked to the fate of the Albion Flour Mills, which was the first major factory in London. Designed by John Rennie and Samuel Wyatt, it was built on land purchased by Wyatt in Southwark. This rotary steam-powered flour mill by Matthew Boulton and James Watt used grinding gears by Rennie[9] to produce 6000 bushels of flour per week. The factory could have driven independent traditional millers out of business, but it was destroyed in 1791 by fire, perhaps deliberately. London’s independent millers celebrated with placards reading, “Success to the mills of ALBION but no Albion Mills.”[10] Opponents referred to the factory as satanic, and accused its owners of adulterating flour and using cheap imports at the expense of British producers. A contemporary illustration of the fire shows a devil squatting on the building.[11] The mills were a short distance from Blake’s home.… Read more »

Andy
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Andy

It does seem a bit revisionist to suggest that the UK had the equivalent of modern industrial wind turbines during the industrial revolution.

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