BigWind attacks Newsweek. Did they divert attention FROM the facts

Newsweek created quite a stir this week when AWEA ‘called them out’ for not vetting a college prof who wrote an op-ed piece about problems with wind energy. The attacks thrown at them, along with the defensive position that Newsweek has, subsequently , taken the story away from the facts. But isn’t this what BigWind is all about? Diverting you AWAY from the facts? The comments below this article are enlightening and chock full of facts. We have share some with you…

Texas prides itself on being a national leader, whether it be in barbecue, football or wind energy. That’s why when someone misguidedly attacks one of our strengths—as Randy Simmons did in an opinion article republished by Newsweek last week—as a Texan, I can’t remain silent.

Simmons’ op-ed on the “true cost of wind power” is the same tired slant we have heard from fossil fuel interests time and time again, which should come as no surprise when you learn who’s really behind the piece. Simmons lists his title as professor of political economy at Utah State University, but he doesn’t mention he is the Charles G. Koch professor of political economy. He’s also a senior fellow at the Koch– and ExxonMobil-funded Property and Environment Research Center. In other words, he works for oil companies.

So let’s expose this op-ed for what it really is: a fraudulent attempt to discredit clean, affordable wind energy and protect polluting coal plants….

Comment thread:

Kevon Martis: The author also disingenuously paints a false either/or scenario with respect to wind and fossil fuels. The truth is far different: wind energy binds ratepayers to fossil fuel generation in perpetuity, particularly gas-fired generation like that the produces more than 50% of Texas’ electricity. AWEA board member GE made that clear in testimony to the Obama White House: 

“Energy generation from renewable sources like wind and solar have zero
emissions and very low variable cost of generation. However, if flexible
generation assets, such as gas turbines, are not available, these renewable
technologies will not be deployed. In other words, gas turbines are an essential
component of renewable energy sources’ ability to penetrate the market.”

And no one knows this better than the “fossil fuel front men” that inhabit the board of the American Wind Energy Association:

Duke, E.On, AEP, Invenergy, FPL/NextEra: wall to wall fossil fuel.

That’s at least 3 strikes against this totally deceptive author….

Bruce Morgan Williams: FALSE. Recent studies by NREL, LBL, PJM, GE, and several universities have proven that we can integrate large amount of renewables and reduce fuel consumption significantly. It’s already happening. You post some political editorial BS that ignores real world data, and I post links to in-depth industry studies by grid operators.
You are either a Rube of a Shill (If you’re not sure, you’re a Rube)

Kevon Martis: Bruce Morgan Williams Actually the quote is from GE. You do know they are the biggest US wind turbine manufacturer and an AWEA board member? And the PJM study stipulates billions of dollars of new gas-fired generation right up front.

And it was done by GE as well.

The NEWIS study for ISO-NE (also by GE) says the same thing: gas is needed to integrate wind.

And NERC is saying the same thing about CAISO: Assessments DL/NERC-CAISO_VG_Assessment_Final.pdf

Now show me where I posted editorial BS Bruce.

“Generating electricity from renewable energy rather than fossil fuels offers significant public health benefits. The air and water pollution emitted by coal plants is linked to breathing problems, neurological damage, heart attacks, and cancer. Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy has been found to reduce premature mortality and lost workdays, and it reduces overall healthcare costs.”

Here is another whopper.

Notice how this quote conflates “coal” with “fossil fuels” and health impacts?

Here is the deceptive part: the alleged health impacts from coal emissions are derived from PM2.5 and/or Hg emissions. But natural gas-a fossil fuel- emits essentially none of those.

This author appears to be determined to deceive his audience at every turn….

Interesting that the wind promoters have decided to talk about water use in the generation sector as if reducing that use would end droughts.


“When talking about water for power generation, two important terms must be explained and understood: water use and water consumption, said Dr. Susan Stuver, research scientist with the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR) and Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI).

“If you’re using water and putting it back where it came from, it’s water use,” Stuver said. “A power plant is not consuming millions of gallons; it just needs (the water) once and then puts it back, and keeps using the same water over and over again.

“Water is drawn from the reservoir, used to cool the power plant and is then returned to the reservoir where it can therefore be used for other activities such as habitat for wildlife or recreation.”...

The problem is that wind energy costs at least $80/MWh to produce and often much more in many markets yet can only save $25-35/MWh of coal or gas fuel costs. In the meantime it is reducing the profitability of existing dispatchable power plants which normally would be fine if wind were a replacement technology for coal or gas generators. But it is not. Wind energy has a parasite/host relationship with primarily gas fired generators and when the parasite siphons off enough of the revenue stream of it’s requisite host it either dies-thus killing wind too-or the host demands new revenue removed from energy sales to keep it alive and the grid stable. That is a poor economic construct.

John Thomas Jordan Jr: Sorry not buying in. I don’t have a problem subsidizing renewable resources of any kind, we already subsidize traditional energy directly and indirectly. I also don’t have a problem with using all the above. As we develop more and better means of storage which won’t happen if there is no demand the reliance on other types of energy will shrink and the market will determine who is the ultimate winner.

Kevon Martis: John Thomas Jordan Jr. I see you are a union guy. Consider this: the steel industry spends $18 billion per year on electricity. They employ 100,000 people who are largely union. A 10% increase in the price of electricity takes $18,000/employee/year off the table for fringes and benefits. Wind energy’s wholesale PPA price is typically 80-120% higher than the wholesale value of electricity in most markets. Good luck with that next pay raise…

David Davila:  live in the Banning Pass, where wind power has been for decades. I really wish those that support it take a very close look at the existing farms here. Many are obsolete and don’t even work. They can’t be upgraded easily, all foundations, structures and wiring must be removed before an upgrade, that’s why many owners just walk away and abandon them. Many leak oil like a sieve that blows all over the desert. I also read these articles and wonder whether the authors ever calculate the energy deficit that they start with. +/- 5 tons of copper, +/- 80 tons of steel and +/- 150 gallons of oil and there are many other materials need as well that increase that consumption of energy before they produce a single watt. These materials were not mined, created or smelted using wind power. The authors do not even mentioning scraping vast amounts of pristine desert, local wildlife be damned. Want a permit for a large construction project? Good luck. Want one for a wind or solar farm and they can’t write them fast enough. Nice job looking at numbers and linking to them, horrible job taking all factors into account…

The True Benefits of Wind Power.