In part 1, I mentioned the millions of birds and bats sliced up by wind turbine blades. I should have mentioned the insects too, which all perish under the whirling blades. For the sea built turbines, crabs are immobilised and crayfish (lobsters), are born deformed. In NZ we have the tourist attraction called the Kaikoura whale watch. Visitors go out to sea in boats run by the tourist company, and view whales frolicking about. Along the East coast of the United States there is also a booming tourist industry of whale watching. The difference is that all the whales being watched are dead, washed up on the shore after dying from the effects of the construction of offshore wind turbines. In fact, 72 whales have died on the east coast in a year. These are all large whales. Many are North Atlantic right whales of which there are only 340 left.
There is now growing concern about the same whales in Australia. Scientists have warned about the extinction of the species. The preparation- the mapping of the ocean floor with sonar is so loud, it is actually in violation of the regulations by the US government. It separates the mothers from their calves and sends the whales into boat traffic, and boat traffic is increasing with the production of more turbines. The east coast is sensitive as the waters around the coast are shallow. But the governments and the greenies say it is clean, this is green and has no impact. The march to net zero continues and whales be damned.
Sperm Whales washed ashore on the US East coast
I have mentioned the birds killed by wind turbines and among them the bald eagles and the golden eagles. These are protected species except for those involved with wind farms. The providers and owners of wind farms have been given dispensation by the US govt., to damage or kill these birds without any repercussions. Now In the USA, the Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits harming whales unless permission is granted from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). But companies can request Incidental Harassment Authorisations, which is effectively a license to harm, harass or even kill whales. With this license there are no legal consequences. Since 2017 over 7000 permissions have been given to wind companies. The question is will the same permission be given here?
What about wind turbine fires? Wind turbines may catch fire ten times more often than what is publically reported. Imperial College London argues that just 10% of all wind farm accidents are typically reported. They consider that there are about 120 turbine fires every year. Fires tend to be catastrophic , leading to turbines worth more than $4-$5 million being written off. Turbines are prone to catching fire because oil and plastics are placed in close proximity to each other, and to electrical wires and machinery . Wind can fan a fire inside a turbine. Because of the height of a turbine it is virtually impossible to fight the fire. Unfortunately, burning debris may fall on surrounding vegetation and start forest fires or cause serious damage to property. The wind industry body , Renewable UK, has admitted that there were 1,500 wind farm accidents in the UK alone between 2006 and 2010 but only 142 individual accidents were documented By the Windfarm Information Forum. Hence it does seem only about 10% of all windfarm accidents are reported.
The staggering rise of turbine fires and total turbine collapse has caused insurers to ramp up the premiums. Neighbours are getting sick of being covered in thick palls of toxic smoke when these things burst into flames. They are now demanding protection from raging wind turbine fires. If flying chunks of burning toxic plastics and molten metals are not enough to contend with, neighbours have also been dodging whole blades and chunks off them. Shards of blades have been documented travelling up to two km after shearing off, with turbine fires also presenting a risk to nearby buildings from flying debris. Some countries are now proposing a 4km buffer zone for safety and health reasons.
Australians are concerned about wind turbines starting a bushfire. A single spark can turn the countryside into a raging inferno, destroying homes, sheds machinery, fences and putting livestock native animals and humans at great risk.
The demand for “green” energy is causing environmental destruction due to the demand for rare earth minerals. Solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles all depend on a group of minerals known as rare earths as well as mountains of copper and cobalt. Unfortunately, mining’s toxic by-products are seeping into the water during the processing of these minerals. The minerals certainly have become rare of late with the insatiable appetite for the “feelgood “ electricity generated by sunshine and breezes stored in Lithium batteries and the virtuous driving their electric vehicles. In the third world countries the environment doesn’t rate a mention. Tens of millions of people are now exposed to water runoff from metal mining. Researchers have found that 23 million people world-wide, as well as 5.72 million of livestock , over 16 million acres of irrigated farmland and over 300,000 miles of rivers have been contaminated by mining’s toxic by-products seeping into the water. This metal mining includes many so called rare- earth elements essential to the manufacture of high tech electronics, solar cells, wind turbines and all the batteries needed to store sustainable “green” energy as well as power electric vehicles and phones. North and South America, and Asia were singled out as being the most affected. Below is pond full of toxic substances from metal mining.
Intermittent wind and solar are a natural guarantee of grid chaos and rocketing power prices. Every single country that has chased the wind and solar pipe dream has watched their power prices go through the roof, with no exceptions. So what is the problem? It’s simple really. When the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow there is now power output. When the wind and solar output collapses then power generators control the power market. If this drive to so called renewable energy persists there will be a hike in taxes, jobs will be lost in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors and the cost of living will rise.
On the third of May 2022, when the sun went down and there was no wind in Eastern Australia, consumers had to grapple with sky high energy prices with energy prices spiking 10,000% The burden was then put on the state owned coal fired power stations to rapidly fill the gap left by the renewable. The result was the cost to consumers was a huge 100 Million dollars in a mere hour.
When the wind and the sun are producing power the electricity is fed straight into the grid. So the other generators like coal and gas are forced to scale down so as not to overload the grid. The gas and coal generators carry the cost of scaling down. They were never supposed to fill this task. However, when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining, the gas and coal fired power stations are forced to rapidly scale up to keep the lights on. This is expensive and once again they are doing what they were never designed to do. All these extra costs are passed on to the consumer. In NZ, our one lone coal fired power station has been shut down. So there is no fall back.
Since January 2021, 31 British energy retailers have ceased trading because customers cannot pay their bills. With millions of households facing “fuel stress,” U.K. domestic politics has shifted focus from climate change to energy security. Headlines about rising cost are overwhelming the usual headlines on climate change, and politicians are following suit. Consequently, the last IPCC report failed to make a splash. The reality is that families have to have food and warmth.
Net Zero is in fact a Trojan horse. It is a puritan agenda masquerading as environmentalism. The quest to achieve net zero will massively increase to uptake of wind and solar, ( requiring raw materials, land, and transmission lines.), reduce exploration, development and consumption of fossil fuels.
In New Zealand it is difficult to understand why these wind and solar monstrosities are being built. We have a perfectly good hydro system which works well 24/7. We have suitable rivers on which more hydro schemes could be built. But then the greenies would find some insect in the way of the scheme and their vigorous protests would stop a new hydro being built . Ironic isn’t it, they don’t give a damn about all the birds and bats, and now whales killed by wind turbines.
Eventually when we run out of hydro power the way forward is clearly nuclear. Modern nuclear power stations are safe and now there is the choice of small modular units too. New Zealand has to get over its non-nuclear stance and move ahead. Here is a typical headline:
Atomic Attraction: Wind Power’s Abject Failure Forces Europe to Embrace Nuclear Power
Nuclear power doesn’t depend on the weather, it doesn’t require batteries and it doesn’t require back-up, and it doesn’t depend on the whims of despots and cartels that control rare earths and minerals essential for the construction of wind turbines and solar panels. Uranium the highly concentrated energy source at its heart, is abundant and readily extracted.
Russia and China have long been ahead of the curve when it comes to capturing the benefits of safe, reliable and affordable nuclear power. The USA meanwhile has dropped the ball on nuclear power generation, instead, being driven into the ground by ideologues and Zealots. Russia and China are now leading the world in Nuclear power generation. Power security is becoming an important issue.
Much to the horror of wind and solar acolytes, a growing number of EU members are ready to declare nuclear power is not only clean and green but wholly sustainable. Wind and Solar-obsessed Germans and the British are watching power prices go into orbit and the pro-renewables camp has been forced to grapple with months-long wind droughts when so called green energy could not be bought at any price. French president Macron made it clear that France would invest heavily in their existing nuclear plants and build 14 next generation plants that would together provide France with over 70% of its power needs.
Finland’s Greens are giving the thumbs up to Nuclear also. While Germany recklessly continues to reject nuclear power, Finland welcomes it. Finland is satisfied with the EU decision to classify nuclear energy as sustainable. The EU has also drawn up plans to label some natural gas plants as green investments. The Swedes have joined the Finns in a nuclear power renaissance.
The fate of this EU proposal remains unknown, but the handwriting is on the wall. The “green” dream of an economy powered exclusively or even mostly by wind and solar energy is impossible, not because of a lack of political will, but because of the laws of physics. The end of this story has already been written. The question is how much wealth will be destroyed before the greenies admit their dreams have turned to nightmares.
The question for New Zealand is whether the new Government will take heed of what is happening overseas. We need to stop the building of these wind and solar monstrosities immediately. If we do need more power, then invest in another hydro station in the meantime. We need to get over our out dated anti-nuclear stance. In time, we shall have nuclear fusion and that will be the way forward.
Finally, who will take responsibility of removing wind and solar farms at the end of their life or when nuclear takes over? Where do we put all the toxic materials they are made of?
Ian Bradford, a science graduate, is a former teacher, lawyer, farmer and keen sportsman, who is writing a book about the fraud of anthropogenic climate change.