Wind and Solar Power: Not What It's Cracked Up to Be
It's not so much about protecting the environment and being efficient; it's about money for big companies and controlling what goes on in your back yard. Wind and solar are simply not practical or cost-efficient ways to generate power. Electricity has to be used at the same time it's produced. Obviously the wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine. As a result, wind and solar must be augmented by other power sources, typically from fossil fuels, and so carbon emissions are not significantly reduced.
Nonetheless, because of the perception that wind and solar are environmentally friendly, government subsidies (i.e., your money) have made establishing these power sources profitable in the short term for energy companies. However, in the long term the costs outweigh the benefits, and the energy companies leave town and you are left holding the bag.
Both wind and solar farms reduce property values. Land owners where the installations are placed do get reimbursed, but the surrounding property owners get nothing except less money whenever they sell. So they are incentivized to give into the Big Wind and Solar companies, too. It becomes a vicious race to the bottom, with our quality of life as the casualty.
Here are some other reasons wind and solar power are not right for Indiana:
- Wind farms are an eyesore - Standing at 450 feet tall, wind turbines industrialize rural landscapes.
- Wind turbines destroy valuable farmland - Farmland is affected by soil compaction, broken drain tiles, access roads across fields, and loss of topsoil in disturbed areas.
- Wind turbines are noisy - Wind turbine blades generate a low-frequency noise as well as a "swish-thump" sound, disturbing the sleep of those living near them.
- Wind turbines are bad for your health - Wind turbines cause health problems from both noise and shadow flicker. World-wide, people consistently report headaches, ringing in ears, dizziness, vertigo, memory issues, concentration problems, irritability, and depression.
- Wind turbines kill wildlife - The giant, fast moving blades kill migratory and protected birds (including eagles and other raptors) as well as bats. Bats are critical for controlling pest insects. Bats migrate, and a reduction in their population worldwide means that farmers will have to use more pesticides on their crops.
- Wind turbines are difficult to dispose of - These massive structures don't last forever, and when they are decommissioned the fiberglass blades cannot be recycled. A generation from now, our kids will face a knotty problem cutting them up, transporting them, and using up landfill capacity.
- Solar panels are very expensive - The up front costs to install solar power are very high, which is why they are heavily subsidized by our tax dollars.
- Solar farms are a poor use of land - Large solar installations cover thousands of acres of tillable farm land and cause a loss of wildlife habitat.
- Solar panels are inefficient - Solar panels just don't generate much electricity per the square acreage they take up.
- The angle to the sun makes a difference - Solar panels make less sense the further north you go. Installations in Indiana will be far less productive than those in the Southern and Southwestern parts of the country simply because of our latitude.
- Solar panels produce toxic waste - Solar panels that are cracked or damaged can leak cancer-causing cadmium and other toxic chemicals onto the ground and into the water supply.
Lastly, because of all these negative impacts, wind and solar farms are typically placed in rural areas where fewer people are affected, but that means huge transmission lines must be constructed to get the power to urban areas where more power is used, often out of state.
Check out the links at the left (or top-left from the home page for iPhone or Android users) for more info about the downsides of wind and solar generated power.