# The Great Windmill Swindle

by John Hawkins | August 21, 2008 4:56 am

No one questions the fact that oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear power can fuel our country’s energy needs because they already do. But, what about the hot, sexy alternative power source that’s now being touted non-stop by the Left and T. Boone Pickens, wind power?

How feasible is it that wind power is really going to go from meeting far less than 1% of our current energy needs to 20% of our energy needs[1] — which would presumably allow Pickens to make back the billions he put into wind power and collect a tidy profit for his trouble?

Well, take a look at these numbers[2] and you tell me how likely wind power is to sweep the nation in the next few years,

“How many windmills does it take to meet the power needs of a typical city, much less New York City?

At www.scitizen.com, Kurt Cobb worked the numbers. Generously, he presumed the windmills would use 5-megawatt turbines – generating three times the output of a typical 1.5-megawatt turbine. He compared that with a 500-megawatt fossil-fuel (coal) power plant needed to power a city of 300,000 people. A typical power plant, he noted, would cover 300 acres, but use only 30 of those for the actual facility.

Cobb calculated it would take 233 5-megawatt wind turbines to equal the coal plant’s output, since the wind doesn’t blow constantly. Each would need to be spaced 2,065 feet away from the others (five times the diameter of their 413-foot rotors). Adding the rotor diameters to the spacing requirement equates to a 110-mile long line of windmills, half a mile in width.

It comes to 55 square miles. That’s to provide electricity for a town of 300,000 people.

New York City has 8.1 million residents. Manhattan Island totals 23 square miles. So, based on Cobb’s calculations, it would take six and a half Manhattan Islands, each covered totally with windmills, to power one-tenth of New York City. And if standard 1.5-megawatt wind turbines were used, they would take three times more space.

…Going back to Kurt Cobb’s calculations, if we wanted to meet the electric needs of 300 million Americans rather than only 300,000, we’d need a half-mile swath of windmills, each of them hundreds of feet high, 110,000 miles long, crisscrossing the continent 40 times between New York City and Los Angeles.

That’s a lot of land to condemn. The cost would be in the hundreds of billions of dollars, since each large windmill costs millions.”

The Left has been blocking drilling of 2000 acres[5] of land in ANWR, but they’re going to allow us to build enormous, ugly, noisy, bird killing windmills everywhere you look, all across the country? C’mon, how can anyone believe that?

Windmills are expensive, inefficient, take up an inordinate amount of space, and would be seldom built anywhere in the United States if there was no hope of getting the government to subsidize their construction and maintenance.

If the politicians in DC would face up to those facts instead of throwing away more taxpayer money on these windmill boondoggles just so that they can run commercials at election time bragging that they’re “green,” the whole country would be better off.

Endnotes:
1. 20% of our energy needs: http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/07/08/pickens.plan/
2. these numbers: http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=72921