Why Wind Power is a Sham

Picture: JMT (PD)

Via Root Force:

A series of recently released studies make it clear that wind power is not going to save us—not from global warming, not from high extinction rates, and not from the system of high-energy-consumption industrial exploitation that is killing the planet.

Let’s start with the most damning findings: even the most large-scale shift to wind power cannot slow greenhouse gas emissions enough to have any positive effect on the climate, although it may manage to make things worse. Why?

A study published in Nature Climate Change in September found that although hypothetically there is enough power in the earth’s winds to sustain current levels of energy consumption, in practice you could never harvest enough energy from wind to affect the climate:

Turbines create drag, or resistance, which removes momentum from the winds and tends to slow them. As the number of wind turbines increases, the amount of energy that is generated increases. But at some point, the winds would be slowed so much that adding more turbines will not generate more electricity. …

[T]he study found that the climate effects of extracting wind energy at the level of current global demand would be small, as long as the turbines were spread out and not clustered in just a few regions. At the level of global energy demand, wind turbines might affect surface temperatures by about 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit and affect precipitation by about 1 percent. Overall, the environmental impacts would not be substantial. (emphasis added)

Another study, published in Nature last month, found that wind farms being constructed in Scotland actually lead to a net increase in carbon dioxide emissions:

Wind farms are typically built on upland sites, where peat soil is common. In Scotland alone, two thirds of all planned onshore wind development is on peatland. England and Wales also have large numbers of current or proposed peatland wind farms.

But peat is also a massive store of carbon, described as Europe’s equivalent of the tropical rainforest. Peat bogs contain and absorb carbon in the same way as trees and plants — but in much higher quantities.

British peatland stores at least 3.2 billion tons of carbon, making it by far the country’s most important carbon sink and among the most important in the world.

Wind farms, and the miles of new roads and tracks needed to service them, damage or destroy the peat and cause significant loss of carbon to the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate change. …

Richard Lindsay of the University of East London, said … “The world’s peatlands have four times the amount of carbon than all the world’s rainforests. But they are a Cinderella habitat, completely invisible to decision- makers.”

Read more here.

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  • Anarchy Pony

    We’re dealing with a whole bag of ifs and buts here. First of all, large scale industrial civilization must die, we shouldn’t be trying to save it. So the level of power generation necessary to save it is a moot point. Next, if we aren’t trying to save it, the massive wind farms are not necessary. Small scale local generation from small windmills, which are far less dangerous to birds, and hopefully vertical axis windmills which catch wind from any direction without changing orientation, should be able to provide a semi stable and fairly useful supply of electrical power, that can be used for electric light, heaters, and other utilitarian and simple electrical devices.

    • VaudeVillain

      I found one thing you said to be… troubling.

      “First of all, large scale industrial civilization must die, we shouldn’t be trying to save it.”

      At first blush, my concern here is that this means that people are going to die prematurely. A lot of people, and most of them are relatively innocent. Perhaps you do not think this is necessary, or you feel that it is an acceptable cost. Either way, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on that.

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        I always thought of it less as a necessary imperative, but an unstoppable inevitability. Its less of a morality issue.

        • Rhoid Rager

          In this case, it seems like morality and human destiny are naturally aligned on the axis of thermodynamic complexity. .

      • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

        The dominant culture doesn’t have an energy problem. It has a Power problem.

        Loads of people are dying right now because of the normal operation of industrial civilization. Economic privation across whole continents starves in droves. War ravages through regions with resources that empire needs to stave of collapse for a historical moment. Ecologies and vital resources are irreversibly despoiled to feed an insatiable hunger and to catch a despicable flood of waste. These aren’t flaws of this system; they’re defining features.

        Will the denizens of the heartland endure famine if the system falters? Surely. Should we keep it in place for that reason? Fortunately for everyone not utterly dependent on its usurpations, we can’t.

      • jackson bawer

        It means he’s a Progenda 21 Nazi, who is betting against all of humanity.

        Basically saying “I hope you all die tomorrow so I can live alone in a cave, which will somehow have electricity”

        • Anarchy Pony

          Yes, that’s exactly right. I’m betting against all of humanity, and not those that are destroying the habitability of our only known life supporting planet. You sure have brilliant insights, I bet you’re a star at Big Government.

      • jnana

        Perhaps, he’s not saying people have to die, but the structure of civilization we’re enmeshed in has to go, or else people and the earth will suffer.
        How many other animals do you know that can question their society?

    • The Well Dressed Man

      “large scale industrial civilization must die” – I used to feel that way. I still see collapse as the “nuclear option” if our species can’t get our shit together. I agree time is running out, but that it’s not too late for modernism. Getting sustainable energy up and running is absolutely a large scale industry. Solar, wind, geo, hydro, and biomass all have pros and cons, and can only really work in tandem. A unified, large scale, engineered system CAN replace fossil fuels today. We have the technology, it’s just a matter of implementation.

      • Anarchy Pony

        When I say the industrial civilization must die It’s more than a matter of infrastructure. It’s a matter of culture, of values, of equality and hierarchy. The techno-fix does not change the social or mental problems of society, only the physical, and even then, it usually benefits few at the expense of many. Will clean energy make the employer stop exploiting the employee? Will it make the rent seekers stop extorting rent from the renters? Will it make the nation state stop exterminating or extirpating the stateless indigenous? It’s not just about the collapse or replacement of the industrial capitalist infrastructure, it’s about eliminating the culture of exploitation, of the profit motive, of institutional hierarchy.

        • The Well Dressed Man

          We can’t have wind turbines because exploitation? I thought we were talking about sustainable energy. Rereading your original post and reply suggests that you’re not interested in implementing solutions to specific problems, and implies that your grand unified fix is “smash the system” and start over from scratch. I fail to see how a “techno-fix” has any impact on the ethics of capitalist exploitation one way or another. I also fail to see how giving up on technology would have any impact on these same questions of exploitation and ethics. We were exploiting and enslaving each other long before we started building machines.

          • Anarchy Pony

            Thanks for putting words in my mouth, and missing the point.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            If you can find it in your heart to forgive me for being so dense as to get it all wrong, would you please help me understand your point? How does using tech to solve problems have any effect on human morality or our lack thereof?

          • Jin The Ninja

            “How does using tech to solve problems have any effect on human morality or our lack thereof?”

            really your question should read,
            ” how does using technology to [increase/dominate marketshare] have any effect on human morality…”

            now ask yourself that question, and the answer should come to you.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            *****
            really your question should read,
            ” how does using technology to [increase/dominate marketshare] have any effect on human morality…”
            *****
            Jin The Ninja, that’s a classic attempt at deceptive argument known as false equivalence. “solve problems” is not the same as “increase/dominate marketshare,” unless you seriously believe that technology is inherently evil. I’m beginning to wonder if that’s what’s going on in this discussion as it spins further off into weirdness.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            “solve the problems” is problematically vague in such a way that leads to fallacies in your thinking. Just because jin tried to clarify it to answer your question does not make for a fallacy however.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            To me “solve problems” is perfectly clear – dirty energy bad, renewable energy good.
            I began constructing a rebuttal, and I think I figured out what might be getting lost in translation….

            If I use a screwdriver(technology) to tighten a loose light fixture(problem) how is that the same as using that same screwdriver to murder my business rival(increase market share)?

            I see how from a certain point of view there’s an equivalence.

            Kind of reminds me of this Portlandia episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZPt-X6RPGY

          • Jin The Ninja

            i am not a luddite, but i believe technology can be used and is often used and created for insidious purposes. i believe in a holistic and responsible use of technology, not a reliance on it.

            in fact, it is not a ‘false equivalence’ – it is a pragmatic view- we live in a culture dominated by the market, by profit, by corporate and state enterprise (often in collusion, partnership).

            if we continue to rely on external entities to solve the problems that have arisen from industrial civilization- we will only perpetuate industrial civilization and the structures of hierarchy and oppression.

            that’s not what i am interested in.

  • yhnukas

    I love Disinfo but this article is bullsht and not just because I grew up in a exclusively solar and wind powered house. This article is bullsht because is give us the false choice of 100% wind power, which is impossible. What is realistic is a combination of renewable energy resources. I am reminded of Japan after the Fukashima disaster and how they were relying on wind power for most of what little power they had.
    Also, Wind turbines slowing down the wind?! What about trees? Should we cut down all the red wood forests because they are blocking the wind?
    I smell Big Coal funding in this article.

    • Matt Staggs

      Hey yhnukas, thanks for joining the conversation! Very good points, and I suspect that a lot of other people will chime in pretty soon. Contributor “Good German” is always dependable for a very wide range of opinions – as I always hope to say about the site in general. Stick around and make yourself at home!

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        gooble gobble gooble gobble one-of-us — one-of-us
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBXyB7niEc0

        • Rhoid Rager

          I’ll be the bearded lady!

          • Calypso_1

            You likes argan oil too?

          • Rhoid Rager

            If I can grow it, I like it. ;)

          • Calypso_1

            If you can grow argan make sure you get the goats too.

          • Rhoid Rager

            What a great pic!

      • David Howe

        “a wide range of opinions” – Dr. Oz and Oprah make the same excuse when they promote magic and woo. Get yourself some integrity.

        • Matt Staggs

          David, if you’re not happy with the content here then you’re more than welcome to submit your own material for consideration. I’ve found a number of excellent writers this way. If you’re unable to submit work and can’t add anything to the conversation beyond petty sniping every time you read something that upsets you then I strongly encourage you to find another place to be. I won’t have you pissing in the pool.

          • Guest

            can’t take a little criticism about your content, huh?

          • Matt Staggs

            So I take it that’s a no on submitting content, “guest”? Let me know if you change your mind.

        • Jin The Ninja

          hate oprah, but doc oz actually gives good advise to plebs don’t know anything about alt medicine. i’d hardly call what he says ‘woo woo.’ unless argan and coconut oil is somehow a great occult conspiracy.

          • Matt Staggs

            “Woo woo” is a great way to dismiss anything out of hand that you don’t understand or maybe threatens your existing opinions.

          • echar

            It’s also a word that a person can make money on, just like snake oil, homeopath pills, etc. :)

          • Matt Staggs

            Indeed!

          • Calypso_1

            argan oil is an AFRICOM conspiracy.

          • Jin The Ninja

            but great for those of us with brown and olive complexions:P

          • Calypso_1

            & for the anointing of bearded ones.

          • Jin The Ninja

            well i have as much a beard as i possibly can- much more amounts to hipster fuzz.

          • Matt Staggs

            My wife was talking about argan oil last night, and I kept thinking she was saying “argon” oil. I was getting worried about radiation.

          • Jin The Ninja

            not to go so off topic, but it really is an amazing substance. let her buy it!

          • Matt Staggs

            There’s no “let” with that woman, ha ha!

          • Calypso_1

            Should have been more worried about dark matter.

        • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

          It is nice to know what other people are thinking so you can better argue with them. Know thine enemy and all that jazz.

    • jackson bawer

      Not to mention wind is created by the sun, and blocked by trees anyway.
      Then add in the fact that somehow removing peat moss, would somehow add carbon to the atmosphere.

      Then the author fails to mention carbon is NECESSARY FOR ALL LIFE ON THIS PLANET.

      • Anarchy Pony

        Jesus christ. Go vomit your ignorant bullshit at one of breitcorpse’s sites.

    • BuzzCoastin

      > I smell Big Coal funding in this article.

      close, it was the DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
      and you’ve made a great point that this article hopes to obscure
      you grew-up in an off the grid environment
      something Uncle Homeland would really like to prevent going mainstream

      • CB

        Sounds about right to me. Anyone who thinks any number of windmills would be able to exhaust the amount of energy in the atmosphere fails to understand just how enormous the atmosphere actually is…

        … and anyone whinging about CO2 emissions from building windmills in peat bogs fails to understand just how much CO2 is emitted by the coal plants those windmills replace.

        I thought this site was supposed to be about exposing disinformation, not promoting it…

        • BuzzCoastin

          > I thought this site was supposed to be about exposing disinformation, not promoting it

          all information is disinformation
          unless you find it personally useful

          you rarely see stories about
          people who live off the grid successfully
          people who are self-sufficient
          or how to accomplish the above and more

          that windmill story didn’t help anyone
          except the people who funded it

          • CB

            I wouldn’t say that’s true. There are plenty of things I wouldn’t find particularly useful that I wouldn’t say are disinformation, and even though the article benefitted someone’s extremely short-sighted short-term interests, I’d still say it was disinformation.

            My objective standard would be whether an article were true or not.

            Suggesting windmills are going to use up the energy in the atmosphere or that building windmills creates more carbon than not building windmills is false… and it’s not even a good lie, it’s just stupid.

            lol! … and then to jump from there to “wind power is a sham”… how idiotic…

            I think the eco-homesteaders do better with solar than wind anyhow… You have to go big with wind to get the most bang for your buck. PV is more forgiving.

        • Calypso_1

          how do you differentiate between exposing & promotion?
          The community.
          And it is the community that submits the articles as well.
          consider the possibility that your attribution may be off base.
          Consider the possibility that the mere linking of an article to a site like this & its community does more to discredit the idea than it does to promote it.

          • CB

            lol! Yeah, you may be right.

            I followed a skeptic here, so I was surprised to find the conspiracy theory… still not sure what the focus is.

          • Calypso_1

            You know those magic eye puzzles?

            Try not to focus too hard.

            You’ve already figured out a key factor: Laugh – mercilessly.

            Inebriants of your own choosing are optional though well met with many a sojourner on strange & perhaps stranger pathways.

    • David Howe

      I was just thinking the same thing. But that’s what Disinfo does. They publish questionable crap and hope that people will drive traffic to their site.

      • LucidDreamR

        Pretty sure nobody is forcing you to be here… Since you clearly do not like the site, why don’t you go elsewhere and we can all be a bit happier? The whole point of this site is to bring forth ideas that may spur discussion, which this article clearly has. The rest of us here are able to entertain ideas without accepting them; the sign of a truly educated mind. Since this seems beyond your capabilities, why even attempt to run with the big dogs?

      • bobbiethejean

        Yeah, pretty much. There is a lot of interesting and useful information here too. It’s really just a matter of chipping through all the gangue for those one or two article-gems in which they’re not trying to sell you some absurd conspiracy theory or outright nonsense.

        • Matt Staggs

          Eclecticism of content shouldn’t be construed as part of an attempt to sell you on anything. I try to think of this place as a buffet or a rummage sale. Keep digging around – there’s a little something for everyone. What’s great to me is that no matter what goes to post, there’s someone who is bound to get annoyed or say it doesn’t belong here. It’s a positive because it implies a sense of ownership, although it can get a little tedious at times. There are plenty of websites that provide one specific perspective on various topics. I don’t want this to be one of them, no matter how badly David wishes it to be.

          • bobbiethejean

            I absolutely applaud eclecticism; it is something I could almost say is a value that I hold to or a virtue that I live by. My tastes in music are eclectic, my tastes in art are eclectic, my tastes in people are eclectic…. I could go on. I am a very eclectic person and that certainly extends to my interests in news which is actually one of the reasons I continue to frequent this site despite its occasionally frustrating patronage of religious zealots, credules, ignorants, woo-woo peddlers, and overt bombasts *cough* (she said from the comfort of her luxurious, glass house).

            However………. I’m not going to pretend I don’t think this site could possibly, perhaps, perchance consider thinking about instituting stricter standards concerning what articles it publishes. I mean……. quantum bigfoots? Really?

          • Calypso_1

            Eclectic crypsis quorum sensoria quantified foot falls on value state over rating really means thinking chance tends to taste like intersting people.

          • bobbiethejean

            *Starts quantuming* Uh, ohes. I’m quantuming. You better stop me. Soon I might even start bigfooting. Then we’ll REALLY be in trouble. :O

          • Calypso_1

            It works best when you think about a special happy place .

          • Matt Staggs

            Quantum Bigfoots and other madness are part of the secret sauce, and I think that kind of weirdness ensures that we keep an extremely diverse audience. There are a lot of good sites that offer one kind of content and a defined perspective on matters political, scientific and cultural, and I’m a huge fan of them, but they tend to attract only one kind of audience and conversation to a greater or lesser degree becomes an echo chamber. I’d be bored out of my mind if this place turned into one of them, and I think (as much as you enjoy debating) you would be too. ;)

    • The Well Dressed Man

      I just poked around rootforce.org, and this all makes a lot more sense. They claim to be an antiglobalization group intent on forcing change by undermining global infrastructure. Taken at face value, it makes sense why they would come out against any new energy source. Thus “Why WInd Power is a Sham” certainly appears to be an agitprop hit piece, and some of the shrill supporting rhetoric on this forum could certainly be a case of “The first rule of Project Mayhem is you do not ask questions!”

      • yhnukas

        Um spreading the same lies as big coal is not undermining the infrastructure it is attempting to keep the status quo of consumption that may have already destroyed our planet. Don’t quote big hollywood brad pitt movies to me.

        • The Well Dressed Man

          Dude I wasn’t quoting fight club to support these guys… I was pointing out that they are misguided.
          edit- made some words less mean

          • yhnukas

            ok now I understand, thanks

          • The Well Dressed Man

            Sorry for not being more clear. Confession: I posted my comment as a reply to you because you have the top post :)

  • Aipeed Teaitchse

    Having your facts straight is a very important element to this game we’ve all been born into. Nevertheless, it’s good to be conscious of the bullshit elements as well because they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s easy to forget that there are a lot of misinformed people swimming in this bullshit propaganda matrix world who would find the conceptual goal of reducing our overall energy consumption as a species and reducing our dependence on centralized energy suppliers to be just as jarring as the points in this bullshit article seem to the well informed. This is genuine disinformation so thank you to the people in charge for posting and thus forcing a critical thought exercise from the enlightened fans of the site. True initiation never ends.

  • Richard

    This article seems to be a whole load of poorly constructed disinformation intended to confuse the debate. It feels like anti renewable propaganda masquerading as a genuinely alternative viewpoint. I suspect more of a sham in the article than in wind power.

    To suggest that building roads to wind power station sites across peat bogs would damage their potential as a carbon sink is ridiculous.

    No, we may not be able to replace all power generation with wind power, but that’s not the idea is it? The idea is to reduce the amount of reliance we place on fossil fuels wherever possible and consume less as we go along.

    So waves might break wind turbines. A minor reduction in power generation is hardly as scary as a meltdown at a nuclear power station is it?

    Oh and a Golden Eagle got killed? 1 Golden Eagle? I bet we’d save more of these birds if more was done to prevent the deaths of the hundreds that are deliberately shot or poisoned.

    • Reasor

      Or the wide scale slaughter human slaughter that emerges when competing petroleum lobbies jockey for control over the oil fields through their respective wholly owned governments.

  • Tchoutoye

    “But at some point, the winds would be slowed so much that adding more turbines will not generate more electricity.”

    This is a clear case of argumentum ad absurdum. A purely theoretical scenario, as no one has ever suggested to build so many wind turbines.

  • Dan Muench

    This article is brought to you by Solar Warming Denial.

  • echar

    What about Aeroctecture International and their aeroturbines?

    http://www.aerotecture.com/products.html

    • echar
      • kowalityjesus

        This looks like its from 2003. It seems like I run into a “revolutionary” renewable energy source about every month. I have become increasingly disillusioned, either by the extremely short attention span and hubristic upsellling in this sector, or by the contrived forces which keep this kind of thing from proliferating and becoming visible.

        • Rhoid Rager

          Stirling heat engines are pretty low-tech and highly efficient. They’ve been around for over 100 years. They can be designed to provide mechnical and/or electric power from the sun’s thermal radiation.

        • echar

          These use air from all directions, and do not need high wind speeds. Making them applicable to urban settings. Have faith Jesus!

  • The Well Dressed Man

    At some point disinfo.com seems to have crossed into spreading actual disinformation. This article is biased. Wind power has advantages and disadvantages. On it’s own, it’s limited. As part of a smart grid, working in tandem with hydro, solar, and geo energy, wind power is of great benefit. For an interesting take on improving wind energy, check out makani power, an engineering startup with big ideas: http://www.makanipower.com/

    • kowalityjesus

      doesn’t stop us from noticing… as soon as your comments get deleted let me know

    • David Howe

      they publish some interesting things all the time, but this posting is an example of completely losing their shit. there’s already ready some very “convincing” rationalizing rhetoric from the moderator. In this case; it appears that almost no one has fallen for it. The goal is not to spread information but to drive traffic to sell DishTV, underpants, and American Express cards. Disinformation in the service of consumption!

  • BuzzCoastin

    > even the most large-scale shift to wind power cannot slow greenhouse gas emissions enough to have any positive effect on the climate

    the same is true about all alternative energies, not just wind
    but reducing greenhouse gasses isn’t the point of alternative energy
    the elimination of fossil fuel use is the point

    alternative energies offer a potential for individuals to cut the cord with the grid
    something Uncle Homeland would like to prevent
    he needs the grid to tie the room together

    > The above story is reprinted from materials provided by
    DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

    doesn’t mean it’s a psyop, but caveat emptor nonetheless

    • Matt Staggs

      Psyop/psy-y-y-op
      Psy- hee say psy, he say psy, he say psy
      he say psy he say psy he say psy-op
      Psyop done and me wan’ go home.

      Work all night hope visitors come
      (psyop done and me wan’ go home)
      stack propaganda till the morning come
      (psyop done and me wan’ go home)

      Come Mr. Buzzcoastin, point out propaganda
      (Psyop done and me wan’ go home)
      Come Mr. Buzzcoastin, tally me propaganda
      (Psyop done and me wan’ go home)

      Post six lies seven lies, eight lies, done!
      (Psyop done and me wan’ go home)
      six lies seven lies, eight lies, done!
      Psyop done and me wan’ go home)

      Psy, he say Psyop
      (Psyop done and me wan’ go home)
      Psy, he say psy, He say Psy
      He say psy, he say psy, he say psy
      (Psyop done and me wan’ go home

      Psy, he say psy O
      (Psyop come and me wan’ go home)
      Psy, he say psy, he say psy
      He say psy, he say psy, he say psy
      (Psyop done and me wan’ go home)

      Come, Mister Buzzcoastin, point out propaganda
      (Daylight come and me wan’ go home)
      Come, Mister Buzzcoastin, point out propaganda
      (Psyop done and me wan’ go home)

      Psyop, Psyop
      (Psyop done and me wan’ go home)
      Psy, he say psy, he say psy, he say psy
      He say psy, he say psyops
      (Psyop done and me wan’ go home)

      • Calypso_1

        needs vid now

      • BuzzCoastin

        you run a site called Disinfo &
        you publish a DOE/DOD funded report as serious
        but ya got me on this one
        this couldn’t possibly be disinfo

        • Matt Staggs

          I meant that in a spirit of affection and humor. I’m genuinely sorry if you took offense – it was not my intention. Sorry! :-(

          • BuzzCoastin

            I’m flattered you think
            someone as jaded as I could be offended
            just tit for tat
            and you knowwwwwwwwwwwwwww
            to underscore the obvious once again

          • Matt Staggs

            Phew! Good to know. I wrote it up this morning thinking “Buzz’ll love this.”

          • BuzzCoastin

            thanks dude,
            I can’t recall ever having a song about me before
            had lots of dirty dirges of course
            but not an outright ballad

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Harris/505596158 Mike Harris

    This is just simpleton bullshit. There are workarounds everywhere. To even dare post such drivel speaks volumes of your critical thinking abilities. Lame lame lame.

  • Edward Jack

    tapping one resource to grab at the wind for another haha. Doesn’t make sense to me. Solar is the way to go , make use of the current infrastructure. It needs to attention anyway. At least in America. I could farms and government structures using both wind and solar.

  • Chaos_Dynamics

    The mutant offspring of Edison (GE) currently dominates this sector thereby explaining a multitude of probing considerations.

  • yhnukas

    Where is Good German? is he going to troll us and not comment??

  • jnana

    reading the comments makes me think a lot more people who probably consider themselves progressive would love a dictatorship. Is it so bad to hear a multitude of ideas? Even if they are wrong.

    But is it wrong to point out some of the negatives of renewable energy sources like wind? I wouldn’t call it disinfo. I’d call it honesty. In Maine, much of the fragile alpine zone will be destroyed if they install Big Wind. I would not like to see that. Not to mention they have a “surplus” of energy, I think b/c of natural gas and hydro.

    I think the false dichotomy here is BIG renewable energy vs. BIG non-renewable energy. I think a drastic reduction in energy use and, WHEN NECESSARY, the use of local renewable AND local non-renewable, like a backup diesel generator or something.

    B/c of comments by progressive type I can really imagine a sort of “Subvert City” scenario
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0DxTPyh4gs

    • The Well Dressed Man

      The argument that wind energy is going to prolong our evil civilization and therefore is a bad idea is the one that scares me.

      and it all went quiet in the city, and the wind blew down the road…

      Wait that song was about wind energy? I thought it was about spray paint heroes who want the state to fall. Meet the new boss, same as the old.

  • mindofsound

    This sounds like straight-up B.S. to me. The notion that the proliferation of wind turbines would have a measurable slowing effect on the wind is beyond reason. The atmosphere is TALL as hell, so why would some ground-surface features like turbines have any affect on its movement whatsoever? That’s like saying shells on the ocean floor can affect the tides. This smells like a propaganda piece from the energy companies written for an audience lacking critical thinking skills.

  • http://democracylight.blogspot.com/ Art

    Current levels of energy use are not sustainable with any current technology or combination thereof. Forward-looking people are focusing on powering down to where renewable resources can provide what is needed (e.g., the Transition/permaculture movements). Maybe at some point we will come up with new, non-depletable energy sources (perhaps thru and beyond Tesla), but the priority now should be living within our means and stopping the human-caused degradation of the earth’s ecosystems.

    • jnana

      but that’ll take RADICAL change. we all might have to get our hands DIRTY. and not just consume the fruits of the earth without giving anything back. could you imagine the human race being productive? it’s kinda tough to do when your enchained.

      • http://democracylight.blogspot.com/ Art

        Based on what we know about non-hierarchical human communities, I have faith at least some of us are capable of deprogramming ourselves and living in free, voluntarily-associating groups.

  • Geoff Henry

    Go to root force and let them know this article is an obvious sham by oil and coal companies. It s not wind or nothing. Wind power will increase global warming by slowing the circulation of air around the globe? What a crock! Lets track this author down and counter the lies. Let’s shut this publication of planet destroying propoganda down.

  • Root Force

    It seems that some of the people here may have only read the excerpt posted here, and not the original post from our site. The original post is a critique of the idea that the modern, industrial way of life can be made sustainable with a large-scale shift to solar, wind and other “alternative” energy sources. Of necessity, this shift would require wind megafarms like those evaluated in the scientific studies cited. Neither those studies nor our original article were about small-scale wind like that used on homesteads.

    Also, reading the original piece or perusing our site would quickly make it clear that we do not dispute the reality of human-caused global warming; in fact, we consider it a major threat to all human and nonhuman life. But there’s just no way that “alternative” energy is going to get us out of the bind that 100+ years of fossil fuel use have put us in.

    From the article’s conclusion: “So what’s the solution? Certainly not wind, solar, or any other industrial magic bullet. The solution is to dramatically scale back consumption and shift to local-based economies not dependent upon stealing resources from distant people and lands.

    “The solution is to demolish the global economic system. Get started!”

    Root Force: Demolishing Colonialism at its Foundations
    http://www.rootforce.org

    http://www.rootforce.org/2013/03/05/why-wind-power-is-a-sham/
    http://www.rootforce.org/alternative-energy/
    http://www.rootforce.org/factsheets/warming/

    • The Well Dressed Man

      Scaling back consumption is important. “Demolishing the global economic system” is something completely different. Are we talking about clean energy or are we talking about geopolitics? The entire article criticizes wind energy as being impractical and then suddenly jumps to the conclusion that sustainable energy is not the solution because of an anticolonialist moral imperative. You’re insulting our intelligence by trying to imply a connection. We have a few decades as a species to shift from petroleum to green energy, before it’s too late. There’s no magic bullet so far, but we can actually maintain our global society with a combination of conservation, wind, solar, hydro, geo, and biomass energy sources. Godfrey Boyle’s Renewable Energy, Oxford 2004, is an excellent place to start reading about how such a plan is workable. Please let us know if you actually have a better idea instead of shooting down out efforts.

      • Root Force

        Energy policy is inextricable from geopolitics. The global economic system that “alternative” energy is meant to prop up is premised upon stealing the resources of poorer countries and land-based cultures for the benefit of the wealthy — the global 1%, if you will. You can’t examine one without the other.

        As to whether we can shift to “green energy before it’s too late,” keep in mind that even setting aside fossil fuels, the industrial way of life is wiping out all life on this planet. Alternative energy is a distraction from addressing this critical problem. All the alternative energy sources being promoted are high in embedded pollution and dependent upon a fossil-fuel-based industrial production system that is killing the planet. A copper mine is a copper mine, even when its output goes to solar panels.

        On the large scale (again, setting aside for now the question of small-scale electric production), there is only one type of clean energy, and that’s the energy that we get from our food (assuming no artificial inputs such as petroleum-based fertilizers).

        It’s distressing to hear that our entire way of life needs to radically change, but that’s the situation we’re confronted with. While it may appear that the article jumped to conclusions, that’s because it originated as a post on our own blog, where most readers are familiar with the premises we’re operating from. To familiarize yourself our perspective, you can read the articles we linked to above, or the following piece, which most directly addresses the question of whether we have “a better idea”:

        http://www.rootforce.org/what-is-root-force/strategy/

        • The Well Dressed Man

          I had a look around your site. It seems your goal is the complete end of the global economy as we know it, and you advocate achieving this end through undermining all existing infrastructure and opposing the implementation of any new infrastructure. Your page on wind energy makes more sense motivated by such impetus: An agitprop hit piece on what could be part of a viable new infrastructure.

          The careening boom and bust cycle of globalization certainly seems vulnerable to the sort of push you’re advocating. Lets assume that this is so. Direct action creates a tipping point so central that the global powers are thrown into catastrophic disarray. War, famine, and massive depopulation would seem likely results. Is this the “better idea?” What happens in the aftermath? Does everybody suddenly develop better ethics? My feeling is that a post catastrophic world would be absolutely desperate to recreate the technology of its past. In that power vacuum, regional powers would do well to consolidate their position by hoarding remaining manufactured goods, especially weapons and fuel. Significant enough depopulation could perhaps mitigate further ecological damage for a time, but how long until survivors start reproducing and burning coal for everything?

          It’s my belief that civilization is both more resilient, and ultimately more benign than the above scenario. Globalization and colonialism have certainly caused harm, even atrocity. But I don’t see these as necessary evils to our scientific progress. People choose evil actions out of moral weakness, and this of course includes deliberate ignorance. With more power, the stakes are higher, but so is the potential reward.

          Yes our way of life needs to radically change. By implementing an orderly transition from energy-dense petrochemical fuel to energy-diffuse renewable sources combined with managed conservation, we can survive. Renewable energy grids, locally optimized and managed at the continental level, can deliver most of the comforts we’re familiar with little ecological impact. Let the scientists and engineers run the show. I want more civilization. I want technocracy.

          • Root Force

            Sure, we have an opinion, and we promote that opinion on our web site. That doesn’t make it “agitprop” in a perjorative sense, any more than your promotion of technocratic civilization is. All we did was summarize the findings of some recent studies and conclude with our own interpretation. If you want to examine the evidence and disagree, be our guest.

            Certainly the collapse of the global economic system could lead to catastrophic consequences for both human and nonhuman life, which is why building strong communities and sustainable alternatives are essential components of getting from the world we’ve got to the world that we want. The question addressed by our piece is, will the “solutions” being promoted actually ease us into sustainability? In this case, the answer seems to be “no.” Leaving big questions like this up to scientists and engineers has gotten us into the current mess; why should we suddenly start trusting them now?

            Ultimately, we have to ask whether a large-scale industrial system can ever be founded on anything other than colonialism, genocide and ecocide. Our position is that it can’t, due the simple reality of resource distribution (plus the inherent conflict between industrial values and those of land-based cultures).

            Given that conclusion, what is the only reasonable and moral response?

            Thanks for chatting.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            I think we both agree that there are fundamental problems with the current state of global matters.

            My beef with “Wind Power is a Sham” is twofold:

            1: Bad science – the functional criticisms of wind energy cited fail to understand how this tech is implemented. Nobody is saying that wind turbines can singlehandedly replace dirty energy. They are part of a package of technologies that work in tandem (solar, geo, hydro.) Most complaints about environmental detriment are site-specific and easily mitigated. Big turbines do carry some implicit risks, but a number of startups are doing fascinating research on alternatives.

            2: The jump to a conclusion not supported by the body of the article that we already discussed.

            I’m actually back at school training to work in sustainable tech. My motivation is the belief that we’re tool builders by nature, and going back to older tools isn’t going to to fix anything. Personally I don’t think we will mature past earth-based scarcity squabbles until we begin colonizing the solar system.

            Peace

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        I dunno… I think “Scaling back consumption” and “Demolishing the global economic system” could have a big fat equals sign between them when perceived through the right lens.

        • The Well Dressed Man

          ***************
          “Scaling back consumption” and “Demolishing the global economic system” could have a big fat equals sign between them when perceived through the right lens.
          *****************

          False equivalence. See my reply to Root Force below. BTW we had to discover physics and calculus to make optical lenses, all of which are a part of the history of technology and industrialization that some of us here seem hell bent on throwing away.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            you’re projecting full agreement with mr. root force there onto me. I’m just saying that in this “never ending growth” system we have currently, a determined effort to scale back consumption would have far reaching effects on the economy.

            You really need to stop using the logical fallacy argument beyond your ability to understand them. False equivalence (along with any other fallacy) is not truly identified just because you see the equals sign and you disagree with it. Look up the only fallacy i ever call out, the fallacy fallacy.

            Also i’m pretty damn sure we had lenses long before calculus and physics figured them out completely (.. i’m pretty sure the first humans were each born with 2 of them as well) Despite this trying to make a point merely out of word choice(would you be happier if i just said “perspective”) is… i dunno… something something…

          • The Well Dressed Man

            I’m all worked up about what I think is poor logic in the article under discussion, and I’m taking it out on everyone it seems. I learned something just now – optical lenses are way older than I thought so I’ll back off on that tangent.

            Perhaps we can communicate better if we define our terms better. The idea that scaling back consumption is EQUAL to demolishing the economic system is perhaps more of a sweeping generalization, or slippery slope than a clear cut false equivalence.

            “Never ending growth” systems are absolutely a mess, and certainly unsustainable. We need to redefine our measure of value if we intend to survive and progress. As the techno-optimist at this party, I feel that there are ways to succeed on all fronts, and evolve into a post-scarcity culture.

            tl/dr – throwing an equals sign into my statement seemed like an over-generalization, and I responded with semantic arguments. Let’s talk specifics.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            I respect your candor, and believe we are probably seeing the same things in different light. I commonly speak in vagaries and like to think that when talking conceptually, “equals” never truly means equals in the mathematical sense. You just have to understand that there will be consequences to cutting back consumption on the grand scale of humanity due to the requirement of the current economic system for companies to constantly grow and/or cannabalize others. I cannot say whether it will be an organic consequence that comes along naturally (in the perspective that the current economic rules are natural but that is another argument entirely) or synthetically as punishment from TPTB.

            I think we agree on the solutions, but differ on expectations of consequences and hardships in the times of transition.

  • echar

    I personally would like to thank Good German for providing a challenge to my perception of wind power. I am paying attention, and already on my toes. I can haz adapting.

  • Jürgen Hubert

    I’ve posted my own thoughts on this article here:

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/105510708763837902389/posts/MDMMBWSZTvu

  • Tuna Ghost

    Wow. This is…this is just garbage.