There is a lot of support for the Maryland wind farm project, but unfortunately, it all comes from environmentalists or the pressures they put on others.
Summer is right around the corner and as we see every year in Maryland, thousands of tourists and state residents will be voyaging to the Great Eastern Shore of Maryland to relax in the sun, enjoy off-shore fishing charters, and many will have just one-too-many drinks at the famous Secrets bar and restaurant.
All those things are a Maryland tradition that even Maryland transplants like my family enjoy, with the exception of the last. This year and probably the next season may be the last few times vacationers will enjoy before the massive offshore wind farm starts popping up and littering the view.
I have discussed this boondoggle of a project several times and pointed out how very visible these monstrous contraptions will be from the sand. For those who may not know, Maryland has decided to move forward with a large windfarm right off the coast. The $1,900,000,000 project is set to raise 187 tall (60-stories each) windmills 12 miles offshore. The project is touted to provide 750 megawatts of power – enough to serve the needs of 500,000 homes. Ultimately, taxpayers are going to pay the outstanding price of these towers while the developer, an Italian-backed company, U.S. Wind, will be able to sell energy credits at $132 bucks a pop for each megawatt hour they generate, “to help cover their costs.”
Ocean City’s Mayor has been reluctantly agreeing with the project, but he wants to see the massive windmills pushed out further to be out of sight; only visible to those deep-water fishermen who will be navigating the water’s new maze. Of course, moving the wind farm further out will cost more money and environmentalist groups know more money and delays may threaten the project as a whole. They know this all too well as this is their primary bag of tricks when fighting pipelines or new wells. The website, DelmarvaNow, ran an op-ed that is, frankly, just silly but illustrates the thought processes of those who wear rose-colored glasses too tinted to see the forest for the trees.
The writer is Larry Ryan and I couldn’t find out much about him from a few quick searches, but he touts the wind farm as likely to produce 3,500 jobs. He doesn’t seem to understand these jobs are highly skilled workers and many will be coming from out of state. Those that are local, will only be for a short duration of the project, as opposed to pipeline workers who typically come from surrounding areas, despite opponents’ claims to the contrary.
The primary example of this is that those in charge of the project expect to fire up Sparrow’s Point Steel Mill again to manufacture many of the components (I assume using natural gas since solar panels do not melt steel #keepitintheground), but the likelihood of those jobs lasting much longer than a season is dim. He also argues that through the advancement of technology, turbines will get smaller – allowing for more of them. This is a horrible solution as it presents itself like the Edison Direct Current monopoly. US Wind would keep this racket going forever with the taxpayers paying for it and them selling off the credits for more profit.
While technologies are making wind turbines more efficient, they are not getting smaller; in fact, they are getting larger, just as this NY Times article posts. These new age turbines in Osterild have blades larger than the wingspan of an Airbus A380 and takes upwards of three days to make. This is not settling for me, as these things are completely overvalued in both capacity and impact. When you speak of the 32% actual capacity versus what they claim to produce, you are labeled anti-environment and people like Bill Nye put hits out on you, but it is true. Furthermore, although these are offshore wind farms, there are many studies indicating how horrible they are for marine life – especially those who use echolocation.
When a new pipeline is in the beginning stages, environmentalist groups make all of the fuss about the “deforestation” and go full radical by climbing into trees in protest. However, we see they don’t give two cents for the trees if the ecosystem is being demolished for solar or wind farms. Robert Bryce of the Manhattan Institute notes this:
“Even if we ignore the deleterious health effects that low-frequency noise produced by wind turbines can have on humans and the murderous effect that turbines have on birds and bats, the idea of covering a land area larger than California with nothing but wind turbines is ludicrous on its face. It’s doubly absurd given that over the past few years, rural communities from Maine to California and Ontario to Scotland have been rejecting the encroachment of Big Wind. Among the latest examples of the rural backlash: On April 10, in South Dakota, the Davidson County Commission unanimously rejected a permit for a proposed nine-turbine wind project.”
No one is saying that we shouldn’t have renewables in our playbook; at least wind exhibits some performance as I discussed here. It can be used to extend our reserves, or it can even power up those who want to be off the grid, but it has no chance of replacing natural gas for the US or the rest of the world. We do, however, need to stop allowing interest groups to dictate our direction with misinformation and keep them from ruining our summer.