Guest post from Remarkable Times
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Okay, here is a reality check on some of Donald Trump’s opinions about wind turbines:
“You can blow up a pipeline, you can blow up the windmills. You know, the wind wheels, [mimics windmill noise, mimes shooting gun] Bing! That’s the end of that one. If the birds don’t kill it first. The birds could kill it first. They kill so many birds. You look underneath some of those windmills, it’s like a killing field, the birds. But uh, you know, that’s what they were going to, they were going to windmills. And you know, don’t worry about wind, when the wind doesn’t blow, I said, “What happens when the wind doesn’t blow?” Well, then we have a problem. OK good. They were putting him in areas where they didn’t have much wind, too. And it’s a subsidary — you need subsidy for windmills. You need subsidy. Who wants to have energy where you need subsidy? So, uh, the coal is doing great.”
1. Wind turbines are not “wind mills” or “wind wheels”. Wind mills grind grain. I have no idea what a “wind wheel” is.
2. The wind industry takes steps to reduce bird deaths by using tubular towers to prevent roosting, avoiding bird migratory routes and avoiding bird habitats. Trump could point out a) that buildings, cell towers and cats each kill more birds than wind turbines and the turbines kill far fewer human beings than air pollution from coal-fired power plants.
3. There are several solutions for when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine: storing their power in batteries, for example, and using the grid to move power from places where the wind is blowing to places where it isn’t.
4. Trump apparently doesn’t realize that fossil fuels are subsidized, too. They have been for about 100 years. Nuclear power has never generated a kilowatt of electricity without government subsidies. We can justify government help for important emerging industries like clean and renewable energy, but not for the richest corporations and the dirtiest fuels in the world. As for renewable energy subsidies, Congress has decided to phase them out, but there is no end in sight to fossil energy subsidies.
Above are some photos contrasting wind power with coal power. The photo on the bottom right shows how coal companies are blowing the tops off of mountains in Appalachia — one of the most biologically diverse regions in the country — to get at coal deposits.