Wind Power: Not So Powerful

Do you have to be smarter to run a dry cleaning shop than to be President? In some respects, yes. If you are a dry cleaner and the numbers don’t add up, you go broke. If you are President (or a Congressman) and the numbers don’t add up, you just tax or borrow more money. No one has ever said that Barack Obama is a numbers guy; in fact, his ignorance of mathematics is just one facet of his ignorance of business and economics.
Obama lards his speeches with statistical factoids, but they are frequently wrong. For example: he loves to tell audiences that Denmark obtains “20 percent of [its] electricity through wind power.” Sure, Denmark is a flat, windy place, but it still isn’t true. The Institute for Energy Research explains:

The findings of a new study released this week cast serious doubt on the accuracy of that statement. The report finds that in 2006 scarcely five percent of the nation’s electricity demand was met by wind. And over the past five years, the average is less than 10 percent — despite Denmark having ‘carpeted’ its land with the machines. …
Prepared by the independent Danish think tank CEPOS and co-authored by economist Henrik Meyer and Hugh Sharman, a prominent Denmark-based international energy consultant, the report details the extent to which Denmark’s claim to wind superiority is essentially founded on a myth – the function of a complicated trading scheme in which the Danes off-load excess, value-subtracted wind generation to other nations for roughly free, asking only in return that these countries sell some of their baseload power back to Denmark on the frequent occasions in which the wind does not blow there
The upshot? The Danes retain the title of world’s most prolific wind producer, and President Obama cites their experience as a path to be followed. The cost? Danish ratepayers are forced to pay the highest utility rates in Europe. And the American people are led to believe that, though wind may only provide a little more than one percent of our electricity now, reaching a 20 percent platform – as the Danes have allegedly done – will come at no cost, with no jobs lost and no externalities to consider.
Speaking of jobs, the report also pulls back the curtain on the wind power industry’s near-complete dependence on taxpayer subsidies to support the fairly modest workforce it presently maintains. Just as in Spain, where per-job taxpayer subsidies for so-called “green jobs” exceeds $1,000,000 per worker in some cases, wind-related jobs in Denmark on average are subsidized at a rate of 175 to 250 percent above the average pay per worker. All told, each new wind job created by the government costs Danish taxpayers between 600,000-900,000 krone a year, roughly equivalent to $90,000-$140,000 USD.

We’ve gotten rid of our green jobs czar, now we need to get rid of the myth of green jobs.


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