When the Wind Doesn’t Blow

The political push to transform our electrical grid into reliance on “renewable” wind and solar energy keeps running into the laws of physics. The laws of physics are going to win, but the economic carnage in the meantime will be terrible.

My colleague Isaac Orr documents, not for the first time, the futility of wind energy when the weather gets cold:

It is a well-understood phenomenon that wind generation in the Midwest essentially disappears when the mercury dips below -22° F. Electricity generation from wind turbines drops under these circumstances because wind turbines are programmed to automatically shut off when the temperatures get this cold to prevent them from breaking.

Ironically, wind turbines are actually net consumers of power during these periods because they have electric heaters installed in the gearboxes to keep the oil inside the wind turbines from freezing.

Isaac provides this chart from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, which runs the electric grid for most of the Midwest:

The basic point here is that wind energy shows up only sporadically and unpredictably, and tends to disappear when it is needed the most. The worst time for a blackout is when the mercury is at -20, as it was yesterday where I live. Note where electricity was actually coming from in the chart above: coal, the dark brown line, was the principal source, while natural gas, the light brown line, is only slightly behind. These are the sources that liberals want to do away with. Wind was flighty; sometimes it worked, but often it didn’t. Is that how you want your light switches to operate? And if you can find solar energy on this chart, a technology in which many billions of dollars have been invested, your eyes are sharper than mine.

On energy, we are in a race against time. We need to inform voters before the lavishly-funded “green” energy lobby destroys our electrical grid and our economy, at great profit to them but at ruinous loss to the rest of us.