Editorial: “Big Wind” Swindle
Sep 10, 2010
—Jon Boone, Ph.D. (Maryland)
One of the genuine problems with engaging industrial wind is the way its spin doctors have hitched the technology to a sense of the public good, much in the way tobacco ads did 50 years ago. This was the final plank in the foundation enabling this daffy Enronesque technology, which is so inimical to modern power performance.
Politicians can support it because they can point to the totemic size of the turbines as symbols for challenging the status quo and for their commitment to a better world, knowing there’s no accountability and certain that industrial wind will only reinforce the status quo.
The media can support it because it provides an English cozy melodrama, providing counterpoint to Big Energy (coal and oil) but in a cartoonish Road Runner/Wily Coyote kind of way (the good guys vs the bad guys)—all to keep people entertained so they’ll stay tuned and to maintain cheap production costs.
And, not least, the big energy companies like GE, AES, Florida Power and Light, and BP (which control 90% of the continent’s industrial wind projects) can pretend that wind is a competitor while milking wind as both a massive tax shelter generator and as a public relations bonanza (and, of course, using wind’s energy credits to avoid cleaning up their dirtiest burning plants).