Another Bad Thing About Industrial Wind

 

One of the many objections to industrial wind “farms” is how they devastate bird and bat populations. This piece in The Pipeline starts with the licenses to kill bald eagles granted to wind facilities. Then it goes into something I knew about but don’t often see mentioned: the effects of the increased demand for balsa wood to make turbine blades. I have seldom seen it expressed better.

Balsa cannot be farmed. It’s a rainforest tree, and it is cut and carried out of carefully managed forests in Central America. The increased demand has resulted in more wild balsa being cut from Amazonian forests. Balsa provides essential cover to the understory of a rainforest, which cannot survive in direct sunlight; I’ve heard it called a “nursemaid tree.” It grows quickly, and its growth is essential to the resilience of rainforests, which eventually manage to recapture land that has been clear-cut for farming, after it turns out to be not very good farmland. Now the young balsas are being cut for turbine blades before the trees that form the foundation of the forest can mature.

And all of this is being done by people who justify it by claiming to be “saving the planet.”

Only by systematically dumbing down the population by subverting education and literature could we have produced a population stupid enough not to understand (I think I need a bullet list here):

…electric vehicles are not “green” because of the plastic, rare earths, and unrecyclable batteries they use.

…wind and solar installations that have existed for years prove that they never generate enough power to cover the cost of their construction.

…fracking has been proven to be perfectly safe, and since it is only used on existing wells, doesn’t even increase oil exploration, it just makes available the 40-50% of oil that doesn’t get forced to the surface.

…wind turbine blades are airfoils. Airfoils stop working in turbulence. Turbines generate turbulence. So when you see those industrial wind “farms” with row upon row of turbines, remember that only the first row is generating anything.

…no one in the general population has ever died because of a nuclear power plant accident.

…Hydro power is almost always under-utilized because it can’t be transmitted where it’s needed. The Niagara Falls Power Project, which is backed up by a huge underground reservoir, is running at 60% capacity because of low demand.

And on and on. I’m sure you can think of more examples, especially if you paid attention in your high school Earth Science classes, and those classes were back before capitalism was racist.

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    From the title, I thought this was about my cat’s flatulence. That is definitely industrial strength. As I kept reading, it took a bit to dispel the notion. Devastating populations? Check. Turbine blades? Wait, what is he talking about? Oh. Yes. Well-written piece. Wind mill farms are terribly dangerous. And “green” energy is usually the most destructive to the environment. Coal-burning cars with their copper umbilical cords that are miles and miles long aren’t such a great idea, either.

    • #1
  2. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    You could not have written this on a day worse for me. I’m so upset. A few of our oaks are being attacked by the gall wasp, and the trees are getting weak because of the drought we are in. A while ago I went out to get Bayer Tree & Shrub to help the trees along until our tree guy can come and administer the correct treatment for this disease (and intensive watering is part of the cure), and I was told by the store clerk that this product has been banned in Massachusetts.

    To save us from the beehive collapse problem that never happened (it was the commercial bee growers who were careless going from farm to farm), any systemic pesticide with neonicotinoids has been banned in Massachusetts–we started it–and many other states.

    The neonicotinoid systemics are the only effective protection birch trees have against the birch tree borer. That’s just for starters. These chemicals have saved countless trees in America. If they had been around years ago, our beautiful native dogwoods that used to light up the forests every spring would still be here. So would the American elm and American chestnut.

    Bayer believes it had a viable alternative to the neonicotinoids. I hope it works.

    But it will probably work as well as all the other alternatives the left comes up with–like killing eagles to let the unnecessary wind turbines turn and making the blades out of a truly limited resource, balsa trees.

    Meanwhile, although our town has plenty of water, the state made us shut down three of our wells for some vague unspecified contaminant called PFAS.

    • #2
  3. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    MarciN (View Comment):

    You could not have written this on a day worse for me. I’m just livid right now. A few of our oaks are being attacked by the gall wasp, and the trees are getting weak because of the drought we are in. A while ago I went out to get Bayer Tree & Shrub to help the trees along until our tree guy can come and administer the correct treatment for this disease (and intensive watering is part of the cure), and I was told by the store clerk that this product has been banned in Massachusetts.

    To save us from the beehive collapse problem that never happened (it was the commercial bee growers who were careless going from farm to farm), any systemic pesticide with neonicotinoids has been banned in Massachusetts–we started it–and many other states.

    The neonicotinoid systemics are the only effective protection birch trees have against the birch tree borer. That’s just for starters. These chemicals have saved countless trees in America. If they had been around years ago, our beautiful native dogwoods that used to light up the forests every spring would still be here. So would the American elm and American chestnut.

    Bayer believes it had a viable alternative to the neonicotinoids. I hope it works.

    But it will probably work as well as all the other alternatives the left comes up with–like killing eagles to let the unnecessary wind turbines turn and making the blades out of a truly limited resource, balsa trees.

    Meanwhile, although our town has plenty of water, the state made us shut down three of our wells for some vague unspecified contaminant called PFAS.

     

     

     

    Believe me, I feel your pain. I have a stash of Roundup, which is becoming unobtainium. If the magnolias get bad scale again I will be unable to get the systemic drench we usually use; only an abnormally dry summer saved us this year. We understand the problems, we have the solutions, and we don’t use them for utterly stupid reasons.

    • #3
  4. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    Arahant (View Comment):

    From the title, I thought this was about my cat’s flatulence. That is definitely industrial strength. As I kept reading, it took a bit to dispel the notion. Devastating populations? Check. Turbine blades? Wait, what is he talking about? Oh. Yes. Well-written piece. Wind mill farms are terribly dangerous. And “green” energy is usually the most destructive to the environment. Coal-burning cars with their copper umbilical cords that are miles and miles long aren’t such a great idea, either.

    And don’t park them in your garage, because they spontaneously burst into fires you can’t put out with an extinguisher.

    • #4
  5. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    More solutions brought to us by those who only know the final answer.

     

    • #5
  6. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    I like Birds and Bats more than gigantic windmills also.     Has anyone else noticed that,  in addition to the rational and economic case against wind farms, that wind farms are incredibly Ugly?    I prefer American the Beautiful.

    • #6
  7. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    BREAKING: Industrial wind!  Kills Millions of Birds Annually.

    How do we stifle this?

    The Flying Animals Rescue Teams has the answer!

    We fight for you.

    End Windmills

    Go FAR

    • #7
  8. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    From the title, I thought this was about my cat’s flatulence. That is definitely industrial strength. As I kept reading, it took a bit to dispel the notion. Devastating populations? Check. Turbine blades? Wait, what is he talking about? Oh. Yes. Well-written piece. Wind mill farms are terribly dangerous. And “green” energy is usually the most destructive to the environment. Coal-burning cars with their copper umbilical cords that are miles and miles long aren’t such a great idea, either.

    And don’t park them in your garage, because they spontaneously burst into fires you can’t put out with an extinguisher.

    You need an extinguisher rated for that kind of fire. 

    • #8
  9. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    From the title, I thought this was about my cat’s flatulence. That is definitely industrial strength. As I kept reading, it took a bit to dispel the notion. Devastating populations? Check. Turbine blades? Wait, what is he talking about? Oh. Yes. Well-written piece. Wind mill farms are terribly dangerous. And “green” energy is usually the most destructive to the environment. Coal-burning cars with their copper umbilical cords that are miles and miles long aren’t such a great idea, either.

    And don’t park them in your garage, because they spontaneously burst into fires you can’t put out with an extinguisher.

    You need an extinguisher rated for that kind of fire.

    Not if the shorted batteries aren’t disconnected from each other. They’ll keep right on generating heat.

    • #9
  10. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    I left another comment but it doesn’t appear here.  Maybe I put in in the wrong thread.  I wanted to say that this is a great article.  I had no idea that balsa wood was used in windmill blades; I thought they were hollow carbon or boron or something.  And I had no idea that balsa trees were uncultivatable and  so necessary for healthy rainforests.  Thanks.

    • #10
  11. Douglas Pratt Coolidge
    Douglas Pratt
    @DouglasPratt

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I left another comment but it doesn’t appear here. Maybe I put in in the wrong thread. I wanted to say that this is a great article. I had no idea that balsa wood was used in windmill blades; I thought they were hollow carbon or boron or something. And I had no idea that balsa trees were uncultivatable and so necessary for healthy rainforests. Thanks.

    I’ve built model rockets and airplanes since 1960, and written a few books on the subject. Once I got a chance to visit Baltek, one of the major balsa wood companies, at their facility in New Jersey. I learned a lot. Balsa has one of the highest strength to weight ratios you can get, as long as you measure against the grain. Airplane floors and boat hulls are made from balsa that is cut into square logs, glued into large blocks, sliced on a moving table that cuts off end grain panels like bologna, then laminated on both sides with fiberglass to make a remarkably strong composite structure.

    They gave me a present, a block of balsa about 6 inches square and a yard long. It was the top quality stuff they used to use for prosthetics; this one has a flaw that made it unsuitable to be carved into an arm or leg. When I spoke to school groups I would take it along, and randomly toss it at someone, who was always stunned at how little it weighed.

    I have friends in the model airplane biz who have struggled to get decent balsa at any price, much less something that anyone could afford. There really aren’t any decent substitutes for a balsa structure covered with cloth, plastic or tissue. Baltic birch laminates are OK but heavier. Styrofoam breaks and you can’t really paint it. I had one styro plane, a Chipmunk with a .25 engine, that snapped in half right behind the wing in a hard landing; I used five minute epoxy to glue it back together and kept flying. Anything looks good if it’s 20 feet in the air.

    • #11
  12. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Douglas Pratt (View Comment):

    I’ve built model rockets and airplanes since 1960…

    The only think I know about balsa is that if you have the single-mindedness to coat and sand multiple layers of lacquer over days of close and fine work you can make a mirror surface of balsa rocket wings.  I say rocket wings because my brother designed and constructed and lovingly sanded and lacquered and painted the wings on a jet black, delta winged rocket plane, maybe a dozen inches in wing span, bat-shaped, sort of like a very snub-nosed SR-71.  The things was, the trailing third of the wings were hinged and spring loaded to flip up 30 degrees or so, and were held down in place by the small A-sized rocket engine.  The idea was to take off like a rocket, then when the parachute charge went off the engine would be ejected instead, and the flaps would no longer be held down and spring up, and the plane would glide smoothly down to earth.  My brother was into finesse.

    I was into brute force.  I took a 1-inch tube 20 inches long, two three-inch by 20-inch sheets of balsa and cut them diagonally to make four long triangular fins and glued them, painted but unsanded, onto the rocket body.  I put a nose cone on it with a parachute inside and this thing was powered by the longest-burning D engine I could find.  It may have been inelegant to look at but it was sturdy.

    Launch day came and I readied my rocket and when I lit the engine it burned and burned and slowly started to rise and miracle of miracles reached the top of the launching rod, tilted fell to the ground, breaking one of the fins, the engine continued to burn for several seconds, and then after a five second pause the nose cone popped off and the parachute rolled out onto the grass unopened.  Very disappointed.

    I was excited to see how my brother’s creation would do, and there was much tension.  Adjustments had to be made, the air velocity and direction had to be monitored for the descent.  Then the countdown, and Ffvvewwwwf!  Up it shot up into the air, and curved to level flight in a perfect arc, full-powered it curved down toward the ground.  It took longer to read this that the flight of the rocket.  Crack! it powered into the ground.  And the engine flamed.  And then mutely popped out.

    My rocket made a 30-second ride four feet into the air, fell, and broke a fin.  My brother’s rocket took a 3-second flight, rose 75-feet in the air, and looked like a bat halved by a windmill blade and eaten by raptors.  There was much misery at ground zero.

    Not sure whose rocket performed better.  I’ll give my brother the win.  But mine flew another day.

    • #12
  13. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    For some reason this post brings to my mind Mao’s 1958 decree that all sparrows in China be killed. He thought they were eating the grain crop and hindering China’s economic “progress”. A massive effort was made to kill sparrows, and somewhere in the hundreds of millions to a billion sparrows were killed. The following year, locusts consumed the crops, inasmuch as their natural predator was gone,  and people began starving in droves with estimates ranging from 15 to 78 million people dead, some from starvation, others from murders done to obtain food by eating corses of the dead.  Sort of the Donner party to the 1000th power. 

    What was that about some being who attends to even a sparrow’s fall?

    In Mao’s day, the horrendous outcome of the  Chairman’s insanity was attributed to unintended consequences (actually, there was a blackout on any mention of the disaster, sort of like on Hunter’s laptop, so officially, there was no famine).  No one really speculated on whether the intent was to cull the overpopulation of the nation. Same with Stalin’s starvation of the Kulacks. 

    Clearly Biden wants to be a mini-Mao type of leader and commit the same sort of genocidal errors, or (intentional?) genocidal policies, that Mao pursued. Or maybe he just wants to be a mini-Xi and not massively cull his own country’s population. But then again–it’s hard to distinguish between a well-intended but misguided policy and a policy that is genocidal these days, given all the clamor about overpopulation and humans destroying the planet. The first to go of course, in the eyes of Biden would preferably be all those MAGA Trump supporters out there. But his methods aren’t precise enough (yet) to target them specifically, so if these environmental policies are intended to destroy human lives, Biden will be OK with the deaths of his supporters as well as Trump supporters.  As long as enough humans die to save the planet. He’s told us that already (see his comments about the type of suffering we should be required to accept to support his misadventures vis-a-vis Ukraine and Russian sanctions, which seem to be hurting us far more than they hurt Russia). 

    And if the bald eagle becomes extinct?  Well, it would be worth it to save the rest of the planet.  Right?

    • #13
  14. GlennAmurgis Coolidge
    GlennAmurgis
    @GlennAmurgis

    Corporate media has a “B-Roll” whenever there is an oil spill – where is their “B-Roll” for the dead birds and bats caused by Wind Power

    • #14
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