Category Archives: Opinion Makers

A collection of individuals who have made solid contributions to wind energy literature.

Harrison on Viability

John Harrison continues to produce high-quality papers on a variety of wind-turbine-related topics. Amherst Island, where John lives, is slated for a 75-mw project that is now in the planning stages. In an effort to give the financial backers of such a project something to think about, he looked at the economics of the Amherst project and their underlying assumptions – many of which are unrealistic and uncertain. In summary, there are any number of very plausible (even expected) things that can cause the returns from such a project to go negative.

Financial Viability of the Ontario Wind Energy Generating System

Continue reading Harrison on Viability

Harrison’s Latest Project

John Harrison, a retired physics professor, has been doing research and writing letters for several years now.  His latest is a 15-page compilation of all the ways CanWEA misrepresents the known facts about wind energy.  He sent this compilation to a number of government officials etc in December 2010 and has updated it recently.  His cover letter reads:
Dear xxxx
For some time I have been upset by the misinformation dispensed by the Canadian Wind Energy Authority
[sic – should be Association] and the way that it has been swallowed hook, line and sinker by environmental groups, government ministries, some journalists and of course by the wind industry. The attached report resulted from a study of the official transcript of evidence given to the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources in November, 2010. I hope that you will read it, be suitably embarrassed and use it to think more deeply about your support for renewable energy in its present form. The report was written primarily for the Senate Committee and went to all members of that committee in December, 2010. In its up-dated form it is being sent to various environmental groups, members of provincial parliament, government ministries and some journalists.
Yours sincerely,
John Harrison

Let me add a post-script: In parts of Ontario where wind energy developers are out persuading land-owners to sign leases, CanWEA is running ads in the local paper. It shows a smiling Angela Morin, owner of The Island Grill on Wolfe Island, and the following quote: “The wind farm project managers came to us and said we want to be part of the community, and they really lived up to that. The extra business allowed us to stay open during the winter, when we’re normally closed. The wind facility has also brought in some tourists who are curious to see what it’s all about.”  A WCO member in the region being canvassed by the developers contacted a member on Wolfe Island. He learnt the following: “Yes I’m from Wolfe Island. This lady’s [Angela Morin’s] restaurant has been closed up for the winter since before Christmas and it is for sale along with the island’s only hotel and only bakery and 2 bed and breakfasts and a boat building business all situated in the tiny village of Marysville.”

Harrison on Noise Over Water

John Harrison, retired physics professor from Queen’s University in Kingston, continues to produce thoughtful and well-written articles on various topics surrounding wind turbines.  This one discusses the propagation of noise over water, and how Ontario’s setback of 5KM is woefully inadequate.  It gets fairly technical, including research you won’t find in industry or government publications.

Harrison, Sound Propagation from Off-Shore Wind Turbines

Fair or Foul?

In Ontario there’s starting to be a great deal of interest in the wind energy industry in the media.  Initially, like most people, reporters were inclined to report favorably about the industry.  As the projects have gone in and people have started doing research and finding out how the benefits are illusory and the costs substantial, there’s been a shift in the media coverage.  In an attempt at presenting both sides of the story, Jonathan Sher has written an article that was published in a number of Ontario newspapers, in this case the Peterborough Examiner.  The article itself is not badly written for someone who is new to the discussion, but he gives far too much credence to people who, after all, have a financial stake in the industry.

In it, at the bottom, he includes eight reasons why wind “works”.  They are listed below, along with my take on each of them.  Needless to say, those benefits, when looked at closely, either disappear or are nonsensical. Continue reading Fair or Foul?

More on the Laws of Physics

In a previous post I discussed the WSJ article [backup link]from Robert Bryce and AWEA’s response – went dead, wonder why – [backup link] to it.  I recently reviewed that posting to see if it could be  made more accurate or more understandable.  As part of this review I created a transcription of Bode’s comments and added a “permanent” recording of them, given that they’re no longer on the front page of AWEA’s web site.  As I mentioned in the previous post, the point that rankled me the most was her assertion that “Any claim that adding wind energy to the electricity grid would not reduce carbon emissions violates the laws of physics.”  This assertion is nonsense, but it took me some time to come up with a reasonable analogy.  Here it is.  Continue reading More on the Laws of Physics

John Droz’s 15 Bad Things

John Droz Jr. has been writing about the problems of wind energy for the last several years.  I’ve linked to his site for quite some time now.  Like me he is relentlessly scientific, but unlike me his writing is better suited for a general audience.  Recently he wrote a posting for masterresource that is very good, and sums up quite well the trajectory of all the wind industry hype.

Original link, in masterresource.

Backup link.

In this posting, reference was made to an earlier slide presentation of Droz’s.  It is also well worth the time to look through.

AWEA Goes on the Attack

Over the last month the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has been lashing out with increasing energy at wind energy opponents. Like all industry lobbyist groups they tend to do their best work in secret, behind closed doors, working with compliant bureaucrats, politicians and scientists. It is unusual when they come out of the shadows and bother themselves with the public. Their web site’s home page suddenly features their CEO, Denise Bode, in a video along with a message that “The American Wind Energy Association thwarted another attack against renewable energy by the fossil fuel lobby last Friday as they attempted yet another anti-renewable energy PR push based on falsehoods and inaccurate reports.”  The previous sentence and her video contain so many untruths I’m not sure where to start.  But I’ll try. Continue reading AWEA Goes on the Attack

Parker Gallant Updates

Parker Gallant, a retired banker in Ontario, has been writing a number of articles that were published in several major Canadian newspapers.  Through mid-May 2010 there were 8 articles and I had previous published them at that time.  Since then he’s written 5 more articles and a letter and I’ve updated the original posting to reflect these additions.  He writes about Ontario’s green power frenzy from a banker’s financial perspective and it is not a pretty picture, unless you happen to be one of the hogs at the trough.

August 27, 2010 – Yet another article, in the Financial Post: Prices Up, Profits Down.

The Demon-Haunted World

I recently read Carl Sagan’s Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.  He’s a formidable writer and well known for his TV series and book, Cosmos.  He is also one of the most relentless evidence-based people I’ve ever read.  He didn’t want to believe, he wanted to know.  Below are a series of quotes from the book that have nothing directly to do with wind energy, but have everything to do with the unquestioning acceptance of it.  Read and think.

Continue reading The Demon-Haunted World

Parker Gallant Strikes Again

Parker Gallant is a retired banker who has been hounding the Ontario energy establishment for some time, as I’ve previously written.  His latest missive was a letter to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) complaining about their giving government money to support the private tax-exempt Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA).  OSEA presented themselves as an interest group for the public, but what they really are is a front for the government itself and the wind industry.

Continue reading Parker Gallant Strikes Again

Michael Treblicock

Michael Treblicock is a law and economics professor at the University of Toronto.  He has written several articles about the folly of wind energy, both from an economic and an environmental aspect.

The Perils of Picking Winners, original link to Energy Probe site.

Blowing Away Taxpayers, original link to National Post.

Backup Links, to this site.

Wind Power is a Complete Disaster

The Perils of Picking Winners

Blowing Away Taxpayers

Tony Keller on the CBC

Has the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corp, owned by the Canadian government) finally turned away from the dark side of the force?  For those who don’t watch these things, the CBC has been one of wind’s best boosters.  They even sponsored a CanWEA conference.  So much for unbiased.   Thus I was quite surprised when I saw this editorial there.  In brief Mr. Keller rips Mr. McGuinty, Ontario’s premier, a new one.  What Ontario is doing with green energy just makes no sense to him, as it makes no sense to anyone who doesn’t profit from it.

Mighty Winds and Other Perverse Earth Day Incentives, original link.

Mighty Winds, backup link

Lamar Alexander’s 5 Speeches

Lamar Alexander, Republican Senator from Tennessee, has been an outspoken opponent of the wind energy rush. Some part of that may be conviction and some part may be that Oak Ridge is in Tennessee and he favors nuclear in its place.  But apart from his obvious local motivations he presents a fair case for his opinions. He certainly has access to good research so I assume his facts are accurate and just the facts contained in these speeches are worth the time to read even if you are not so keen on nuclear.

Alexander’s Five Speeches, original link, 3.7mb

Backup link.

Update, June 12, 2010

In response to the oil spill in the Gulf, the senator proposed 10 actions, one of which was to eliminate our fascination with wind power.

Lamar Alexander, “An energy strategy for grown-ups

Backup Link.

Parker Gallant

Parker Gallant is a retired banker in Ontario, and he’s become very interested in how his power bills keep going up.  While he has no experience in the power sector, he obviously knows how to read financial statements and what questions to ask.  The National Post has published a series of articles where Gallant relates what he has found, and what he has found is just a mess. Continue reading Parker Gallant

Bill Palmer

William Palmer is a Professional Engineer who accepted an early leave from paid employment to be able to apply his skills and knowledge to issues facing his neighbours.  He has extensive experience in risk management at the Bruce nuclear facility (Ontario) and has been studying the various issues surrounding wind turbines for several years. His papers represent a valuable contribution to the discussion. I reference them throughout this site in the appropriate sections, but I thought it would be handy to also reference them from one place.

Continue reading Bill Palmer

John Harrison

John Harrison, a retired physics professor who lives on Amherst Island, has been studying various aspects of wind turbines. He started with noise and is now expanded to electrical generation patterns. His papers and letters represent original and important contributions to the discussion. They are referenced in the appropriate sections of this site, and I thought it would be useful to additionally reference them all from one place, in reverse chronological order.

Continue reading John Harrison

Opinion Makers Home

While doing my research on wind turbines, I’ve come across a number of writers who have produced consistently well-thought-out analyses of different aspects of them.  These articles are of course included in the appropriate categories, and in addition I am spotlighting them here on an individual basis.