Human Events Blog

The Failure of Green Energy

 

Yesterday Rush Limbaugh discussed a UK Telegraph story from early January, in which reporter Louise Gray details the sad underperformance of Britain’s wind farms during the holiday season.  Actually, “underperformance” is a very charitable word.  The windmills were pretty much useless.

“Despite high demand for electricity as people shivered at home over Christmas,” writes Gray, “most of the 3,000 wind turbines around Britain stood still due to a lack of wind.”  Reading further, we learn that even “useless” is too kind a word for the wind farms, because they were actually worse than useless: “The wind turbines may even use up electricity during a calm period, as they were rotated in order to keep the mechanical parts working.”

Britons can rest assured their landscape will soon be marred by thousands more of these wind turbine albatrosses, as the government plans to double their number over the next ten years.  No amount of miserable failure will change these plans, as they have been dictated by religious edict from the Church of Global Warming, not scientific reason or engineering reality.

Gray’s article concludes with some helpful news that the coming weekend would be a bit more windy, so maybe the wind farms would actually choke out a few volts of power.  She skeptically delivers the news of an “exciting green revolution” declared by the British Transportation Secretary, in which the government would spend 43 million pounds subsidizing the purchases of electric cars that could kill hapless citizens during cold winters.

Limbaugh’s other big environmental story yesterday was about the unsuitability of electric cars for winter driving, referencing a Charles Lane piece in the Washington Post about how battery performance degrades in cold weather, which would leave people stuck in the snow freezing to death inside their electric cars.

Throw in the obvious problem with solar power, which doesn’t work very well in the absence of bright sunlight, and you’ve got the common thread running through all of the “green energy” boondoggles: they take away your ability to control your own life, and put you back at the mercy of the elements.

One of the defining characteristics of industrial technology is man’s victory over environmental forces.  Gas and electric lighting allowed our days to extend long past sunset.  Internal combustion freed us from the bonds of geography, when only a few generations ago, most common folk rarely ventured beyond their home towns and villages.  Gas and electric heating allowed us to conduct normal lives in the face of bitter winters, broken only by occasional pauses during the worst snowstorms.  There have been a few bad days throughout the Northeast during this cold and snowy winter, to be sure… but not far outside the light of living memory, there was a time when people were obliged to stockpile supplies and virtually hibernate through the icy funeral of the old year, and the frigid birth of the new.

With relatively rare and brief exceptions, you can live your life as you wish, go where you want, and conduct business during any hour of any season, thanks to modern technology.  “Green energy” changes all that.  Like Louise Gray’s poor readers in England, you’ll be forced to watch the weather reports to find out how much electricity you’ll have over the weekend.  Like Charles Lane’s electric car owners, you’ll check those weather reports before you dare to unplug the Volt and inch out of your driveway.  Your freedom will be reduced, and it will happen because the government has stripped the bounty of modern technology from you. 

No wonder President Obama was so keen for more government spending on Internet access in his State of the Union address.  In the pre-industrial world his fanatical environmentalist allies envision, we’ll need the Internet to function at all during inclement weather, because it will be madness to stray more than a few feet from the fireplace… just as it was for our ancestors, before the dawn of the 20th century, an era the “climate change” religion wishes to repeal.

 


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