Mar 15

In this news report from Portland, Oregon’s KATU, friend of the blog, Todd Wynn of the Cascade Policy Institute reveals some of the inconvenient truths about wind power. In fact Wynn says a Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) official candidly admitted to him that wind farms actually create more CO2 emissions. Huh? The reporter explains:

Wynn says a BPA staffer admitted to his think tank that wind does not reduce carbon emissions saying, quote:

“No. They’re in fact, creating emissions.”

That’s because when wind blows, the dam or fossil fuel back-up doesn’t shut down – it takes too long to start up. Think of it like this: When you are stopped at a red light, you don’t turn off the car, you just put your foot on the brake. Even though you’re stopped, that engine is still running, and just like your car, this spinning reserve mode, as it’s called, consumes energy.

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8 Responses to “Video: Power company official reveals that wind farms are ‘in fact, creating emissions’”

  1. It’s a good thing that power plant is still spinning in reserve mode. Imagine the power brown and black outs that would occur every time the unreliable wind decided to die down. Never quite understood why anyone would want to rely on the weather for an energy source.


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  3. This TV story misrepresents the BPA staffer’s statement and seriously misconstrues the interaction between the hydroelectric dams and wind power. Wind energy reduces the use of fossil fuels and carbon emissions. Wind backed up by hydropower, as we have in the Northwest, is completely renewable and emission-free. When wind generates power, dams do not continue generating wasted power too, as the story suggests. Rather, the turbines slow down and less water flows past. That water is then available later to generate power if wind drops off or in place of fossil fuel generation.

    For more on what we’re doing, see

    Wind power has clearly reduced use of natural gas or other fossil fuels to generate power in the Northwest. A decade ago, BPA expected to have to build power lines to accommodate all the natural gas plants utilities had planned to meet increased demand. Today we’re building those lines to connect wind power projects. Many of the natural gas plants were canceled. Wind power has expanded instead of natural gas or other fossil-fuel-powered electricity generation.

    Michael Milstein
    BPA Public Affairs Office.


  4. Todd says:

    There are no misrepresentations of the BPA staffer. BPA has admitted that because of the large influx of wind, there will need to be natural gas facilities utilized to back this power up. Currently only hydro is used and building up the small amount of water behind the dams (that would have been generating electricity anyhow so the argument is moot) causes a number of environmental issues.

    There is no evidence that wind power is likely to have a significant impact on carbon emissions. The European experience is enlightening. Denmark, the world’s most wind intensive nation with more than 6,000 turbines generating 19% of its electricity, has yet to close a single fossil fuel plant. It requires 50% more coal-generated electricity to cover wind power’s unpredictability, pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen by 36% in 2006 alone.

    Flemming Nissen, the head of development at West Danish generating company ELSAM (one of Denmark’s largest energy utilities) admits that “wind turbines do not reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”

    The German experience is no different. Der Spiegel reports that “Germany’s CO2 emissions haven’t been reduced by even a single gram,” and additional coal and gas-fired plants have been constructed to ensure reliable delivery.

    Indeed, recent academic research shows that wind power may actually increase greenhouse gas emissions in some cases, depending on the carbon-intensity of back-up generation required because of its intermittent character.

    Also, Basin Electric Power Cooperative (BEPC) Representative Jeremy Woeste has attested that when the Cooperative becomes “more serious” about wind production, they will build additional natural gas facilities just to back up the wind. When asked if the integrated wind would lead to the closing of traditional power facilities, like coal, Woeste stated, “No, there’s no plan to shut facilities down. . . . We will always need something to back [wind power] up.”

    ERCOT representative, Warren Lasher stated that although wind power is being developed in Texas, investors are working toward building a larger number of coal powered plants (always need reliable power…there is never a coal facility shut down because of a wind farm). Lasher also stated that while wind power for Texas can generally be forecasted 48 hours in advance, there are backup resources of natural gas solely operating to make up for inconsistencies.


  5. Klockarman says:

    In case he is not subscribed to the comments on this post, approximately 24 hours ago I e-mailed Michael Milstein at the BPA letting him know that Todd Wynn of Cascade Policy Institute had responded to his critical commentary of the KATU news video and of Wynn’s contention that a BPA official admitted to him that wind farms increase CO2 emissions. So far, crickets chirping. Mr. Milstein, if you are out there, readers are awaiting your response.


    • Klockarman says:

      Via e-mail, the BPA’s Michael Milstein has declined my invitation to respond to Todd Wynn’s reply to Milstein’s initial comments. Milstein basically channels the legendary Roberto Duran who after being pummeled by Sugar Ray Leonard asked to quit their fight by pleading, “no más”:

      Thanks for the invitation and the interesting dialogue, but I think the previous comments stand.


      Michael, the invitation is still open. You’re welcome back anytime.


  6. Rural Grubby says:

    Thanks for this posting. I found it interesting how the BPA official scurries in the end to counter how emissions increase with wind energy, by stating that better wind forecasts will lessen the need for fossil fuel reserves. We can barely forecast huricanes, how does he think we can forecast drops in wind speed that happen in matter of seconds? I’m so tired of all the lies. Signed a resident living with 24 industrial wind turbines swooshing and twirling over my head at 640 metresfrom my back door because so many are living under the delusion that this is better than doing nothing towards the AGW issue.


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