Wind benefits don’t add up

by Brian Drouillard, Windsor Star
Re: Benefits of wind power, guest column, by Chris Forrest, Nov. 12.
I read today a guest column by Chris Forrest, the vicepresident of communications at the Canadian Wind Energy Association, on the subject of the benefits of wind power. As I read the column, I was interested to see the following numbers: 1,388 megawatts of new wind capacity electricity projected to come online in 2011, almost $3.5 billion of investment represented by this new capacity and 13,500 person/years of employment created (not projected).

As soon as I see someone using person years to describe a benefit instead of the actual number of jobs created and that there is a time limit at all, it gets my attention and makes me ask, so what does this mean in how many jobs created, for how long and at what cost in investment needed per job?

So I worked some numbers out. If the average job is equal to 2,080 hours of work per year (my assumption) then 13,500 person years could be one person for 6.5 years, or two people for 3.2 years and so on.

If the investment is $3.5 billion, then that means to create one job, you need $3.5 billion of investment for 6.5 years of work or $539 million per year, two jobs would be $547 million per job or $1.094 billion total and so on. Since there are fewer years of work per person, the total cost per year goes up.

To go a little further, anyone making investments of this magnitude expects a return on the investment which runs the range from zero (not realistic) to 25 per cent (a gold mine) annually. So this means that the real costs to create jobs is higher than I have shown because the investor wants the return.

If our government is looking to support these types of programs, we the taxpayers need to look at the politicians supporting them with a very critical eye and make sure we get very detailed information from them as to why and what information they are viewing that convinced them.

I, for one, am not convinced at all about what the benefits of wind energy really are. If the measurement of a benefit is safe, clean and sustainable energy at any cost, then yes, I would have to concede that this technology is a benefit. But I view energy benefits as reasonable cost versus current costs and future costs and this technology does not meet these criteria.

BRIAN J. DROUILLARD, Windsor

7 thoughts on “Wind benefits don’t add up

    • IWTs, a technology that dosen’t work to begin with, is being sold to the public as a job creator which it is not. The issue here is why use a technology that dosen’t work to produce few jobs. This is not logical. The money would be better spent elswhere to create lots of jobs.

      • I agree with you completely. The problem is when articles like this are published and the author has clearly made a very large miscalculation it gives Mr. Forrest and CanWEA all the evidence they need to say those opposed have no idea what they are talking about.

        You cannot fight the wind industry with emotion, bad math and rhetoric because they will just pay their way through that. You need logical, INTELLIGENT arguments backed by solid evidence. And the evidence is out there it’s just unfortunate these are the types of articles that end up getting published.

  1. Under the microscope!

    Councillor sings – the ‘pathetic blues’!
    – it appears hired staff just – loafers

    [excerpt from above article]
    If our government is looking to support these types of programs, we the taxpayers need to look at the politicians supporting them with a very critical eye and make sure we get very detailed information from them as to why and what information they are viewing that convinced them.

    One example of Pathetic!
    Councillor ‘overworked’ – needs ‘reading assistant’!

    “We can’t just read a water and wastewater report,” he added. “We have to know it inside and out because we are liable if something happens.”

    The average council agenda is 200 to 300 pages long.

    “That’s just the agenda. You still need to do background research,” Fogarty said. “To prepare for a Monday night council meeting, you’re a minimum 10 to 15 hours.”

    Pathetic! Oh, here it comes –
    Are you ready?

    Fogarty said council must increase the remuneration to “diversify the council.”

    “If you don’t just want independently wealthy, or retired people on a pension, you want the wealth of opinion … you need to make it affordable for different people to run.”

    http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3370807

    History on display!
    Pathetic X2

    Re read – “……. you need to make it affordable for different people to run.”
    Disgusting!

  2. “If the measurement of a benefit is safe, clean and sustainable energy at any cost, then yes, I would have to concede that this technology is a benefit.” The technology does not provide safe, clean and sustainable energy so how can wind technology be a benefit. Why is it authors’ do a bit of math and then assume IWT developments provide any useful power. If IWTs worked Germany and Denmark would not be building more gas and coal power stations. Has consumer demand grown so much or is it the IWTs that are sucking energy out of the system? IWT companies are given unlimited access to free electricity off the grid for their turbines to use or waste as they want and we pay for it. What is stopping the wind companies from at times recycling that electricity? Is that the “free power” they are talking about? Why should we be paying for the electricity IWTs use? Are we to trust IWT companies to not be fraudulent and to use what power is needed wisely?

    • An IWT is lightning rod with an attached generation & grounding system. The taller the IWT is the greater the chance it will be struck by lightning. IWTs are being installed in Ontario which is one of the lightning capitals of the world. Not such a great idea is it!

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