Given California’s recent disastrous failure to provide enough electricity to residents during a massive heatwave due to an over-reliance on “renewable energy sources,” it might be a good time to revisit some remarks about windmills Trump made last April at a fundraiser.
“If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 percent in value. And they say the noise causes cancer. And of course, it’s like a graveyard for birds. If you love birds, you never want to walk under a windmill, because it’s a sad, sad sight. It’s like a cemetery. We put a little statue for the poor birds. It’s true. In California, if you shoot a bald eagle, they put you in jail for five years. And yet the windmills wipe them all out. It’s true.”
Of course, nothing sends the ever-vigilant guardians of the establishment narrative, known by that quintessential piece of Orwellian doublespeak as “fact-checkers,” scurrying to their keyboards faster than when Donald Trump points out something nobody’s supposed to be noticing.
The grifters over at Politifact – who double-down on the doublespeak and add a heaping dose of cringe by labeling themselves the “Truth Squad” – gave Trump’s remarks on the noise windmills generate causing cancer their lowest “Pants on Fire” rating.
One shudders to think that people who use “pants on fire” as a serious evaluative term are allowed to vote.
But it does explain a lot.
The reason Trump’s pants were judged to be ablaze is:
The Australian parliament took the question seriously enough to form a Select Committee on Wind Turbines. The group was sympathetic to personal reports of discomfort, and the list of ailments it heard was long: “tinnitus, raised blood pressure, heart palpitations, tachycardia, stress, anxiety, vertigo, dizziness,” and more [my emphasis].
But no one complained of cancer.
Ha! People have only credibly claimed that living near windmills causes, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, and all the rest of that long but incomplete list of ailments.
But not cancer.
Take that, Trumptards!
And Politifact doesn’t mention that both the major U.S. and Canadian windmill lobbying outfits themselves concluded that “a subset of annoyance reactions” to living in close proximity to the unrelenting irritating noise their product produces includes most of the above ailments plus:
- sleep disturbance
- ear pressure
- blurry vision
- concentration and memory problems
And my personal favorite:
- Panic episodes associated with sensations of internal pulsation or quivering when awake or asleep.
Sounds delightful. Surprised they don’t put all that stuff in their brochures.
Given that even two groups whose raison d’être is shilling for windmills make them sound like instruments of torture, you may be surprised to learn that the fact-checkers at CNN were skeptical of Trump’s claim that they lower property values.
Since CNN calls their fact-checking feature Facts First, naturally, they begin by stating their conclusion:
While some properties can see a decrease in value when turbines are planned and constructed nearby, several major academic studies found no statistically significant decrease in the average property value due to wind turbines in the US.
But, when Facts First starts presenting the facts they’ve saved for last, we learn that:
- The study was funded by the completely unbiased Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the US Department of Energy and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
- Its author explicitly told CNN that “‘[t]here have been individual homes that have been adversely impacted by wind turbines,’…noting the difference between individual homes and looking at the overall average.”
- That “overall average” was arrived at by considering home sales within 10 miles of a windmill.
And, a fact that you might think was relevant to the conclusion Facts First starts out with:
- “[M]any real estate groups have found” a decrease in property value due to wind turbines in the local areas they serve.
Though Trump neglected to express any skepticism about whether windmills are a viable source of power at that fundraiser, a month earlier, during a speech at CPAC, he did remark that “[w]hen the wind stops blowing, that’s the end of your electric.”
And apart from windmills running off of… you know… wind, another sign he was on to something is that Politifact didn’t judge his pants to be on fire but, instead, resorted to the less devastating critique that his obviously true claim was “mostly false” because:
Experts noted that utilities typically use a mix of sources to generate energy, including some, like natural gas, that aren’t susceptible to running out if the winds are low.
Who would have guessed? Good thing they had “experts” on call to deliver that piece of information.
But even Politifact was forced to acknowledge the obviously true fact Trump was expressing and, hence, tacitly admit that their “mostly false” rating was totally false:
In his CPAC speech, Trump’s criticism of wind energy grew out of his broader disapproval of the Green New Deal.
It’s in that context that Trump has a point, said Benjamin Zycher, a resident scholar at the market-oriented American Enterprise Institute who has written a forthcoming book critiquing the Green New Deal.
“If you define the wind power as envisioned by Trump as part of a ‘100% renewable system’ or something approaching it — as defined, say, in the Green New Deal — then Trump is correct.”
So, yes, surprising as it is, windmills really do stop generating power when there’s no wind.
Moreover, despite all the media gaslighting on the subject, windmills are an egregiously inefficient way to generate power that no one would even consider apart from the profit to be made from government subsidies. As Warren Buffet revealed with admirable honesty:
“I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate [. . .] We get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”
And, if you’re inclined to think that “saving the environment” is worth making Warren Buffet and other fatcats that much fatter, guess again. It turns out that at least 11 studies have shown that windmills themselves contribute significantly to warming the planet due to “actively mixing the atmosphere near the ground and aloft while simultaneously extracting from the atmosphere’s motion.”
In fact, according to some research out of Harvard, the warming effect of a windmill turns out to be larger than what’s offset by the reduced emissions from burning fossil fuels for the first century of its operation.
Though, since windmills are only built to last around 20 years, you’d need to replace it four or five times before you got to the point where’d you’d be doing anything for the planet.
And one aspect of the monstrous damage windmills do to our ecology that even the “fact-checkers” don’t dispute is Trump’s remarks about the way they massacre birds.
In an article detailing the slaughter, the Audobon society notes that they’re “notorious bird killers,” citing studies estimating that somewhere between 140,000 to 328,000 birds meet a grisly end in the blades of windmills every year.
And, thanks to one of the last acts of President Obama, that includes the endangered species bald eagles and golden eagles. As the Associated Press noted when Obama put the new rule into effect in December of 2016:
Under the new rule, wind companies and other power providers will not face a penalty if they kill or injure up to 4,200 bald eagles, nearly four times the current limit. Deaths of the more rare golden eagles would be allowed without penalty so long as companies minimize losses.
But, since “reporting of eagle mortality is voluntary,” even the requirement concerning golden eagles is entirely toothless.
The AP does, however, note that “Trump could change the rule or scrap it, but the process would likely take months or years.”
Wouldn’t it be something watching Democrat heads explode as they’re forced to choose between defending windmills or endangered species if he started the ball rolling?