Glenn R. Schleede: False claims that “wind farms” provide large economic and job benefits

We thank Mr. Schleede for granting permission to post his recent commentary:

January 3, 2011

False claims that “wind farms” provide large economic and job benefits

One would think that by now Obama Administration officials would admit that “wind farms” do not provide large economic and job benefits. However, recent Administration statements suggest the delusion continues and, perhaps, that officials do not understand why their expectations are unrealistic.

False expectations may be due to the infamous “JEDI” model (Jobs and Economic Development Impact model) developed for DOE’s National Renewable Energy “Laboratory” (NREL) by a wind industry consultant-lobbyist. Unfortunately, this “model” (paid for with our tax dollars) has been widely promoted by NREL and DOE and outputs from the model are used by “wind farm” developers to mislead the public, media, and government officials.

Economic models often produce false or misleading outputs because (a) the model itself is faulty, and/or (b) unrealistic assumptions are “fed into” to model, with the result that the models overstate national, state, and/or local job and other economic benefits. In the case of wind energy models, basic flaws and faulty assumptions often include one or more of the following:

1. Ignoring the fact that much of the capital cost of “wind farms” is for equipment purchased elsewhere, often imported from other countries. Some wind energy advocates claim that wind turbines are “manufactured” in the US when, in fact, they are merely assembled in the US using imported parts and components. About 75% of the capital cost of “wind farms” is for turbines, turbine parts and components, towers and blades – so a large share of the “wind farm” cost is for imports. These add to the outflow of wealth from the US and provide no economic or job benefits in the US.

2. Assuming that employment during project construction results in new jobs for local workers — when most “wind farm” construction jobs are short term (6 months or less) and the overwhelming share of them are filled by specialized workers who are brought in temporarily.

3. Assuming that the very few permanent “wind farm” jobs are new jobs filled by local workers – when, in fact, these few permanent jobs are often filled by people brought in for short periods. Some “wind farm” owners contracts with suppliers of wind turbines and other equipment for maintenance work with the result that no “new” jobs for local workers are added.

4. Assuming that temporary workers who are brought in for short periods live and spend their pay checks — and pay taxes — locally when, in fact, these workers spend most of their wages where they and their families have permanent residences — where the workers spend most of their weekends and where they pay nearly all of their taxes.

5. Assuming that the full purchase price of the goods and services purchased locally (often minimal in any case) has a local economic benefit. In fact, only the local value added may have a local economic benefit. This truth is illustrated by the purchase of a gallon of gasoline — let’s say for $3.00. Only the wages of the service station employees, the dealer’s margin, and the taxes paid locally or to the state mayl have a local or state economic benefit. Economic benefits associated with the share of the $3.00 that pays for the crude oil (much of it imported), refining, wholesaling, and transportation generally flows elsewhere.

6. Assuming that land rental payments to land owners for allowing wind turbines all have local economic benefit. In fact, these payments will have little or no local economic benefit when the payments are to

absentee landowners OR if the money is spent or invested elsewhere or is used to pay income taxes that flow to Washington DC or state capitals.

7. Using “input-output” models that spit out “indirect” job and other economic benefits that, in effect, magnify (a) all of the overestimates identified above, and (b) use unproven formula and data to calculate alleged “multiplier” effects.

8. Ignoring the environmental and economic COSTS imposed by “wind farm” development, which include (a) environmental, ecological, and economic costs associated with the production of the equipment, and constructing and operating the “wind farm” (e.g., site and road clearing, (b) wildlife habitat destruction, noise, bird and bat kills and interference with migration and refuges, (c) scenic impairment, (d) neighboring property value impairment, and (e) infrastructure costs.

9. Ignoring the fact that electricity produced from wind turbines, has less real value than electricity from reliable generating units — because that output is intermittent, volatile and unreliable. Also, the electricity is most likely to be produced at night in colder months, not on hot weekday late afternoons in July and August when demand is high and the economic value of electricity is high.

10. Ignoring the “backup power” costs; i.e., the added cost resulting from having to keep reliable generating units immediately available (often running at less than peak efficiency) to keep electric grids in balance when those grids have to accept intermittent, volatile and unreliable output from “wind farms.”

11. Ignoring the fact that electricity from “wind farms” in remote areas generally results in high unit costs of transmission due to (a) the need to add transmission capacity, (b) the environmental, scenic and property value costs associated with transmission lines, (c) the electric transmission “line losses” (i.e., electricity produced by generating units but lost during transmission and never reaches customers or serves a useful purpose), and (d) inefficient use of transmission capacity because “wind farms” output is intermittent and unpredictable and seldom at the capacity of the transmission line that must be built to serve the “wind farm.”

12. Ignoring the fact that the higher true cost of the electricity from wind is passed along to ordinary electric customers and taxpayers via electric bills and tax bills which means that people who bear the costs have less money to spend on other needs (food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care — or hundreds of other things normally purchased in local stores), thus reducing the jobs associated with that spending and undermining local economies that would benefit from supplying these needs.

13. Perhaps most important, ignoring the fact that the investment dollars going to “renewable” energy sources would otherwise be available for investment for other purposes that would produce greater economic benefits. “Wind farms” have very high capital costs and relatively low operating costs compared to generating units using traditional energy sources. They also create far fewer jobs, particularly long-term jobs, and far fewer local economic benefits. “Wind farms” are simply a poor choice if the goals are to create jobs, add local economic benefits, or hold down electric bills.

Glenn R. Schleede

Round Hill, VA 20141-2574

Allegheny Treasures Note:  “Mr. Schleede is the author of many papers and reports on energy matters.  He is now retired but continues to analyze and write about federal and state energy policies, particularly those affecting wind energy.”

“Until retiring, Schleede maintained a consulting practice, Energy Market and Policy Analysis, Inc. (EMPA)  Prior to forming EMPA, Schleede was Vice President of New England Electric System (NEES), Westborough, MA, and President of its fuels subsidiary, New England Energy Incorporated. Previously, Schleede was Executive Associate Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (1981), Senior VP of the National Coal Association in Washington (1977) and Associate Director (Energy and Science) of the White House Domestic Council (1973).  He also held career service positions in the U.S. OMB and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.”

“He has a BA degree from Gustavus Adolphus College and an MA from the University of Minnesota.  He is also a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.

 

Sponsored Writing

ALG Property Management provides the most comprehensive commercial property management San Antonio has to offer. Call us today to see how you can leave the management of your commercial properties to the professionals. Are you in the market for an experienced commercial real estate professional to manage your property? ALG Property Management provides the rental property management San Antonio trusts to take care of residential and commercial property rentals. Commercial real estate comes with complicated management requirements to run the property smoothly and at a profit. Call ALG Property Management and learn about the servicing options for investment properties San Antonio uses for quality management. ALG Property Management provides the kind of commercial real estate services for property management Boerne TX property owners have used for years. Call us today for complete information on our professional management services for commercial and residential properties.  Do you need professionals to help manage your commercial real estate investment? ALG Property Management offers the kind of professional property management San Antonio TX has come to expect. Call today for complete information. Having real estate professionals take care of your home, apartment, and condo management services provides flexibility and savings. ALG Property Management is among the top residential property management companies offering comprehensive management services.  Looking for an experienced, respected company to help with the single family property management of your properties? Call ALG Property Management today to find out what we can do to manage your rental homes, apartment complexes, or condos.

If you’re looking for the Cheapest Defensive Driving Texas course out there, then Premier Defensive Driving is the best option. Premier Defensive Driving takes pride in delivering courses in a seamless fashion and providing a user-friendly experience. Not many online defensive driving programs provide a course that encourage competencies and skills on the road.

Are you looking for an affordable, easy way to take care of a traffic ticket? Call Premiere Defensive Driving today for details of our court-approved online course on defensive driving El Paso TX drivers can use clear tickets for their permanent driving records.

Do you need an inexpensive, fast way to rid your driving ticket of a traffic ticket? Just pass our online course on defensive driving in Tyler TX and get a certificate to present to the court. Call Premiere Defensive Driving for all the details.

Want an easy way to earn a certificate that will get your traffic ticket removed you’re your driving record? Call Premiere Defensive Driving today for complete information on our quick, affordable online defensive driving classes in Lubbock TX for just $25!

People who need a quick way to get a traffic ticket off driving records use the Premiere Defensive Driving online class on defensive driving Arlington TX trust. Call us today for complete information to learn how to get your traffic dismissed for just $25!

Are you a Texas driver with an outstanding traffic ticket? Premiere Defensive Driving offers online defensive driving classes Austin drivers trust to get your traffic ticket dismissed and removed from your permanent driving record. Call today for details.

Stuck with an outstanding traffic ticket you need to take care of? Take the quick, affordable online course on defensive driving in Plano from Premiere Defensive Driving. Call today to learn how you can get your ticket dismissed and off your record in 6 hours.

If you received a traffic ticket and want to get it off your record, call Premiere Defensive Driving today. Pass the easy online course on defensive driving Waco TX drivers trust and your ticket will be dismissed in a Texas judge.

Are you looking for an inexpensive, quick solution to a traffic ticket problem? Pass the online course on defensive driving Beaumont TX drivers take to get tickets dismissed. Call Premiere Defensive Driving today and get your traffic ticket off your driving record.

Do you have an outstanding traffic ticket in Texas? Quick, affordable classes on online defensive driving Garland drivers trust can get your ticket dismissed. Call Premiere Defensive Driving today to find out how your ticket can go away in just 6 hours.

Are you stressing over a traffic ticket on your driving record? Premiere Defensive Driving offers a stress-free, cheap way to take care of it with easy online defensive driving classes Missouri City drivers use to have traffic tickets dismissed for just $25!

Worrying about a recent traffic ticket? Take care of it by passing the online class on defensive driving classes Temple TX drivers trust to get traffic tickets dismissed. Call Premiere Defensive Driving today to find out how to get yours taken off your driving record.

Fees add up when traffic tickets are left unresolved. Premiere Defensive Driving is the solution. Take the affordable online class on defensive driving course College Station trust to have traffic tickets dismissed and their driving records restored for just $25.

Take care of your outstanding traffic ticket today. Call Premiere Defensive Driving for information about online courses on defensive driving Grand Prairie TX drivers use to tickets dismissed and removed from their records.

Take the fastest defensive driving course in Texas to get your traffic ticket dismissed and removed from your permanent driving record. Call Premiere Defensive Driving for complete information on clearing up your traffic ticket for only $25.

If you want to find great Birthday Party Venues in Orlando then you are not alone. However, your search doesn’t have to keep going. With Mia’ Italian Kitchen, you will have the best authentic Italian food at your convenience. Enjoy event coordination services to take care of menus, seating, and more.

It Orlando Italian Food can be hard to come by if you’re looking for something authentic. But that’s why Mia’s Italian Kitchen is so popular in the area. With a variety of pastas, traditional dishes, wines and more, you’ll be satisfied. The excellent service is what really sets this restaurant apart.

Wanting to take your friends to the best International Drive Happy Hour that Orlando has to offer? Look no further than  Mia’s Italian Kitchen. They really put their customers first in more ways than one. From the service, to the food quality, you will be pleasantly surprised.

It’s time for Bottomless Brunch Orlando! Come to Mia’s Italian Kitchen. Here, you are family. You’ll be treated like you deserve to be. Plus, once you’re done with one round, you can go back for more delicious food and indulge in it at your hearts content. It’s what makes brunch so great.

If you want that home-cooked feeling when you go out this holiday, be sure to go to Mia’s Italian Kitchen for Thanksgiving Dinner in Orlando. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, and sides are all available. Plus, there will even be a few Italian twists to keep things interesting. That is not to mention the beautiful environment.

If you want excellent Orlando Italian Catering, you’re in luck. Mia’s Italian Kitchen is the best option in town. No matter what your party requires, they have it all. From wine, to snacks, to vegetables, to main courses, and. Everything is prepared fresh in a kitchen with authentic flair.

Check out Mia’s Italian Kitchen for the Best Orlando Wedding Caterers you’ve ever worked with. A wedding is an important day. On this big occasion, make sure you have the best caterers in the city working for you. They will deliver fresh, delicious food so the entire wedding party is pleased.

Mia’s Italian Kitchen is the best out of all the Orlando Convention Center Restaurants that you could select from. No matter whether you feel like a family night out, a romantic evening, or something else, it will be possible. The excellent waiting staff and chefs are there to serve you.

Trying to book a Birthday Party Venue in Orlando? Mia’s Italian Kitchen is what you want. You won’t have to worry about a thing. Simply show up and let them serve great food to you with great service to boot. Your entire party will be enjoying themselves as they eat authentic cuisine. You really can’t find this level of food and service anywhere else at these reasonable rates.

If you’re on the search for Family Photographers Austin can rave about then look no further. Claire with Rising Oak Images understands what makes a moment special and can capture that. She has a certain sensibility for the surroundings of the moment and knows how to take images in the best areas of Austin. Austin Residents can trust that the images will stand out amongst the other images you have.

Are you looking for an Austin Newborn Photographer? If so you’re in luck since Claire at Rising Oak Images excels in newborn photography.

One of the most beautiful gifts in life is motherhood and there is nothing better than a Maternity Photographer in Austin that can capture the moment in action. At Rising Oak Images there is an understanding of how important this moment is and you will be ecstatic with the results.

Do you need Kids Photography in Austin? If so reach out to Rising Oak Images and get nothing but the best services out there. The photographs are unlike anything else out there. The memories that are captured are worth it. Reach out to them today.

You will love our Northlake Family Dentistry new office, which fully utilizes advanced state of the art technology. Our new 3D x-ray machine is super-fast and minimizes radiation exposure. There is a playroom for the kids so they can enjoy movies or use the game console. Each operatory has overhead television sets so you can relax and watch a movie while you are receiving treatment. Our massaging dental chairs will help you relax making treatment enjoyable.