Solving Africa’s Energy Poverty, Part 2

Why Wind Power is a poor choice for developing countries
Wind turbines share pastures with native herdsmen

In an energy starved developing country an all-of-the-above approach is best, combining fossil fuel, hydroelectric, geothermal, and nuclear, where available, and possibly supplemented by wind and solar “renewable” and “sustainable” methods which are recommended and allowed by environmentalists, but which are the worst possible alternatives.

Wind power relies on huge wind turbines on towers to generate electricity in a narrow range of wind speeds.  The amount of power generated is both unpredictable and intermittent because wind is not constant and wind speed unpredictably varies widely from none to gale-force levels that would damage the system if not switched off. Another power source must be available to supply backup power. Fossil fuel power plants require hours to start up due to the time required to heat water to steam. Such a process is both time consuming and expensive. Therefore, they must be kept at the ready constantly to provide backup power more quickly. Wind power, at best, can be only a supplemental source. Here are a few other negative facts:

  • Wind turbines require expensive regular maintenance and replacement, and their efficiency declines with age. Estimated to last twenty to twenty-five years, more typically they require frequent repair over ten to fifteen years of life.
  • Most wind turbines require large rare earth magnets (neodymium and dysprosium) obtained from Mongolia by a mining and refining process that results in mountains of toxic and radioactive solid wastes and contaminated lakes. The rare earth elements are called that because they are not found in rich veins like other ores, but are diffusely dispersed, so they produce huge amounts of wastes, including radioactive elements such as uranium and thorium, when refined. Since neodymium/dysprosium magnets are ten times stronger than conventional magnets, they are needed to convert the slow rotation of the rotor into useful electricity; otherwise complex gears would be needed to achieve the 1500 RPM generation speeds necessary with conventional magnets. Rare earth metals are used in small amounts in catalytic converters, display screens, audio speakers and miniaturized electronics, but the amounts are tiny compared to the hundreds or thousands of pounds needed for a single turbine.
  • Wind turbines kill large numbers of birds and bats, including endangered raptors. Birds and bats are needed to reduce populations of insects such as mosquitoes. Insect eating species of bats can eat one thousand insects an hour, or five to six thousand each night. While the environmental activists claim to be protecting wildlife, they don’t seem to be concerned about wind turbines killing bats and birds, especially large predators.
  • Wind turbines produce low frequency sound, including infrasound that our ears cannot detect. However, infrasound can cause unsettling and harmful physical symptoms such as “nausea and confusion, blurred vision, vertigo, headaches, tachycardia, heightened blood pressure, pain and ringing in the ears, difficulties with memory and concentration, anxiety, depression, irritability, and panic attacks.”[1] If the sound of wind turbines does that to us, what is it doing to animals, especially those that use infrasound like elephants and whales? More research is needed.

[1] Parker, Helen Schwiesow, PhD, LCP, “Science Deniers in the wind industry,” Watt’s Up With That, https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/03/08/science-deniers-in-the-wind-industry/. Parker is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and a Past Clinical Supervisory Faculty member at the University of Virginia Medical School. Her career includes practical experience in the fields of autism, sensory perception, memory and learning, attention deficit and anxiety disorders, including panic disorder and PTSD.

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The book: Saving Africa from Lies that Kill: How Myths about the Environment and Overpopulation are Destroying Third World Countries will be published on October 23, 2018. Print and e-book will be available online and in bookstores.

My first book, Perverted Truth Exposed: How Progressive Philosophy has Corrupted Science was published in 2016. It is available in print and e-book, on line only, through World Net Daily store, Amazon, Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble.  See the companion blog at www.realscienceblog.com  for related posts and pages.