Green Watch

Wind Power Doesn’t Make Sense: Anti-Environment Environmentalism

Wind Power Doesn’t Make Sense Without the Tax Credits (full series)
Berkshire Hathaway | “An Extremely Rare Occurrence”
Anti-Environment Environmentalism

Anti-Environment Environmentalism

Those are the methods needed to both conserve the environment and produce electricity.

On the other side, to get 227 million MWh of power requires 6.4 times more than the combined output of all the Berkshire Hathaway Energy wind turbines in the five states listed in this analysis. So, getting electricity to 18 million Americans with BHE’s wind power would theoretically fill 11,520 square miles of America with wind farms.

That chunk of our environment would be slightly smaller than the entire land area of Massachusetts or Hawaii, and could also consume the combined square miles of New Jersey and Delaware. And all that wind power and land consumption would provide only intermittently reliable electricity to just 6 percent of the U.S. population.

For reasons already covered, it is dangerous for people to live directly underneath wind turbines, and increasingly unpopular to even live near them.

And the human environment isn’t all that they crowd out.

In March 2013, according to a PBS NewsHour report, the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, seeking the federal government’s tally of eagles killed by PacifiCorp wind turbines.

“Corporate surveys submitted to the federal government and obtained by AP showed at least 20 eagles found dead in recent years on Pacificorp wind farms in Wyoming,” reported PBS.

The Obama administration had agreed to comply with the FOIA request, but in October 2013 PacifiCorp filed a lawsuit to block release of the information, claiming that doing so would do “irreparable harm” to the firm.

Some “harm” arrived the following year.

“PacifiCorp Energy, a subsidiary of PacifiCorp, based in Portland, Oregon, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Wyoming today to violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act in connection with the deaths of protected birds, including golden eagles, at two of the company’s wind projects in Wyoming,” reported a December 2014 news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The plea agreement required PacifiCorp to pay $2.5 million in penalties and restitution and accept five years of probation. The charges were based on the “discovery of the carcasses of 38 golden eagles and 336 other protected birds, including hawks, blackbirds, larks, wrens and sparrows” at two of PacifiCorp’s Wyoming wind farms from 2009 through 2014.

“PacifiCorp Energy built two of its Wyoming wind projects in a manner it knew would likely result in the deaths of eagles and other protected birds,” claimed the then acting-Assistant U.S. Attorney General.

Those facilities were Glenrock/Rolling Hills and Seven Mile Hill. Together, their land use is more than 37 square miles. In 2014, their combined electricity output was enough for about 86,000 people.

Iowa’s recently closed carbon-free nuclear plant, the Duane Arnold Energy Center, produced five times that much electricity. It could do it whether the wind blew or not, from less than a single square mile of America, and without killing any eagles.

Why was Berkshire Hathaway Energy gobbling up so much of America’s environment and killing eagles for such piddly amounts of power?

They get a tax credit. It doesn’t make any sense without the tax credits.

Ken Braun

Ken Braun is CRC’s senior investigative researcher and authors profiles for and the Capital Research magazine. He previously worked for several free market policy organizations, spent six…
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