Government programs that subsidize well-connected industries at the expense of everyone else are not new.  The Midwest is filled with ethanol manufacturing plants where a good part of the corn crop is turned into very expensive alcohol that is then burned up in cars, at the expense of those taxpayers who are not corn-farmers or owners of ethanol factories.  Like the wind power program, the ethanol program was originally justified on global warming grounds that later were shown to be phony.

Wind power is expensive and disruptive.  The expense is the capital cost of the windmills amortized over the electricity produced during the life of the windmill.  The unpredictable nature of wind disrupts the electrical grid, increasing the need for backup plants that have to be ready at a moment’s notice to take over for becalmed windmills.

The more wind power you have, the more expensive and disruptive it becomes.  If you have just a little bit of wind power, the current situation in most places, the backup plants, or spinning reserve, that is normally on the grid can handle the disruption.  If you have a lot of wind power, then you have to build special backup plants — some of which, at the margin, are almost always idle but still cost a lot of money.  If you have a little bit of wind power, you can exploit the best places that have wind, near power lines and near markets for the electricity.  If you want a lot of wind power, you have to start using locations far from power lines and far from markets, at much greater cost.

In short, wind power is not unlike a poison that makes you mildly ill in small doses but that will put you in the hospital in large doses.

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