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Free Power from Wind; Well, Not Quite:

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Message Mike Folkerth

U.S. NEWS: So just how bad is the energy situation getting? Renowned oil man T. Boone Pickens is investing $2 Billion in a Texas wind farm. In fact, the largest wind farm ever built.


Pickens will purchase the wind generators from General Electric, which makes GE happy campers. GE has been in the selling business of late, but not of products, of parts of their company. Word is out that GE is shopping its 101-year-old appliance business for as much as $8 billion and last year it sold its struggling plastics business to a Saudi Arabian company for $11.6 billion. Yep, Saudi Arabian.


So what makes an oil man like Pickens bet on wind? I’m going to guess that he is a little closer to the fact that we are running out of fossil fuels than the average Jill or Joe.


But let’s take a closer look at the wind business to figure out why America isn’t already running on free wind power. One reason of course is that Americans are spoiled and want the power to be on all of the time. That is a problem when the wind doesn’t blow all of the time.


This creates a need for backup unless you can find customers who will agree to have power on the days that the wind blows and take eight hour coffee breaks on the days that it doesn’t. Cold coffee that is, the coffee machine runs on electricity.


What I’m saying is that a conventional power plant with reserve capacity equal to the wind farm has to be standing by, just in case the wind doesn’t cooperate that day or blows too hard. Sure, when the wind blows too hard they have to feather the blades and shut down the generators to keep them from being destroyed. Not to mention what a little tornado activity could do to a wind farm.


And then there is the cost of free wind. Jimmy Carter created massive subsidies to develop both wind and solar power, I know, I worked on a test site way back when. Once the subsidies were removed, there went the neighborhood and the wind and solar with it. Free wind and solar power was too expensive to compete without being subsidized.


But today, with all the advancements in technology combined with skyrocketing energy prices, things have changed; Jimmy Carter isn’t president any longer.


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Mike Folkerth is the author of "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed" and is not your run-of-the-mill author of finance and economics. The former real estate broker, developer, private real estate fund manager, auctioneer, Alaskan bush pilot, (more...)
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