Not Turning in the Wind

Russ Steele

We have returned from a trip to Arizona where we attend a conservative retreat, visited the Kitt Peak Solar Observatory, saw some old friends wintering in Arizona, and made some new ones from those choosing to live in the great south west desert near Tucson.

On our way to Arizona we passed through Tehachapi pass along SR-58 and noted  the forest of windmills on the ridge tops. Only about 1 in a 100 were turning, the wind was not blowing hardly at all.  On out return, the RV was being buffeted by the wind and we expected to see all the wind turbines on the ridge tops turning in a glorious wind dance.  Only about 1 in a 100 were turning.  Many were not even facing into the wind, several were missing turbine blades. From the road it appeared that the smaller turbines were not being maintained. Some of the new turbines with the huge blades, were turning and generating green power.

Ellen and I discussed the disparity, with the wind blowing why were this forest of wind turbines not spinning power into the California grid. We could feel the wind on the RV, and some of the turbines were spinning away, but most were mute in the wind. We thought maybe these mute turbines were not being properly maintained. Could it be that the subsides had expired and it was now too costly to maintain this forest of turbines?  This seems to be a serious problem, the wind was blowing, but turbines were not generating the highly valued green power. Why?

Wind and solar are favored to replace fossil fuels, but the problem is the intermittent nature of the sources, some back up is required. As we passed by the solar arrays in the pass, the high clouds seem to be blocking most of the sun, reducing the power output.  The clouds were reducing the solar out put and the majority of the wind turbines were not turning,  even though the wind was blowing briskly through the pass. Not a great poster for sustainable energy.

Some where there were fossil fuel generators providing the power needed by industry and domestic homes in the state.

How can California continue down the mandated road,  where 1/3 of the states power must come from renewable wind and solar? It is clear that hundreds of installed turbines are not turning, not generating power even thought the wind was blowing. This is not the kind of reliability that rate payers are expecting. We are being forced to fund these wind and solar farms that are not producing the desired results. It appears that with out a continuing flow of subsides to maintain the wind turbines, they are left to rot in the sun and blot the sky an ugly reminder of the states sustainable energy folly.

If there is a better explanation on why hundreds of wind turbine were not turning in the wind, please share your insight.