Trump tirade: wind turbines cause pollution

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in West Palm Beach, Florida over the weekend (22 December 2019) which he took the opportunity to reinforce his stance against wind energy. Among other things, he accused wind turbines of being noisy, loud and detrimental to the environment.

The U.S. has more than 100 GW of wind energy capacity in operation according to the American Wind Energy Association. In 2018, utility-scale facilities in the U.S. produced 4,171 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Wind produced 273 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, or 6.5% of the total energy production in the U.S.

Onshore is particular popular in the Southwest and Midwest states. The east coast is a hotbed for offshore wind activity with a number of solicitations having been issued over the past couple of years with many states vying to establish commercial scale projects and infrastructure to support the expansion of the technology. There is currently only one offshore wind farm operating in US waters, the 30MW
Block Island project. It is anticipated that as much as 25.5 GW could be underway by 2030.

At the summit President Trump called out wind turbine for being detrimental so home owners, bird species and the environment. President trump stated: "We’ll have an economy based on wind.  I never understood wind.  You know, I know windmills very much.  I’ve studied it better than anybody I know.  It’s very expensive.  They’re made in China and Germany mostly — very few made here, almost none.  But they’re manufactured tremendous — if you’re into this — tremendous fumes.  Gases are spewing into the atmosphere. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything.  You talk about the carbon footprint — fumes are spewing into the air.  Right?  Spewing.  Whether it’s in China, Germany, it’s going into the air.  It’s our air, their air, everything — right?"  

"So they make these things and then they put them up.  And if you own a house within vision of some of these monsters, your house is worth 50 percent of the price.  They’re noisy.  They kill the birds.  You want to see a bird graveyard?  You just go.  Take a look.  A bird graveyard.  Go under a windmill someday.  You’ll see more birds than you’ve ever seen ever in your life."

"After 10 years, they look like hell.  You know, they start to get tired, old.  You got to replace them.  A lot of times, people don’t replace them.  They need massive subsidy from the government in order to make it.  It’s really a terrible thing."

"And what they want to do is they want to get rid of all petroleum product. That means you basically won’t have any factories in the United States."

In his speech at the summit he also claimed that the environmental status of the U.S. it is better that is has been in the past 40 years. He stated: "No, we’re doing it right.  We’re doing it right.  And you know, our numbers, environmentally, right now are better than they’ve ever been before, just so you know, because I’m an environmentalist. I am.  I want the cleanest water on the planet.  I want the cleanest air anywhere — crystal-clean water. I want perfectly clean air.  And we have the best numbers right now that we’ve ever had, meaning in the last 40 years."

Trump is no stranger to the wind industry having alleged in April this year that wind turbine can cause cancer. Speaking at the National Republican Congressional Committee spring dinner, the US president said: “Hillary wanted to put up wind – if you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75% in value. And they say the noise causes cancer, you tell me that one, okay?"    

In his business life, President elect Trump has expressed his distaste of offshore wind. Back in December 2015, Trump lost his third appeal to quash the
European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre in Aberdeen Bay. President elect Trump appealed to the Supreme Court arguing that Scottish Ministers had no power to grant approval of the centre, and that the planning consent was imprecise and therefore void.

Trump opposed the wind farm stating that the project would "spoil the view" from his golf resort. He went further stating “Wind farms are a disaster for Scotland, like Pan Am 103 [Lockerbie disaster]. They make people sick with the continuous noise. They’re an abomination and are only sustained with government subsidy".

The UK Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and the wind farm has generating electricity since summer 2018, and is expected to continue operating for another 24 years. According to its owners  one single rotor lap from each 8.8MW turbine provides a household with electricity for a full day.

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