The True Cost of Wind | Ryan Residential Home Wind Turbine 2 days ago   30:07

Independent Institute
Applauded by many governments around the world as one of the cleanest initiatives for the generation of energy, the wind industry is also one of the most expensive and heavily subsidized, compared with other power generation alternatives. Ryan M. Yonk, Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, presents interesting and little-known facts, which demystify wind power's efficiency, cost, and benefits for the environment.

00:00 Opening
00:10 History of Energy Policy
00:40 The True Cost of Wind
03:45 Federal Policies on Energy Subsidies
10:05 Federal Wind-Related Initiatives
12:05 Production Tax Credit
15:53 Cost of the Wind after Federal Policies
17:25 State Policies: Renewable Portfolio Standards
22:26 Total Costs
24:58 Social and Environmental Costs
27:38 Policy Implications
29:35 Closing

Prezi presentation

The True Cost of Energy: Wind | Read the full report here:

About Ryan M. Yonk:
Ryan M. Yonk is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Research Director for the Center for Public Lands and Rural Economics in the Department of Economics at Utah State University, and Assistant Professor of Political Science at Southern Utah University. He received his PhD in political science from Georgia State University.

More information about Ryan M. Yonk

The Challenge of Liberty Seminars introduce college-age students to the ethical and economic principles of free societies, which they will find essential for the understanding, appreciation, and readiness for real world issues they will face.

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Comments 964 Comments

Adam Pitas
If policies would solely be based on our current understanding of true costs, wouldn't it make our response to climate change be less effective? The statement that some see as bad and others see as good is simple: We subsidize expensive technology to artificially accelerate its adoption. One side wants a "natural" adoption rate that always takes true cost into account, the other side wants to "lose" money to rush adoption. I don't see anything wrong with this supposed "waste" of money.

Coal and oil have a true cost that should have never made them a viable resource in the first place, people have had to breathe in polluted air. We essentially adopted and perfected a deadly technology before we knew the true cost of it. It's the "lead pipes to bring water to Rome" of our era.
Mike Wright
Love it how he said well we can't just transmit the power through the air ! , ........ wait a minute Nicola Tesla, wireless transmission of energy hmmmm
Michael O Neill
Don Hammervold
I vaguely remember that Warren Buffet said in a video that he would only invest in Wind Power if it is subsidized. Is that the only way it is profitable? Is that true? I wonder.
Bill Chaffee
There’s more to it than whether the wind is blowing. The amount of energy per square meter available from the wind is a function of the wind speed cubed. A 30 MPH wind provides 27 times as much energy as a 10 MPH wind assuming the same density of air.
M Detlef
This is ALREADY obsolete. Wind power is EXPLODING.
M Detlef
THIS fat BASTARD’s DIET has a carbon footprint BIGGER than 97% of Americans!!!!!
Gary Lewis
A great study on renewables can be downloaded PDF from
Gary Lewis
You should talk about spinning reserve of NG
Gary Lewis
You should look at the cost of not haveing base load to companies. A good example is a backery. one absolutly need to bake bread after the dough has risen. if not you have waste. I hear the manufactures of fiberglass is energy time depended and if this company does not get the right power at the right time they ruin a batch. Petro chemical plants the same. a power failure is vary expensive. Its not just cents per Kwhr.
Gary Lewis
if you wish 100% wind at 1Gw (Giga watt) base load then you need at least 3Gw of wind store 2 of the 3 Gw. the 1 out of the 3 supplies the grid. So when the wind does not blow one draws on this stored energy. Then you keep your fingers crossed and hope the wind blows when the energy from storage runs out.
Gary Lewis
The capcity factor of a low 33% look vary generous i read its 25% on average.
Gary Lewis
The more wind and solar the more natural gas is used as back up power.
Gary Lewis
With natural gas and coal the energy storage is in the fuel.
James Cox
38 billion dollars in debt Ontario rate payers in 10 years because of wind and solar. 2 % of Power per year Ontario needed. True cost of renewable, friends of elected officials become rich.
This is how the grid should be run:
1) all intermittent sources make NH3. None on grid. No inverters. DC to NH3
2) Nuclear and Coal are constant. Pure sine wave.
3) no turbines, spin reserve or peakers needed.

Set Nuclear/coal ABOVE peak evening load, which is usually 1.5 times base. Run constant.

NH3 makers are the control or "throttle" of the grid and control frequency and voltage by turning them off and on as needed. They store fuel. Wind/solar also make NH3.

Grid and wind/solar compete in NH3 which runs most of the economy.

My new engine in car gets 100 mpg vs old 25 mpg. Put engine in cars/trucks/airplanes...everything. Use oil until enough people can use NH3 with new engine and then turn on NH3 production and make the switch to 100% zero carbon in vehicles.

Wind cost will drop to do no connection issues and no transmissions needed. About 1/2 cost and most maintenance GONE. No inverters. Solar farms can make electricity for 2.5 c/kwh and grid is 1 cent. Eliminate grid and make at plant at 1.5 c/kwh. Fuel cost is $0.015 x 1.1 x 33.7 = $55 c/gal e. < 20 c/gal NH3. Sell at cheaper than gasoline. People move to electroc-fuels, just like what the Navy will be doing for fighter jets.

Combustion is key due to 5 needed fuels for different machines and NH3. Must run all fuels and NH3. Current engines (Otto and Diesel) cannot run 100% NH3, but can do mix, but the efficiency is to low and therefore range is and issue. New engine solve range by 3-5 times better economy/energy.

Wind costs will be competitive to nuclear and coal via NH3. Intermittent power is NOT the same value as constand or variable. True value of wind and solar is 1.5-2 c/kwh, not 5. Nuclear sells grid power at 5-8 c/kwh to industrial and retail house customers. Nuclear then provides NH3 and competes with oil directly in costs and value. Wind only sells NH3 or other electro-chemicals and competes with oil and Nuclear.

Now you know. see twitter at @seaplaneguy if you want more details.
Coal is all but dead it cant compete with natural gas.
wind and solar are getting cheaper all the time
wim lammens
the part of wind blowing at night is not correct. the warming of earth faster during the day makes the air rise and colder wind from oceans will start blowing towards land. that is the case for air blowing on the surface of the earth as windmills are installed on land or at sea they wil receive more wind during the day and wind will fall away when sun going under
Econ4 Every1
My last comment (though probably the first you read as you scroll down) will be to point out what a dismal failure libertarian "free market" thinking is. This professor focuses on the immediate apparent costs of developing renewable energy sources and in particular wind energy generation.

This is a very good example of the weakness of short-term "free market" thinking.


Let's look at China.....

China has and will continue to invest 40ish percent of the total global renewable energy investment.

According to Prof. Yonk, this should result in a terrible manipulation of the free market and, I assume some long term cost.

However, the concept behind renewables is relevant. If China, who subsidizes renewables almost as much as all other nations combined, manages to achieve the goal of effeicent viable renewable power (at least partially dependant on energy storage advances) where will the US be, strategically speaking?

Since energy is a cornerstone of all output and production, if China manages to corner the market in low-cost generation of energy, it will take yet another big leap in low-cost productivity. How will this affect our businesses here in the US? Will that put more or less pressure on businesses here to manufacture in the US?

China, being this nation's most realistic global rival, manages to completely dominate something as significant as (low-cost) power generation, both for productive output as well as corner the market on renewable energy products, where will that put the US strategically?

China does not have a "free market". They mimic some of the benefits of capitalism, but the state maintains control of their long term goals.

I would be willing to bet, and I say this without evidence, that China wants video's like this to become more popular and it wouldn't surprise me a bit if they invested in think tanks, like the "Independent Institue" as they unknowingly provide China a strategic advantage, again, assuming that renewables ever reach a level of efficiency that makes them competitive with other energy sources with fewer social or environmental costs.

In the end, we are left with at least 3 choices.

1. The US develops renewables at a similar pace as our rivals, like China, if it is eventually concuded that they cannot be, no matter the technolgy, beat current alternatives, then China and the US have both wasted time and effort in that goal and neither has acquired a significant advantage on the other.

2. China develops renewables (and the US does not) over a generation and manages to achieve viability. This puts China at least half a decade ahead (it's always easier to be second into a market).

3. The US develops Renabales at the same pace as our rivals and when breakthroughs are made, we realize the benefits at about the same time.

Now, take your pick. If you chose number 1 you are rolling the dice with this nations future as a global economic and political power.

Now, I could get into the economics of this and explain why, at a federal level, why the government does not "waste" money nor does it displace financial resources (crowding out). It is possible for real resources and labor to be displaced, but not fiscal.

Having said that, can we afford NOT to develop renewables?
Rusty Icepick
Every power source has it's externalities. By that I mean costs not typically included in the price at the pump, or household. Petroleum products by virtue of the amount of energy available for the price consumers pay, has long been the best deal in town...until you factor in the externalities. These include pollution and the related health costs, environmental degradation and global warming. These costs are typically born by the public and societies at large, ie., clean-ups, Dr. bills, loss of species (fisheries) climate change mitigation and the like. Big oil privatizes the profits and the external costs are socialized (paid by the public). If all the costs of using petroleum were rolled into the price at the pump, gasoline, natural gas and other petroleum products would be cost prohibitive to the end user, you and me.
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Residential Home Wind Turbine The True Cost of Wind | Ryan 2 days ago   09:53

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