Small-Scale Renewables Program Failure.

Operation of a small-scale wind farm was undertaken at Lake Land College** about 4 years ago. Now the College is planing to tear down the two wind turbines because of high maintenance cost and the wind farm’s inability to provide the College’s power requirements.

According to a Daily Caller posting, the turbines returned a negative 99.6% return on investment. The posting tells us the  College got  $987,697.20 in taxpayer support for the wind power. The turbines were funded from a $2.5 million grant from the US Department of Labor.

two wind mills

The college has spent $240,000 in parts and labor attempting to keep the wind turbines in operation. But they are now inoperable with an  estimated cost of $100,000 to get them back online.

From the Daily Callers posting:

“School officials’ original estimates found the turbine would save it $44,000 in electricity annually, far more than the $8,500 they actually generated. Under the original optimistic scenario, the turbines would have to last for 22.5 years just to recoup the costs, not accounting for inflation. If viewed as an investment, the turbines had a return of negative 99.14 percent.”

“Even though the college wants to tear down one of the turbines, they are federal assets and “there is a process that has to be followed” according to Allee. (Allee is the Director of Public Relations)

“The turbines became operational in 2012 after a 5-year long building campaign intended to reduce the college’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to fight global warming. Even though the turbines cost almost $1 million, but the college repeatedly claimed they’d save money in the long run.”

But the College nor the US Government are not through with renewable power despite this lesson. According to the Daily Caller posting we learn that they are going solar:

“Lake Land plans to replace the two failed turbines with a solar power system paid for by a government grant. “[T]he photovoltaic panels are expected to save the college between $50,000 and $60,000 this year,”Allee told the DCNF.”

Because the wind farm was planned to be a teaching tool for the College students. It could be that some of maintenance was done be the students. However, maintenance must have been lead by professionals.

Third world countries have vast and legitimate needs for electricity for their people. But the greens tell the third world countries that they do not want to provide them with fossil fuel powered plants. And the World Bank says it will not provide them funding for fossil fuel plant. A study done in a remote part of India found that spreading solar cells around did not work because they needed many trained people distributed through out the area the solar cells were being placed and they just did not have that kind of talent. Enough talent can be concentrated in a power plant. Someday these countries, as they advance, will develop these people but they do not exist now. The people in this part of India, of course did not like loosing power every night, either.

You also wonder who in the Department of Labor determines the appropriateness of these awards. Already having put $2.2million in renewables, they are going for more.

I hope the College knows that they wont have power in the evening. (sarc)


**Lake Land College, located in Mattoon, Illinois, is a two year community college.

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