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When The Wind Doesn’t Blow: Weak Breeze Lowered U.S. Turbine Output In 2023

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Lower wind speeds in 2023 dealt a blow to renewable power output after state and federal governments spent billions proliferating turbine farms.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) last month, turbine generation declined for the first time in roughly 30 years despite increased capacity to harness the wind. The Energy Department says last year’s utilization rate dropped to an eight-year low following a record year in 2022.

“Wind energy proponents say breezes have increased in 2024, but critics warn the 2023 dip demonstrates the risks to the stability of the energy grid when it is even partially reliant on renewable sources tied to the weather,” reported The Washington Times.

According to the EIA, slower wind speeds in the first half of 2023 led to a 14 percent drop in wind generation compared to 2022.

Larry Behrens, the spokesman for the energy nonprofit Power the Future, told The Federalist the decline in wind power production “is just more proof” that “one of the biggest lies of wind energy is that it can replace fossil fuels.”

Wind is responsible for roughly half of the nation’s renewable power output and made up more than 10 percent of the total U.S. electricity mix in 2023, representing an increase from less than 1 percent in 1990. Sixty percent of the nation’s energy needs remain met by fossil fuels, and nearly 19 percent are met by nuclear.

The abrupt decline in wind production illustrates a vulnerability in weather-dependent power sources embraced by the Biden administration, with tens of billions in tax credits and subsidies provided to boost electric wind production.

“When the Biden administration works overtime to take something as critical as electricity and make it subject to something as volatile as the wind, we get results such as higher prices and less power,” Behrens said. “America is built upon affordable and reliable energy; instead Joe Biden wants to keep us in the dark depending on whichever way the wind blows.”

In April, the Department of the Interior approved an eighth offshore wind project under President Joe Biden, with coastal turbine farms a primary pillar of the White House climate agenda. The proposed turbines, however, are presenting environmental consequences of their own.

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Offshore wind companies are now faced with accusations of harming whales, dolphins, and other marine life on the East Coast as major turbine projects move forward. According to National Review, nine whales washed up on a beach in New Jersey last year with another 22 humpback whales stranded between December 2022 and March 2023.

“More than 180 of the animals have washed ashore dead between Maine and Virginia since offshore-wind-energy development began in 2016,” the magazine reported. “And those that have washed ashore may only represent a small portion of those that have died.”

In December, The Daily Signal reported offshore wind companies had requested government permission to harm marine life in the process of developing coastal turbine farms.

Massive wind operations have also killed hundreds of thousands of birds, including rare birds federally protected. A major wind company agreed to pay more than $8 million in fines two years ago after the group pled guilty to killing at least 150 eagles across eight states over the last decade.


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