Negative Returns of Investment — Alternative Energy Fail!

Hot Air has this wonderful story with it’s said humorous point at the end of my excerpt of the Hot Air excerpt:

This week’s installment of how renewable energy will save America is brought to you by Watts Up With That. It’s the heartwarming tale of Lake Land College in Illinois, where the administration decided to save some money and strike a blow for clean energy back in 2012 by installing a pair of wind turbines to produce clean, renewable power for the school. Putting up equipment like that isn’t cheap, though, so they arranged for some help from Uncle Sam (read: you the taxpayers) in the form of a $987,697.20 grant. The towers went up and the blades began turning.

That, however, was when the story (unexpectedly!) took a turn…

The turbines were funded by a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, but the turbines lasted for less than four years and were incredibly costly to maintain.

“Since the installation in 2012, the college has spent $240,000 in parts and labor to maintain the turbines,” Kelly Allee, Director of Public Relations at Lake Land College, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The college estimates it would take another $100,000 in repairs to make the turbines function again after one of them was struck by lightning and likely suffered electrical damage last summer. 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.


It’s reminiscent of another story from the same part of the country. Going back roughly six years we learned that their neighbors in Minnesota put up a major wind turbine installation only to find out that the bearings in the turbines froze up in the winter and were similarly taken out of service. For the slower readers in the green energy movement, allow me to spell that out a bit more clearly.

The wind turbines were essentially destroyed because they froze

In the winter

…In Minnesota….

While these parts can be used for future engineering classes and the like… the whole venture is better suited for the econ classes to use as an example that without the government confiscating money and propping up ventures that do not work… they would be (in a free-market) thrown into the heap-bin of history. See my post: Government Investing A Recipe for Failure

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