America's foremost scholar on the power-generating prowess of wind turbines has been challenged by a lesser expert from Bakersfield.

That foremost scholar, according to President Trump, is President Trump. The dissenting expert is Paul Gipe, author of "Wind Energy for the Rest of Us: A Comprehensive Guide to Wind Power and How to Use It," a 1,100-page compendium of all things windy.

The president held forth on the subject Saturday in West Palm Beach, Fla., before a conservative student group, Turning Point USA. Said President Trump: "I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. I’ve studied it better than anybody.”

He then enumerated a list of concerns about wind turbines, such as their deleterious effect on air quality, birds and property values, among other things.

Except his every claim was false or overstated, said Gipe, who has so thoroughly researched wind energy — which has a substantial and growing presence in Kern County — his base of knowledge on the subject may even approach that of the president.

"What he said was so completely off the wall, even if you're like me and you work with this stuff, you can't decide what he's talking about," Gipe said. "Mr. President, you should read this big windmill book I wrote."

In his address, Trump said wind turbines have 10-year lifespans, after which they "look like hell," and repair or replacement of old ones requires government subsidies. In fact, Gipe said, turbines have 20- to 25-year lifespans and no such repair subsidy exists.

Trump said living within view of a wind turbine can cut one's property value by 50 percent. Studies show no such effect, Gipe said.

Trump said the wind turbine manufacturing process generates a "tremendous amount of fumes and everything." In fact,  Gipe said, the average wind turbine will have offset the energy expended in its manufacturing in four to six months and, according to one study, they operate afterward "with virtually no emissions."

Trump called wind turbines a "bird graveyard" that kill more birds "than you've ever seen ever in your life." In fact, Gipe said, many times more are killed flying into buildings and power lines or in encounters with domestic cats, which kill up to 4 billion birds each year. This concern for birds, incidentally, would mark a turning point for Trump, who last year eliminated criminal penalties for unintentional migratory bird deaths resulting from industrial or agricultural activity.

"We all know the president has an affinity for conspiracy, and this whole thing about wind energy is rife with pseudo conspiracies," said Gipe, noting that last April Trump claimed without evidence that "they say" the sound from wind turbines can cause cancer. "We are living with a reality TV president."

What makes this bizarre, renewed assault particularly galling here in Kern County, the nation's top-producing county for wind energy, is that it comes on the heels of Gov. Gavin Newsom's announced intent to orchestrate the "decline" of fossil fuel extraction in the state, an effort essentially directed at the southern San Joaquin Valley. Sacramento, for better or worse, is coming after Kern County oil, and one of oil's most promising energy alternatives, wind, is under fire from Washington — or at least the wind-energy expert in the White House.

Despite Trump's appreciation for a good wind-energy joke – "‘Darling, is the wind blowing today? I'd like to watch television," he told a guffawing crowd in April – wind power capacity additions hit new highs in both the second and third quarters of 2019, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Wind energy reached a total of 100 gigawatts, enough to power 32 million U.S. homes and sustain 500 U.S. factories.

Kern County is responsible for a big share of that power. As of 2018, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey, Kern had more wind turbines (4,581) than any other U.S. county. Kern, according to the same study, also had the highest density of turbines in the world and more individual turbines than the entire northeastern U.S.

With so much invested and so much at stake in the energy sector for Kern County, one would think Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who has the president's ear like few in Congress, would tap Trump on the shoulder and politely ask him to pick on someone else for a while. One would think, but one would be disappointed.

Some critics believe Trump's odd dislike for wind energy is associated with his opposition to an 11-turbine offshore wind farm in Scotland he believed would be visible from the golf course he owns at Menie, near Aberdeen. In a 2012 appearance before the Scottish Parliament, he claimed that country’s heavy investment in offshore wind farms would ruin its tourism industry. “I’m an expert in tourism," he told MPs who questioned his qualifications to make that claim. "I have won many, many awards … if you dot your landscape with these horrible, horrible structures, you will do tremendous damage.” Trump, ultimately denied by Parliament, took his case to Scotland's highest court but lost in March 2019 and his Trump International Golf Club Scotland Ltd was ordered to pay the government's legal bill. Scotland is still trying to collect.

That theory seems far-fetched to me, though. One little failure in Scotland could not have soured Trump on an entire industry. Only petty, vindictive people hold grudges like that.

Contact The Californian’s Robert Price at 661-395-7399, rprice@bakersfield.com or on Twitter: @stubblebuzz. His column appears on Sundays, Wednesdays and Saturdays; the views expressed are his own.

(35) comments

Nevermind

Yes Trump dodged the draft, but knows more than the Generals too. Trump couldn't pick Turkey out on a map of it didn't have gravy on it. How ANYONE thinks he's an expert on anything other than stiffing others is baffling.

Lilyrose

Mr. Price you wrote an informative and entertaining article. Does the Californian have plans to hire on other writers? For the population size of Bakersfield the paper could use more pages. Lifestyle, Environmental, local events coming up and reports after, science section, tech section, ...

The need is there and readers of all ages can benefit. The classrooms could use age appropriate newspapers/week. Student's periodical could bring in different advertisers.

Invest in the future.

Informative and entertaining. Good fit.

Boris25

Not just President Trump, just consider. To the nearest whole number, what percentage of the world’s energy consumption was supplied by wind power in 2018, the last year for which there are reliable figures? Was it 20 per cent, 10 per cent or 5 per cent? None of the above: it was 2 per cent.

If wind turbines were to supply all of that world’s energy growth needs, but no more, how many would need to be built each year? The answer is nearly 350,000, since a two-megawatt turbine can produce about 0.005 terawatt-hours per annum. That’s one-and-a-half times as many as have been built in the world since governments started pouring consumer funds into this so-called industry in the early 2000's.

At a density of, very roughly, 50 acres per megawatt, typical for wind farms, that many turbines would require a land area greater than the British Isles, including Ireland. Every year. If we kept this up for 50 years, we would have covered every square mile of a land area the size of Russia with wind farms. Remember, this would be just to fulfill the new demand for energy, not to displace the vast existing supply of energy from fossil fuels, which currently supply 80 per cent of global energy needs.

burdetteb

Well said! When will the pendulum swing back and logic replace emotion as the standard of decisions made here in California and by others in positions that impact our everyday living?

Lilyrose

Wind is only one element of power we can use. Wave, solar, wind. There is no more discussion on oil economy, for oil is no longer an option.

Boris25

Tough to have wave produced electricity in Kansas

GaryJohns

Don't burst her bubble....

mark estrada

Kansas has entire towns using only wind, and have lot's of excess power that they sell. 17% of US energy is Solar and Wind. 12% is from renewable fuels. Hemp seed oil is up and comming. You can make anything that you can make from Crude oil, it's non-toxic and you can run diesels on it filtered right from the press. Diesels were designed to run on Hemp oil. We should be using it instead of Crude and could have been energy independent long ago but big money stopped it in the 1920's because Hemp was not profitable for them as well as better for paper and textiles. They (The DuPont's, Andrew

Mellon-Mellon Bank) didn't want people growing their own fuel. Randolph Hearst owned 800k acres of tress for his newspapers. But Pancho Villa and his army took it from him . Hemp made much better paper, so they all made sure Hemp was nixed. See reefer madness, manufactured outrage by by Hearst. http://www.ozarkia.net/bill/pot/blunderof37.html

Veritas

Again sir, your are either incorrect or missatating facts. I have already addressed some of these errors in a previous comment. Diesel engines were not designed to run on hemp oil. In fact, in one of his earliest designs he tried using ammonia. Sometime after the Diesel engine was developed, a company tried using peanut oil which was successful, but it was not hemp oil. Hemp oil cannot be used as diesel fuel filtered right from the press. It must go through a refining process.

You really went over the edge quoting from Ozarkia.net. Even Wikipedia would be a better source of info and I wouldn’t use them either.

Lamonster

You've never heard of the "amber waves of grain"? C'mon.

mark estrada

@Veritas You are wrong.Many sources do not mention Hemp oil because of bias, anti hemp hysteria created by Hearst and then the Petroleum industry. Diesel did experiment with ammonia in Steam engines before he developed the Diesel. He did use peanut oil for a demonstration at world's fair, but Hemp oil was prefered, and what he envisioned because it's simple to grow, high yield per acre, and will grow w/o fertilizer or pesticides.

Hemp oil only needs to be filtered to be usable in pre 2010 Diesels. IDK about newer diesels that use DEF, but I would guess yes being a mechanic for 30 years. Since Hemp oil has no sulfur and burns clean. but DEF contains ammonia. I was not aware of ammonia in fuels, so thanks for that info.

The only modification Diesels needs is changing to rubber hose instead of synthetic, that biofuels will deteriorate, so if all your lines are metal you're golden and only needs to be filtered from the press.

Who cares about the who wrote that, the info source is Jack Herr, who dedicated his life studying and dispelling myths about Hemp it's still base in fact. I have fact checked it and it is accurate. I wouldn't trust any info re: Hemp oil from the petroleum industry or anyone connected. The last thing they want is people growing their own fuel at 300 gal per acre. Think about it for 3 seconds.

Tell me what is the difference between Ozarkia.net, (that is an old bbs in the 1990's before Wiki)and Wikipedia? Both are content created by the general public. Your confirmation bias is showing!

It's you who seems to be spreading intellectually dishonest info with no citations.

https://thirdcoasthempcompany.com/hemp-fuels

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2001-07-29-0107290058-story.html

http://www.hempcar.org/diesel.shtml

https://rense.com/general67/ford.htm

Nevermind

There's the wave at Jayhawk football games

Veritas

@MEstrada, I will keep this as brief as possible. If Rudolf Diesel tried ammonia in a steam engine design and not a CI design then okay, you got that one. No, Rudolf did not try vegetable oil (peanut oil) it was the Otto company, which built a Diesel engine that ran on peanut oil for the 1900 World’s Fair at the request of the French govt. Rudolf Diesel supported this afterwards. It is Jack Herer not Herr, and he was a cannabis rights advocate, not an expert on hemp oil for use as fuel. You proved my point that Ozarkia.net and Wikipedia are not reliable sources of research information if they can be edited by anyone. To prove my point, 1 acre of hemp yields roughly 22 gallons of hemp oil, not 300. That is from the U.S. Ag Dept. Lastly, other than the 2001 article from the Chi Tribune your other sources are biased and proven to be less than factual due to their bias. Try unbiased sources to gather your info next time and then you will be able to support your argument more intelligently.

She Dee

I say we award Mr Trump with the esteemed DRY DRUNK OF THE CENTURY AWARD! This article proves it in my opinion. Could he be any more of a wet brained thinker if he had grown up poor like the rest of us?

burdetteb

I’m always enthusiastic to read about a local (Paul Gipe) with a knowledge base sharing it with we, the readers of the Californian. I too, like many am concerned about the impending carbon neutral 2045 deadline. I am pleased to hear that we were a “big share” of the 100 gigawatts of power produced in 2018. I am left with several questions not answered in your viewpoint that would have been appropriate: How much revenue did that “big share” of power produced bring Kern County in tax dollars? How much more can the wind energy industry grow in Kern County and what is its future revenue stream for us? How many jobs? How many other businesses benefit from this source of energy? In comparison, is it possible to ask petroleum experts how much “power” was produced in Kern County in the form of oil production? How much in taxes was generated from that oil production? How many jobs are in Kern County because of oil? How many businesses benefit from the production of oil? I know these facts wouldn’t fit the narrative of your article as it was more intent on driving home the ineptness of the words our President uses on topics he speaks on. Got it. Christmas Morning Front Page News.

I’m not declaring you have not written articles about the topic in the past (carbon neutrality). Great articles in fact. I do believe the above information would have reported more neutral and factual information along with your viewpoint for we the reader. Thus, creating more interest in the topic and perhaps an economic viewpoint on the matter as well. Perhaps, these statistics have been stated before by you and didn’t need to be pointed out in this article as much as we need the headline…but I digress, as that would be my viewpoint.

Desperado

Theres no doubt they lower the property values. Who wants to look out their windows and see these eyesores ??

REMUDA

Notwithstanding nostalgia, that old-fashioned "AerMotor" that pumps water to my horses now runs more efficiently with an electric pump, that also has a battery and solar panel as backup. However not one of these techs could have existed without the Petro industry. BTW, how do ya all like those little LED's that were developed without any input from the treehuggers that forced CFL's on us. Harbor Freight gives 'em away . . . a product of Petro once again . . . ! (thanks, Alessandro)

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/09/can-world-make-chemicals-it-needs-without-oil

https://www.forbes.com/sites/daneberhart/2018/03/22/the-oil-sector-will-survive-the-arrival-of-the-electric-car-just-fine/#29c96a317155

REMUDA

Once again, Bobby has proven (in league with Gipe) >>> the blog by Jimmy on other site, " . . . it is difficult to argue with 'the stupid', since they tend to have so much more experience at being 'the stupid'." (treehuggers & 'de-carbonizers' like John Kerry--who 'also served in Vietnam')

Drill here, now & often . . . plus nukes (Go Navy) & CA reservoir hydro-to-the-sea . . . for best, least intrusive, long-lived, most power gens (lookitup!) . . . 'can't build it without petro'!

(Resume--Aero, Cardiac, Product, Solar, Wind, Pollution control, Heavy Industry, CGI, NFO . . . & more--Degreed Industrial Designer/Eng.)

PedoHater

Great article! Drump is an idiot and so are his followers. They believe everything that clown says.

To those saying they are eyesores...the real eye sores are the massive pollution caused by fossil fuels, the endless wars for oil, the polluted sea )like Gulf of Mexico and Alaska bay and countless water ways) and the ugly oil derricks and rigs that spill oil all over this valley

Jerry Todd

Typical Robert P:rice find any fault of the President and blow it out of proportion. I believe a lot of his bloviating can also be taken as a challenge to correct him or solve the obvious problems. At least one reader noted that sometimes it takes a while to turn a CEO around in any business venture. One of few intelligent comebacks.

I guess I'm a wind expert because I taught Kern Wind Energy's CEO in her religion class when she was 11.

How do you define wind turbine density? The early very dense settings were because the turbines were small and placed close together. Bad Density.

It's doubtful turbine blades could be manufactured in CA due to environmental regulations dealing with solvents and binders. They don't dispose of very well, but that's workable. I'm sure that Trump was referring to the manufacturing processes regarding air quality. Shucks, we can't even smell bread baking at the local Pyrenees because of the great aromas being volatile organic compounds VOC's. Even the finished wood furniture industry was driven out.

They are dangerous to assemble and maintain. We've ;learned a lot, but you'll never get me on top of one. A few hundred workers adept and skillful for the task is one thing, but thousands? We did a bioremediation job on a Mitsubishi turbine near Tehachapi once. The transmissions leaked oil - you know that terrible other Kern County product? We used microorganisms on the ground to eat up the oil which reduces to water, carbon fluff (oh no!) and CO2 (Double oh no.) Couldn't build a turbine without petroleum products. (Unintended consequences)

Landscape and aesthetics. Of course our lefty media forgets the stink that was made when a wind farm was planned off Martha's Vineyard, home of America's Democrat elite and globalists, including our community organizer ex-President who scraped up $14 million for his beach front home - right in the global warming sea rise range.

Some more engineering needs to be done to quiet the incessant hum from the rotating blades.

Does Mr. Gipe have a chapter on the effects of native fauna? Maybe some input from the props of our super quiet nuclear (oh no!) submarine fleet would be helpful.

I've heard up to 29 billion birds being sliced and diced, but even 4 billion is a stretch. Try killing one spotted owl and you shut down an entire logging industry. Wind turbines don't discriminate, though over time, survivors' DNA will adapt to dodging the blades better so the species survives. Anywhere from 5 to 100 generations?

There is a future for wind and solar, perhaps up to 30% of demand. Batteries sufficient to store wind and solar's erratic (Chaos Theory) net energy available will help. Fortunately Kern County has even become a site for the lithium found in Borax mine tailings, accumulated over 100 years by large fossil fuel powered movers. China produces 80% of the world supply of lithium - now a strategic mineral.

In my not so humble opinion, keep developing and improving wind and solar. Keep in mind all this electric appliances, vehicles and HVAC systems will also require far more electrical power that those can produce. Nuclear as state of the art and projected future perfections is the only practical way to serve those needs. Then there's airplanes that fly best on fossil fuels.

I tried to just discuss the obvious. Like Mr. Price, who fantasizes over a few beers what next insult to throw at the President and our Congressman who finally reached adulthood working with a real business man. Let's not get into algae.

Boogerface Nutter

The president is possibly the most ignorant public figure ever. His biggest problem is that he cannot admit he knows little, if anything, about just about anything.

i suspect that anyone who accuses Price of overstating the president's deficiendies is even lower down the ignorance scale. You don't have to make anything up or embellish what the president says to realize he's devoid of any actual knowledge.

Of course the "Trump uber alles" crowd would belive Trump if he pointed to a fire hydrant and said it was a space capsule.

Wake up, read for yourself. It's the information age and real facts can be found in a nanosecond.

REMUDA

Bravo Zulu, Jerry . . . !

Bobby "cain't he'p himse'f" since he's devoid of any practical experience "hands-on" . . . like the rest of us who have actually participated in industry (1956 HS SciFair, college, Navy, 68 yrs) . None of the alternates can exist or persist without 'fossil fuels' (petro) and the by-products (& electrical storage) of that tech necessary to ALL l 'other forms of energy' . . . ! (including my own 'prose & poetry')

This analogue and digital venue right here as we text could not ever have existed (or continue) without petro . . . (Alessandro Volta,1800)

Recall Newsom . . . and . . . (names TBD) . . . !

Recall Newsom . . . & . . . !

GaryJohns

I think you're being very "conservative" in your estimate of "a few" beers and Bobby's fantasies....

Stephen

Interesting how Trump supporters accuse those who quote the foolish utterances of the president as "twisting" and distorting while coming up themselves with reinterpretations of what was actually said to make it show some semblance of reason.

The way to make Trump look like a compete megalomaniac narcissist is to quote him exactly from what he says or writes. No embellishment necessary. No out of context needed. That, to anyone with a degree of intellectual honesty, is all that's needed, sycophantic followers and "true believers" rephrasing and interpreting of what they want us to believe what he really meant not withstanding.

mark estrada

Wow Jerry, you have been drinking way too much Kool Aid. Just about everything you said was inaccurate,. The Hemp Industry is gonna be big here in CA, and as far as petroleum products go, anything you can make from crude oil, you can make from Hemp oil. It can also be used 'as is', in diesel engines(thats what they were designed to run on. It's completely non toxic. Hemp will also remove toxins from soil via phytoremediation. Here is a link to a whole bunch of CA turbne manufactures:

http://energy.sourceguides.com/businesses/byGeo/US/byS/CA/byP/wRP/byB/manufacturers/manufacturers.shtml

PS, oil has killed more animals than turbines. Exxon Valdez has killed, and is still killing birds and animals and so is Deepwater Horizon. 29 billion birds is a made up number.

Transmissions are not designed to leak oil an can be sealed. They are not old Harley's . And as far as Nuclear is concerned, it safe until it's not. Chernobyl and The Mile Island could have ended all humanity. We humans think we can build indestructible and unsinkable things...Like the Titanic. Work on your research skills.

Veritas

Wow Ponch! What did you have in your Kool Aid when you read JT’s comments? I saw nothing about hemp in what he wrote. With that aside, some of what you wrote about hemp is inaccurate. You cannot make as many things from hemp as you can from crude. Some of the things you can are too cost prohibitive to make from hemp. Maybe down the road but not in the near future. Lastly, hemp is labor intensive to grow, needs a lot of fertilizer and water. The last two will prevent this industry from becoming big any time in the near future in California, ironically. Maybe for CBD, but not the amount needed for plastics. Maybe some day, maybe not. We’ll see.

Lilyrose

Excellent. Nice writing Mr. Price. I was wanting to learn more about the repercussions of windmills on avian . So thanks for reaching out to a local expert on the subject.

mark estrada

I did see another comment by someone saying what an eyesore the wind generators are. IMHO they are a heck of a lot better looking than oil derricks and 'Clean Coal" (no such animal) and smell a lot better. People are mesmerized by the 'expert on everything" and will believe anything that rolls out of his hamberder hole, regardless of the verified facts. It's really hard to understand cult behavior. I guess you have to abandon critical thinking at the door.

JR

Excellent and important article, Mr. Price. Thank you.

JR

586 Steve: Please, please, please, I beg you, what do you see in Donald Trump, the maddest, lyingist, stupidist, maker-up-of-facts buffoon that ever existed that you would defend him, even when he's quoted as saying he likes acting like a young spoiled child. Tell me how that feels, because I'll never ever get closer than a trillion miles from experiencing that kind of blind and mindless devotion, thank goodness.

Stephen

It's so unfortunate that the leader of the free world, in appealing to his populist political base, has to sustain his narrative with so much false nonsense and inflammatory rhetoric. I would think anyone with an element of critical thinking skills and intellectual honesty would admit he's a false prophet and stop making disingenuous excuses and rationalizations for his bizarre behavior and his disconnection from the facts of reality. In other words, when the facts don't fit the narrative, it's time to change the narrative. (Mr. McCarthy are you paying attention?)

Donny's been spewing the same noxious windmill gas leaving graveyards full of Xmas ganders for years .....talk about blowhard windmills destroying the country...

BakoGuy805

Driving to Bakersfield through Mojave. The wind turbines are an eye sore on the mountain. We sure know how to ruin a beautiful landscape with trash.

586Steve

Well apparently the president is ill-informed about the benefits of wind power. So he needs to get some better advice from people that are schooled in that venue. But no reason to throw him under the bus, like you and everybody else are doing in this country on the left side. He’ll eventually come around like all CEO’s do. I would think that most of those wind turbine companies are reaping the benefits of a higher stock market earnings. Time will shake out the facts. Give the man time. He’s going to have five years to figure it all out.

DesertSon

The foremost expert on military matters, wind power, and toilet flushing. In the words of the renowned philosopher, Bugs Bunny, “What a maroon!”

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