Wind Power Challenges vs. Propane Benefits

A field of wind turbines

With modern turbine blades longer than half of a football field, wind farms literally reach toward the sky. These sightlines combined with the noise they generate tend to make poor neighbors. Many urban dwellers may have never seen a wind farm and there is a good reason for that. Wind farms mostly get placed in remote locations far from the people and homes that need their electricity.

Propane, on the other hand, is conveniently delivered to the end user. No transmission losses, no permitting and with a backup generator, no worries about when the next electrical failure may occur. Once stored it never goes bad which means it is ready to go to deliver clean energy today, tomorrow and in the future.

Overcoming Distance: Wind Power’s Transmission Dilemma

The remote location of most wind farms reveals a weakness of wind power when creating electrical energy. Once it is created, it must get transferred. In addition to the transmission losses with any form of electrical current, energy lines must survive the legislative and permitting process to move power from point A to point B.

This permitting process usually involves meeting municipalities, counties, state and federal land regulations along with competing interests like railroad lines, personal property, endangered species, and so on. Getting permits to complete an electrical power line can take decades to complete. An example of good intentions gone sideways lies in the Boardman-to-Hemingway Project undertaken in Idaho in 2008.1 This 370-mile transmission line has been mired in red tape for over 14 years. The latest completion date is estimated to be in 2026, some 20 years after its original proposal.

One more example includes the Cape Wind Project, a wind farm proposed to live off the coast of Massachusetts, near Martha’s Vineyard.2 Strong opposition appeared from landowners and the tourism industry. This is an example of Not in My Backyard (NIMBY). The sightlines off this massive farm offend those whose views will suffer.

Propane is a proven product that helps the environment now. It is a perfect complement to existing energy sources for a cleaner tomorrow. But, unlike many sources and too-good-to-be-true ideas, propane and renewable biopropane are ready to help the environment now and are poised to power America well into the future.

Why are Wind Turbines Failing?

A recent article in Popular Mechanics along with other publications examined why wind turbines are mysteriously falling over.3 While no one culprit was identified, the general feeling steers towards that in a rush to create green energy, manufacturing quality control standards have been relaxed. This has led the CEO of a wind turbine manufacturer to explain, “Rapid innovation strains manufacturing and the broader supply chain.”

In stark contrast, propane is ready to deliver energy to a power-hungry America immediately. With a well-established supply chain and distribution system that dates back 100 years, propane is ready to deliver power to meet tomorrow’s energy demands.

Sustainability Questions with Wind Turbine Blades

Speaking of those wind turbine blades, they too must be manufactured and this requires mining. A recent study by the Manhattan Institute has written that making a single wind turbine blade requires more plastic than five million smartphones.4 That does not include the after-life of a wind turbine blade and whether or not it can be recycled.

How Propane Compares to Wind Power

Propane does not need to pass through the permitting process and it has already been recognized by the federal government as a clean fuel. It has established itself as an environmentally friendly and abundant source of energy with a reliable supply chain. Propane is the third most used transportation fuel in the world.5 Propane makes sense for energy-conscious homes, businesses, fleets, school districts and agricultural applications. Propane makes sense for Missouri and can make sense for you, too.