General Electric’s Taxpayer-Powered Wind Machines

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Editors’ Note: This is just another example of wild spending to force change in the energy field on Americans and how badly US corporations have been corrupted by the government by the cynically named Inflation Reduction Act.


“Wind turbines are like strippers. They stop working when you stop throwing money at them.” Author unknown

The price of climate pork has shot up 2,000 percent, thanks to the ironically-named Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA). According to a recent projection from the U.S. Treasury, American taxpayers will fork over a stunning $425 billion for wind and solar energy subsidies over the next decade. This represents a 21-fold increase in the cost of these subsidies just since 2015, according to calculations made by energy journalist Robert Bryce.

The market capitalization of General Electric (GE) hovered just above $70 billion in the summer of 2022. The Inflation Reduction Act was signed by the president in August. By late February 2024, GE was worth $167 billion.

Is that a coincidence?

An April 2023 CNBC report was titled: “From GE to Siemens, the wind energy industry hopes billions in losses are about to end.”

It predicted a possible end to a “tough couple of years for the U.S. wind energy industry” because of an “air of optimism within the industry, driven in large part by billions of dollars in new tax credits and subsidies toward clean energy investments included in the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act.”

The Largest Wind Farm in the Western Hemisphere

The prophecy was coming true by January 2024, as demonstrated by this corporate communication from GE:

Recognizing that decarbonization needs to go even faster, the U.S. government has once again stepped up its policy support. For many years, solar and wind projects have benefited from the basic production and investment tax credits, which have been extended multiple times by Congress in the past. But the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) not only provides the long-term certainty of those PTC and ITC, it also has other bonuses, and one job that GE Vernova takes on is helping developers hit the targets required to qualify for those bonuses. [emphasis added]

Or, if phrased as a new mission statement, “GE: Helping developers hoover up your tax dollars!

The GE statement was promoting the work of one of those developers.

Getting renewable electricity to big population centers is a growing challenge in the United States, but in the high desert of central New Mexico a plan is coming together. There, near the tiny town of Corona, GE Vernova will deploy 674 of its new “workhorse” 3.6-154 wind turbines for the SunZia project and its developer, Pattern Energy. When completed in 2026, this colossus of a project will weigh in at a total 3,500 MW, making it the largest wind farm—and in fact the largest renewables project—in the Western Hemisphere, providing enough power for some 3 million people.

Spread out over a million acres, SunZia’s ambitious scope has been compared to the Hoover Dam. [emphasis added]

Boasting of this huge chunk of the environment that must be compromised to make room for its wind turbines is an odd way for GE to promote its power systems.

So is the Hoover Dam comparison. A January 2024 E&E News report more substantively predicted SunZia would provide “three times more power annually than the Hoover Dam.”

The million acres projected to be used to build SunZia equals 1,562 square miles.

Sitting between the “tiny town of Corona” and the Hoover Dam is the Grand Canyon, a hole in the ground so huge that astronauts can clearly see it from orbit. The canyon, plus all of the roads and land on either side of it that make up Grand Canyon National Park, add up to just over 1,904 square miles.

By way of comparison, the Hoover Dam is small enough that you need to drive to it before it becomes visible. Lake Mead, the otherwise very large reservoir created by the Hoover Dam, takes up only 247 square miles when it is full.

By GE’s own estimate, to generate three times the carbon-free electricity produced from the Hoover Dam/Lake Mead project, the largest wind power project ever put on this side of the Earth will need to devour six times more of the planet.

Hydroelectric dams take up a lot of space, arguably too much in some cases. But the Hoover Dam apparently still uses less land per kilowatt hour of power than GE’s newest wind turbines will require. (And another advantage beyond the carbon-free electricity is that Lake Mead stores enough water to irrigate 2,300 square miles of farmland and provide fresh water for 16 million people.)

GE’s engineers should check the math on the press statements being sent out by the PR department.

And compared to other carbon-free power options, the Hoover Dam comparison isn’t even remotely the worst one GE could have chosen. The “tiny town of Corona,” near where the SunZia wind facility is being built, is a 646-mile drive east from the Hoover Dam. In the same general direction, but just 575 miles away, sits the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station.

From a mere 6.4 square mile plot of land 60 miles from downtown Phoenix, Palo Verde annually produces more than 31 terawatt hours (TWh) of zero-carbon electricity and is capable of more than 32 TWh each year.

In 2023 the Hoover Dam produced a combined 2.7 TWh of electricity for Arizona and Nevada. If the SunZia project really does triple the power output of the Hoover Dam, then it will annually generate 8.1 TWh of power. So GE is boasting that it needs 244 times more land than Palo Verde to produce just 25 percent of the carbon-free electricity kicked out by the nuclear station.

This means a nuclear facility opened more than 30 years ago is still nearly 1,000 times more efficient with land use (i.e., “the environment”) than GE’s latest and greatest wind machines will be.

The Old Wind Turbines

On the positive side, at least they’re using the new stuff.

Media accounts from January 2022 through January 2024 show at least 13 fires, blade breaks, tower collapses, and other serious malfunctions credited to GE wind machines. Seven were in the United States.

About 550 miles north of where SunZia will be built a GE wind turbine caught fire after its tower collapsed in Colorado on the morning of January 11, 2024. This was apparently less than two days after GE posted the statement describing SunZia. The Colorado turbine was one of 19 GE wind machines that were in motion at the Spring Canyon II wind facility in late 2014. By the dates provided in a CBS media account, the turbine had lasted just over nine years before it fell over.

Three months earlier in October 2023, two different blades snapped off the same GE turbine at a wind facility in Germany. The same wind farm had a nearly identical problem with another of its GE turbines in September 2022. Following the 2022 incident, nearby farmers complained that debris from the malfunction had polluted their fields.

In March 2023, one of 14 GE turbines at a brand-new wind facility in Lithuania fell to the ground when the tower buckled. According to the account in, a “malfunctioning sensor” had caused the turbine to misbehave and topple the tower.

Also in March 2023, a GE turbine managed by NextEra energy in New York caught fire during high winds that scattered burning fiberglass and other debris all over the town. The local newspaper covered an April 2023 meeting on the incident with the headline: “Heated meeting as residents with fiberglass particles on land, trees and possibly ponds question wind turbine fire.”

And in January 2023, a GE turbine collapsed at another NextEra facility in Wisconsin. In March 2023, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported: “Nearly two months later the remains of the crumpled tower are still where they fell, it’s 86-ton turbine and blades resting partially buried in a hole created by the impact.”

In Ireland a few months earlier in October 2022 an offshore GE turbine caught fire in the Irish Sea. Media accounts raised the possibility of a lightning strike on the machine.

Then in August 2022, a GE turbine at an Oklahoma wind power facility came down in a fiery crash. “The utility company said the cause of the incident is under investigation,” reported Fox Weather, “but the scene looked similar to the destruction of a wind turbine in Texas after a direct lightning strike in late July.”

That July 2022 incident in Texas also involved a GE turbine. According, the wind machine had been in operation since 2019 and the developer of the project believed a lighting strike had been the cause of the “catastrophic fire.” Fox Weather reported that “videos from witnesses and firefighters showed the wind turbine generator ablaze and disintegrate in the sky over Crowell, Texas.”

(Note for further investigation: Could it be that weather-dependent wind power systems are peculiarly vulnerable to . . . the weather?)

Also in July 2022, a blade broke off of a GE turbine in Sweden. ReCharge News reported that a family with children had been picking berries nearby the malfunction. The headline of the ReCharge News report led with this quote: “Lucky family wasn’t hurt.”

In June 2022, according to Bloomberg, another GE wind turbine that had “been in operation for less than a year” crashed down in Oklahoma. Unlike the August 2023 incident involving a supposedly lightning-afflicted GE turbine in Oklahoma, this one happened on a calm, clear day.

The January 2023 Bloomberg report was titled: “Wind Turbines Taller Than the Statue of Liberty Are Falling Over.” The same report covered yet another incident from June 2022:

Another GE turbine of the same model collapsed in Colorado a few days later. That wind farm’s owner-operator, NextEra Energy Inc., later attributed it to a blade flaw and said it and GE had taken steps to prevent future mishaps. A spokesperson for GE declined to say what went wrong in both cases in a statement to Bloomberg.

Similarly in January 2022 a blade from a GE wind machine in Germany broke into multiple pieces and fell off the turbine.

IRA to the Rescue?

The Bloomberg report in January 2023 showed General Electric wasn’t the only turbine maker in trouble by that point:

The problems have added hundreds of millions of dollars in costs for the three largest Western turbine makers, GE, Vestas Wind Systems and Siemens Energy’s Siemens Gamesa unit; and they could result in more expensive insurance policies . . .

The race to add production lines for ever-bigger turbines is cited as a major culprit by people in the industry. “We’re seeing these failures happening in a shorter time frame on the newer turbines, and that’s quite concerning,” says Fraser McLachlan, chief executive officer of London-based GCube Underwriting Ltd., which insures about $3.5 billion in wind assets in 38 countries. If the failure rate keeps climbing, he says, insurance premiums could increase or new coverage limits could be imposed.

But this was just as hundreds of billions of dollars in goodies from the federal government were set to begin raining down on the weather-dependent wind industry by way of the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act.

Is it reasonable to conclude that your tax dollars are the only thing keeping the wind turbine grift alive?

Sometimes even the experts are honest about it.

“I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate,” said billionaire investor Warren Buffett, way back in May 2014. “For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

Thanks to the IRA, they now make 21 times more “sense” than they did when Buffett said this.


This article was published by Capital Research and is reproduced with permission.

Image Credit: YouTube Screenshot KCCI News


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