The Corner

How Would He Get The Land?

The Heartland Institute’s Zonia Pino picks apart the Pickens Plan in a new op-ed that makes a property-rights argument worth emphasizing:

For starters, wind power is very unreliable. The turbines that produce the electricity work only when the wind is blowing within a specific, narrow range of speed. In its downtime, the system has to revert to conventional power sources, and the switching between wind and conventional power requires an even greater output of energy just to make the conversion.

Second, wind farms require vast amounts of land in order to garner necessary energy. Landscapes across America would be blighted by countless regiments of these monstrous machines—often taller than the U.S. Capitol. Much of this land would be acquired through the controversial practice of “eminent domain,” where the government takes private land for the “good” of the larger populace.

As William Tucker explained in a NR piece a couple of issues ago, vastly more land would be necessary to extend all the new transmission lines from windmills in the center of the country to high-demand communities on each coast, at exorbitant expense. How would all these land parcels be assembled? The answer seems obvious to me.

I worry that some conservative-leaning voters may be swayed by Boone Pickens’ national-security-laden promises about energy independence, a goal that sounds vaguely attractive but makes absolutely no economic sense, while missing how costly his grandiose scheme would be in taxes, higher prices, and freedom.


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