The social costs of renewable energy

An interesting study was recently published by University of California Davis researcher, Katherine Ingram that questions the impact of the wind industry on bats, and by extension, the agriculture industry. As one email headline linking to a Daily Caller article on this issue noted, wind energy means less bats and more mosquitos.

A new study by University of California Davis researcher Katherine Ingram claims that bats add $3.7 billion to the U.S. agriculture industry through pest control. As it turns out, eating moths, mosquitos and other bugs make bats a big money saver for farmers, especially organic growers, looking to cut down on pesticide use. …

Wind turbines kill between 650,000 to 1.3 million bats every year, according to a 2013 study cited by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If Ingram’s research holds up to scrutiny, policies promoting wind energy are hacking out at millions of dollars in potential benefits for farmers.

Of course in the coal industry, we are constantly bombarded with demands that we include the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) in any cost / benefit discussions that are had about coal-fueled energy. (We’ll ignore for the moment the fact that the SCC calculations used by the federal government and ENGOs wholly ignore the social, economic, and environmental benefits of carbon.)

One wonders when (or if) the social, economic, and environmental costs of millions of dead bats and birds will ever be included – along with the billions in direct payments and subsidies, as well as recognition of the preferential permitting, and protective mandates that unnaturally bolster the renewables industry – in the actual costs of producing electricity with renewables.

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16. October 2015 by Jason Hayes
Categories: Energy, Environment, Permits, Policy | Tags: , , , , | 1 comment