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As the wind blows

Wind power really blows.

Consider two stories from this week.

First, Air Force and Pentagon officials held a three-day forum in Las Vegas to dial back the rush to develop renewable resources all over Southern Nevada — and especially within and around the 12,000 square miles of airspace controlled by Nellis Air Force Base.

Windmills, in particular, are so disruptive to radar signals that they could render the country’s biggest and best air defense training range useless.

“We need to be able to use the range as an outdoor laboratory,” said Col. Steven Garland, commander of the 99th Air Base Wing at Nellis. “We’ve got 68 years of investing in this pristine outdoor laboratory. You can’t replace it anywhere else in the United States.”

Of course, the whole reason so many wind farms have been proposed all over the United States is the promise that they’ll reduce carbon emissions and help states reach arbitrary, mandated renewable benchmarks to stave off a hoaxed global warming catastrophe.

But it turns out, the Defense Department is doing taxpayers and ratepayers a favor by vetoing a number of wind farms. As Robert Bryce wrote this week in The Wall Street Journal, “a slew of recent studies show that wind-generated electricity likely won’t result in any reduction in carbon emissions — or that they’ll be so small as to be almost meaningless.”

Wind power, heavily subsidized by taxpayers and far more expensive than electricity generated by fossil fuels, is intermittent. No wind, no electricity. So utilities have to either keep conventional plants running all the time as backup, or constantly shut them down and fire them up, depending on whether the wind is blowing, to keep everyone’s lights on.

Mr. Bryce reports that this “cycling” of conventional power plants is so inefficient that it negates whatever emissions reductions are realized by turning wind turbines.

“Wind energy gives people a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling that we’re taking action on climate change,” Kevin Forbes, director of the Center for the Study of Energy and Environmental Stewardship, told Mr. Byrce. “The reality is that it’s not doing much of anything.”

This is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s big pitch for reviving Nevada’s economy, the reason voters should return him to Washington: the siren song of “green jobs.”

No thanks.

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