Paul Gipe Response to Daily Mail Claim of 14,000 Abandoned Wind Turbines

By Paul Gipe


The following is a response to an article in London’s Daily Mail on what they claim are 14,000 “abandoned wind turbines”. As a long-time critic of abandoned wind turbines in California, I was quoted (correctly) in the article. However, the article was a classic hatchet job of anti-renewables diatribe and innuendo.


The article by Tom Leonard in the Daily Mail about wind turbines in Hawaii and California was far off the mark. He seemed to have missed my point. If you pay a fair price for the electricity, then it pays to operate the turbines. And if turbines don’t operate they should be removed. It’s as simple as that.

The author failed to mention I informed him that wind turbines in California have been generating 2-4 TWh per year or about 2% of the state’s electricity for more than two decades. Not including that information puts the article clearly in the camp of an over-the-top opinion piece.

The author also failed to include my comments that abandoned wind turbines is a particularly American problem. I specifically told the author that you could drive anywhere in the USA and find abandoned farm equipment and automobiles. You can even find abandoned automobiles in the residential neighborhood where I live.

I could add that there is an abandoned oil-fired power plant in our city that has stood idle for two decades. Until today, there were no plans for its removal. Again, that’s a typically American problem. I am sure you wouldn’t tolerate that in Great Britain.

The solution to abandoned wind turbines, as I informed the author, is a removal or demolition bond. This is a well-known concept in common law, something we share with Britain.

As a side note, we have four large nuclear reactors in California. Two of these reactors were shut off in an emergency earlier this year. Because these two reactors are down for an unforeseen length of time, planners are warning that there may be electricity shortages this summer. We’re going to need every one of those wind turbines operating in California this summer because you can’t count on nuclear when you really need it.


Paul Gipe Author, advocate, and renewable energy industry analyst