Home News Fact Checking President Trump’s Assessment of Wind Power and Electric Vehicles

Fact Checking President Trump’s Assessment of Wind Power and Electric Vehicles

Fact Checking President Trump’s Assessment of Wind Power and Electric Vehicles

U.S. President Donald Trump mocked renewable energy at 's campaign rally in Michigan.

Implicating Hillary Clinton as part of Big Wind, Trump said, “If Hillary got in… you'd be doing wind. Windmills. Weeeee. And if it doesn't blow, you can forget about television for that night. 'Darling, I want to watch television. ' 'I'm sorry! The wind isn't blowing. '”

“I know a lot about wind,” said the president. (Transcript here.)

Last month, Trump took some time out of his oratory at the conservative CPAC occasion to work the same trope.

After indicating that the proposed Green New Deal from the Democrats would result in “no airplanes ” and “no energy,” the president said: “When the wind stops blowing, that’s the conclusion of your electric. ” 

Trump played the same role pretending to be a consumer relying on wind power, saying, “Darling, is the wind blowing today? I’d like to watch tv, darling. ”

This was met with enthusiastic applause from the thousands of attendees. 

That's not how wind works

So — given 60 minutes to fact-check and counter POTUS’s speech, here’s some signs you may use to make your argument, taken from the President’s own Department of Energy (DOE), together with statistics from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and MAKE Consulting, now part of Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

The DOE has a Wind Energy Technologies Office that “functions with electrical grid operators, utilities, regulators, academia, and industry to create new strategies for incorporating increasing amounts of wind energy into the power system while preserving economic and reliable operation of the grid. ”

Here’s a Wind 101 fact sheet from AWEA. Which contains such nuggets as:

U.S. wind industry encouraged over 100,000 jobs across all 50 countries in 2017.

Wind energy supplied 6.3 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2017.

Wind jobs in 2017 represent $11 billion in private placement.

There is almost 100 gigawatts of combined wind capacity in the U.S. 

Wind power is on track to surpass hydropower as the U.S. grid’s largest source of renewable electricity in 2019, based on Energy Information Administration data.

MAKE Consulting more than doubled its offshore wind outlook this past year, projecting a 5.3-gigawatt marketplace by 2026. BNEF discovered that offshore end saw a 24 percent decrease in levelized cost of energy (LCOE) to fall below $100 per megawatt-hour, compared to about $220 per megawatt-hour just five decades ago. The benchmark LCOE for onshore wind fell by 10 percent to reach $50 per megawatt-hour for jobs starting construction in ancient 2019.

MAKE and AWEA would not correct Trump or respond to this basic question about their industry. But the replies, essentially capacity factor and transmission, are already on the AWEA website:

“Over the course of a year, modern turbines can generate usable amounts of electricity over 90 percent of the time. ”

“Modern wind farms often have capacity factors greater than 40 percent, which is near some types of coal or natural gas power plants. ”

According to the AWEA blog, “Previous cold snaps also showed the value of transmission for increasing resilience and keeping access to reliable electricity during extreme weather,” signs of “the value of wind’s geographic diversity paired with a well-connected grid, creating a more resilient overall system. ”

Perhaps Rick Perry, DOE Secretary and steward of the U.S. energy fleet, can correct the administration’s mischaracterization of wind power’s reliability and heft. Perry is most recently in the news authorizing the sale of unclassified civil nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.

Trump has EV range anxiety  

Like most consumers, The President has electric vehicle range anxiety and perhaps a minor misconception about the assortment of modern electric vehicles.

Trump suggested that the Green New Deal would result in 1 car per family, adding,”I don't think one car per family in Michigan plays too well. Do you agree, right, not too well, and it's got to be, of course, that electric car, even if it only goes one hundred and sixty miles?”

Firstly, American motorists average about 40 miles per day, as stated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Long drives are the exception. Second, battery performance, and for that reason range, is good now and continues to improve with incremental gains in lithium-ion chemistries and new technologies like solid-state batteries on the horizon. 

While there are loads of short-range commuter cars, the 2019 model year has quite a few electric models with over 200 miles of range.

Tesla Model S: 250 to 315 Miles

Tesla Model X 100D: 295 Miles

Audi e-tron: 248 miles

Hyundai Kona Electric: 258 miles 

Nissan Leaf e+:  226 miles

EV range amounts are estimates and do suffer with heavier loads, higher speeds, steep terrain and colder temperatures. However, EV performance is more practical every year, and hopefully we can work through our array anxiety together as a country. 


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