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Trump Admits He ‘Never Understood Wind’ in Speech Full of Inaccuracies

A wind farm in Southern California between the San Jacinto and San Bernardino mountains. (Photo: Erik Wilde)
A wind farm in Southern California between the San Jacinto and San Bernardino mountains. (Photo: Erik Wilde)

Wind farms are one of the obvious choices for transitioning off fossil fuels, but for Trump they are a massive point of contention.

President Donald Trump went on a tangent that included his favorite wind farm nemesis Dec. 21 at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit. During his hour-long speech, he managed to fit in criticism of the green energy after touching on Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren and the Green New Deal. 

“I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. I’ve studied it better than anybody I know,” Trump said, according to a transcript published by The Washington Post. “It’s very expensive. They’re made in China and Germany mostly—very few made here, almost none. But they’re manufactured tremendous—if you’re into this—tremendous fumes.”

Wind Turbines Negate Their Carbon Footprints in 6 Months

Fumes caused by manufacturing windmills were only one of his complaints against them. According to Trump, they also kill birds, many of which are bald eagles, and devalue property up to 50 percent, but how true are Trump’s claims and why does he have such a passion against wind energy?

While it is true that carbon gases are released when producing components for wind farms, judging by that metric alone ignores the amount of emissions prevented by their use. A study from the American Wind Energy Association determined the energy they generate prevented 200 million tons of pollution last year alone. Furthermore, John Bowden of The Hill reported that wind farms negate their carbon footprints “within 6 months of operation.” 

It is near indisputable that wind energy is more eco-friendly than coal, which not only includes carbon emissions during production, but also during its usage. Trump seemed to ignore this fact in somehow using the argument of pollution against building more wind farms. 

Wind Farms Kill Birds, but Trump Tower Kills More

Turning to his avian concerns, it became clear during Trump’s speech that he had probably never even visited a wind farm.

“You want to see a bird graveyard?” Trump asked the crowd. “You just go. Take a look. A bird graveyard. Go under a windmill someday. You’ll see more birds than you’ve ever seen ever in your life… A windmill will kill many bald eagles. It’s true.”

A Google search yielded no results for images of the alleged “bird graveyards,” but they could hypothetically exist for a brief moment before scavengers pick apart the bodies. That’s not to say windmills do not kill birds; a US Fish and Wildlife Service found that they claim the lives of 234,012 birds per year. 

“But for comparison, collisions with glass buildings — like the ones Trump has made a career stamping his name on — kill 599,000,000 birds every year. That’s 2,559 times more birds than turbines,” Kristin Houser wrote for Futurism. If Trump is as concerned with birds as it would seem from his speech, perhaps he should rally against skyscrapers instead.

Property Values Aren’t Falling Near Wind Farms

Finally, to address his third argument regarding property values, there has yet to be a study confirming a decrease in home values after wind farms are built. In fact, every analysis thus far has failed to confirm a decrease, according to CNN. One such study came from Ben Hoen and Carol Atkinson-Palombo in 2016. Their findings were based on a 15-year period, which analyzed home sales in a 10-mile radius of wind farms.

Trump’s vendetta against wind energy is not new. In 2013, he protested plans to build a wind farm in view of the Trump International Golf Links in Scotland. He took the government to court in an attempt to prohibit it. He lost the court battle and according to The Washington Post, was ordered to pay $290,000 to the Scottish government to cover legal expenses it incurred fighting the lawsuit.

Sustainable energy is the future. China, India, and even Saudi Arabia are investing heavily in alternative energy sources. Wind farms are one of the obvious choices for transitioning off fossil fuels, but for Trump they are a massive point of contention. As he himself said, however, he has “never understood wind.”

Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis is Managing Editor for The Osage County Herald-Chronicle in Kansas and also covers International news for Inside Over, a Milan-based global affairs publication. He graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Outside of writing, he enjoys photography and one day hopes to return to video production. Learn more about him at his website danieldavis.la.

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