I don't recall this being listed in the cost-benefit analysis of wind energy, but maybe it was somewhere in the appendix:
On a calm, sunny day last June, Mike Willey was feeding his cattle when he got a call from the local sheriff's dispatcher. A motorist had reported that one of the huge turbines at a nearby wind farm had collapsed in dramatic fashion. Willey, chief of the volunteer fire department in Ames, 90 miles northwest of Oklahoma City, set out to survey the scene.
The steel tower, which once stood hundreds of feet tall, was buckled in half, and the turbine blades, whose rotation took the machine higher than the Statue of Liberty, were splayed across the wheat field below. The turbine, made by General Electric Co., had been in operation less than a year. "It fell pretty much right on top of itself," Willey says.
"Less than a year," eh? That's just the kind of ringing endorsement you want for the power grid of the future: Eleven months for it to literally bend itself in half.
Not long afterwards, Bloomberg reports, "another GE turbine of the same model collapsed in Colorado:"
The instances are part of a rash of recent wind turbine malfunctions across the US and Europe, ranging from failures of key components to full collapses. Some industry veterans say they're happening more often, even if the events are occurring at only a small fraction of installed machines. The problems have added hundreds of millions of dollars in costs for the three largest Western turbine makers, GE, Vestas Wind Systems and Siemens Energy's Siemens Gamesa unit; and they could result in more expensive insurance policies — a potential setback for the push to abandon fossil fuels and fight climate change.
A "potential setback?" That seems unlikely. The green agenda has never really been about the feasibility of green energy itself. This movement is 99% political and 1% practical. If the green infrastructure is literally collapsing in on itself, that really won't have much of an effect on how hardcore environmentalists approach the issue.