President Donald Trump claimed wind turbines are a poor source of electricity, arguing that people would have to turn off their televisions because “the wind isn’t blowing.”
“If Hillary [Clinton] got in…you’d be doing wind,” he told the crowd at a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, last night. “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.'” he added, mimicking a man watching television with his partner. “I know a lot about wind.”
TRUMP: "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." pic.twitter.com/tGsUIoUmUQ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 29, 2019
Trump’s comments received a sharp rebuke from Michael Mann, a professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University. Speaking to Newsweek, Mann said the president’s remarks amounted to “malicious ignorance.”
“The truth is that a combination of wind, solar and other renewables, along with battery and smart grid technology, can provide continuous and abundant electricity,” Mann said.
The president’s latest demonstration of not understanding basic science received attention from many other critics who also took aim at the president for his long record of climate denial:
US: climate change is a pressing and complex challenge that requires investment in alternative energy and a commitment to science and technology
TRUMP: when the wind isn’t blowing you can’t watch tv
— Jake Maccoby (@jdmaccoby) March 29, 2019
Correction: Trump knows a lot about hot air, not wind. That's not actually how #renewables work. Ask Germany, where 65% of power for the first week of March came from renewables, with 48.4% of that from wind power.
— Jess Phoenix 🌋🏳️🌈🤠 (@jessphoenix2018) March 29, 2019
https://t.co/34Ckg7JnmK Denmark is reliant on over 80% wind power. So much so they can supply a whole day on just wind. Trump is an idiot. Hillary Clinton didn't talk about wind power. She supported fracking. I guess Donald is an expert on wind and big big water that's very wet.
— DT Jackson (@WhoIsDTJackson) March 29, 2019
Sure, @realDonaldTrump knows a lot about wind, he’s full of hot air among other things.. How about #solar power, bc the sun sets each day, will POTUS claim it is unreliable as well. #RenewableEnergy is our future! This man is incompetent and an embarrassment to our Country. https://t.co/rBP4zGT7a0
— Lori Moloney (@lorifaithnyc) March 29, 2019
Saw your latest comment about not being able to watch your TV when using wind power. This is the second time you’ve said it.
FYI, there’s this great thing called “energy storage.”
Look into it!
— Mike Levin (@MikeLevinCA) March 21, 2019
Even the Trump administration’s very own Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy understands how wind power works:
A wind turbine works like a fan, but in reverse: instead of using electricity to make wind, like a fan, wind turbines use wind to make electricity. The wind turns the turbine’s blades, which spin a shaft connected to a generator to make electricity.
The website also points out what happens to the electricity supply when the wind isn’t blowing:
The U.S. power grid consists of a huge number of interconnected transmission lines that connect a variety of generation sources to loads. The wind does not always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine, which creates additional variability (due to the changing output of wind and solar) and uncertainty (due to the inability to perfectly forecast wind or solar output).
But power grid operators have always had to deal with variability. Other forms of power generation, including traditional thermal generation, can unexpectedly trip off-line without notice; all forms of power generation may sometimes not operate when called upon. There is also uncertainty inherent in the system due to ever-changing load (energy demand) that cannot be predicted perfectly, which power grid operators have always had to manage.
Grid operators use the interconnected power system to access other forms of generation when contingencies occur and continually turn generators on and off when needed to meet the overall grid demand.
Adding variable renewable power to the grid does not inherently change how this process of balancing electricity supply and demand works. Studies have shown that the grid can accommodate large penetrations of variable renewable power without sacrificing reliability, and without the need for “backup” generation.