It’s not just Don Quixote who’s tilting at windmills. Government, it seems, has followed suit.

As recently reported by The Telegraph, 20 percent of the EU’s soaring trillion-euro budget may soon be spent on “fighting climate change.” Wind companies told the EU’s Department of Energy and Climate Change [DECC] that if they were to spend the recommended 100 billion pounds on building thousands of wind turbines, they would be required to build 17 new gas-fired power stations simply to provide back-up for those turbines. As the article states, Britain “will thus be landed in the ludicrous position of having to spend an additional 10 billion pounds on those 17 dedicate power stations… just to make up for the fundamental problem of wind turbines.”

These findings are not specific to Europe. In our study, Gone With the Wind, we analyzed the cost of implementing a large-scale wind energy infrastructure in Texas. The costs are staggering. For instance, subsidies for Texas wind energy through the federal Production Tax Credit should cost taxpayers about $300 million in 2010. The cost of wind Renewable Energy Credits-perhaps $41 million this year-are passed on to consumers through the price of electricity. Additionally, Competitive Renewable Energy Zone transmission lines-being built to transmit electricity from wind in West Texas-will add as much as $1.3 billion annually to electricity bills once the lines have been completed. The extra annual cost to consumers and taxpayers for wind energy could reach $2 billion by 2020.

Don Quixote ends with the protagonist suddenly waking up from his delusions to fully recover his sanity and apologize for the harm he has caused on his “quests.” Hopefully, there will be a similar result for Government windmill tilting.

– Ryan Brannan