By Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Christopher Martin
President Donald Trump scoffed yet again at a source of electricity championed by his own energy secretary, saying wind power doesn’t work “all that well.”
“We’re the No. 1 energy producer in the world,” Trump said at the end of a summit of Group of Seven in Biarritz, France. “I’m not going to lose that wealth on dreams, on windmills, which, frankly are not working all that well.”
The comment, in response to a question about climate change, is the latest in a line of statements from the president disparaging wind power. And yet, the U.S. has added more than 15 gigawatts since he took office in 2017, enough to power half of New York state. The industry, meanwhile, now employs more than 110,000 people.
Even Energy Secretary Rick Perry touts the benefits of wind, which supplies about 20% of electricity in his home state of Texas.
Trump has said turbines are “monstrous,” are “killing all the eagles” and cause cancer. His comment Monday came after the Energy Department released a report finding employment in the industry has risen to a record 114,000 full-time jobs. It’s also the cheapest new source of electricity in many regions of the U.S.
“We think the president is making a political miscalculation in his comments on wind energy,” Tom Kiernan, chief executive officer of the American Wind Energy Association, said in a statement.
To be clear, wind energy does have shortcomings. Earlier this month in Texas, wholesale power prices surged 40,000%, in part because output from wind farms fell during a heat wave. And in the U.K., more than a million homes lost power on Aug. 9 after turbines in the North Sea tripped offline.
In response to Trump’s wind power comment, the Sierra Club called him a “climate denier.”
“He outright ignores the existence of the climate crisis, his administration is directed by corporate polluters, he believes windmills cause cancer (they don’t), and he can’t even bring himself to engage in meaningful discussions with other world leaders about how to address the most pressing issue of our time,” the group said.