Fact check: A GOP Senate candidate claims wind turbines have an overall negative effect on carbon emissions

Our weekly check-in with the Texas Truth-O-Meter.

By Jon Greenberg; radio interview produced by Alexandra Hart with participation from Nusaiba Mizan, PolitiFact/Austin American-StatesmanMarch 30, 2022 3:29 pm,

From PolitiFact:

A GOP Senate candidate’s muddled claim about windmills and greenhouse gas emissions

Eli Bremer is one of seven Colorado Republicans vying to be the party’s nominee to face Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in the midterm elections. Bremer, a former  pentathlon Olympian, criticized Democrats’ emphasis on renewable energy, saying that it isn’t as green as Democrats make it out to be.

“If you look at windmills, there’s a lot of greenhouse gas emission cost that we gloss over,” Bremer said in a Fox News interview March 23. “We extract the raw materials from the ground, process them, assemble them, maintain them for the lifespan of the windmill, then we decommission them. Virtually every expert that I’ve talked to believes that the overall return is negative.”

Is it true that in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, the lifetime return on wind turbines is negative? We reached out to Bremer’s campaign to see what experts he relied on, and we didn’t hear back.

But what he said runs counter to every major study of this issue.

While Bremer was singling out windmills, the fact is that no matter what the fuel — natural gas, wind, solar, coal, etc. — you have to build whatever it is you’re going to use to generate electricity.

“Industrial infrastructure requires energy inputs and in that way, windmills or power plants, or for that matter, football stadiums, are the same,” said Carey King, assistant director at the University of Texas at Austin Energy Institute.

The energy used in construction emits greenhouse gases. Once you’ve emitted those greenhouse gases, you can’t undo them. But that doesn’t mean all sources of electricity are equal.

The key question, King said, is how does wind compare to other ways of making power?…

Read the full story and see how Bremer’s claim rated at PolitiFact. And listen to an interview with PolitiFact’s Nusaiba Mizan in the audio player above.

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