As Donald Trump leaves the White House, few in the wind industry will shed a tear over the departure of a president who made it a regular target for scorn, insults and his own brand of fake news — most notoriously the suggestion that turbines cause cancer.
Trump’s blasts against the wind sector predated his presidency — maybe his golf club’s long, losing legal battle against an offshore wind project in Scotland stoked the flames — and may well continue as he rejoins the world of business.
The “cancer” claim during a 2019 speech proved a step too far even for many of Trump’s supporters, and was subsequently dismantled in the media, not least in a Recharge article at the time.
But as he leaves office, it would be remiss not to revisit some of the president’s choicest words of wisdom on what he usually called “windmills”, below.
It is also worth noting that despite all his hostility, US wind power ends the Trump era in robust shape, with onshore build-outs at a record pace in the early part of 2020, even in the face of Covid disruption, and the promise of an offshore wind boom as states line up to buy clean power from turbines at sea.
Presumably, he will claim no credit.
Trump on wind power
“It’s got a lot of problems. They have to make the windmills in Germany and China.” A surprise to the thousands working in the US wind industry, many in Republican states.
“If it doesn’t blow, you can forget about television for that night.” We’re not sure who the president’s utility supplier is, but he needs to have a word.
“If you love birds, you’d never want to walk under a windmill, because it’s a very sad, sad sight. It’s like a cemetery. We put a little statue for the poor birds.” Bird mortality is certainly an issue for the wind industry — but it’s just possible this is more about loathing for wind turbines than love for our feathered friends.
“If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations: Your house just went down 75% in value.” There's no evidence for this.
“If you believe in emissions, the fumes coming up to make these massive windmills is more than anything we’re talking about with natural gas.” Fake news.
“They say the noise causes cancer.” Who says that and what are their qualifications?
“I know more about wind than you do.” No comment.