Why is Trump so against windmills and wind turbines?
I covered this in another article, but it’s perhaps worth a dedicated article. The fact is that Trump hates windmills. Okay, technically he hates wind turbines, but he doesn’t know the difference and calls them “windmills.” That’s all you need to know, but maybe not all you want to know. Trump doesn’t know why they exist, what they do, or how they work. But now that John McCain is sadly no longer with us, Windmills were on the short list to be Trump’s primary nemesis. Well, at least until “Trump is a Loser” as a current fact re-appeared last November, occupying more of his time. Though oddly, “Trump is a loser” bridges several of the stories here… it’s not a new revelation, but more of a Universal Truth.
- According to Trump, windmills “destroy everybody’s property values, kill all the birds.”
- According to Trump, they’re unreliable. “And then, all of a sudden, it stops; the wind and the televisions go off. And your wives and husbands say, ‘Darling, I want to watch Donald Trump on television tonight. But the wind stopped blowing and I can’t watch. There’s no electricity in the house, darling.’ ”
- According to Trump, “I’ve studied it better than anybody I know. I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. They’re noisy. They kill the birds. You want to see a bird graveyard? Go under a windmill someday. You’ll see more birds than you’ve ever seen in your life.”
- According to Trump, “If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 percent in value — and they say the noise causes cancer.”
- According to Trump, just this week, “They’re making windmills all over the place. They kill our land and kill our birds. They kill everything.”
Virtually nothing Trump believes about wind turbines is true, despite his claims of both not understanding wind and knowing more about windmills than anyone. Yes, they kill some birds, but not all that many. You will not see a bird graveyard under a wind turbine. Oil fields kill more birds than wind farms. So do coal plants, communications towers, and power lines. Windows kill nearly a billion birds a year in the USA, and cats, domestic and feral, over 2.5 billion by some accounts.
Wind Turbines in Texas, 2018
It’s not immediately obvious why Trump hates windmill. Especially since nearly 80% of new wind turbines in the USA are being built in Red, Trump-loving states. Oil-rich Texas made about 20% of their power from wind in 2020. The top states are Kansas (53.7%), Iowa (53.4%), North Dakota (51.1%) and Oklahoma (45.4%). Crazy, right?
As usual, Trump is 50-something years out of date on this, politically. So what’s his motivation, if his promoting coal isn’t even what most Republicans want? Like most things about Trump, it’s terribly stupid and terribly simple, but you have to do your research. Here’s mine!
So back in 2003, an offshore wind farm in Aberdeenshire, Scotland was initially proposed by the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group. In 2006, Trump bought a big chunk of coastal land, formerly part of the Menie estate, near the village of Balmedie, Aberdeenshire. And he proceeded to immediately attack the planned wind farm, sobbing “I want to see the ocean, I do not want to see windmills.”
And so off it went… Trump went into attack mode, while the energy folks proceeded to build a wind farm.
- In 2006 Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Scotland expressed concern about the effect the wind farm and Donald Trump’s golf course would have on the wildlife on the Aberdeenshire coast. They wanted some studies.
- Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond helped Trump and The Trump Organization get past local objections and red tape, establishing his golf resort project.
- In 2011, Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Ltd applied to build and operate the Aberdeen Bay Wind Farm with 11 turbines, 3.5 km from the resort. The wind farm would be visible from Trump’s resort and several other golf courses, some of which already have other nearby wind farms.
- In September 2011 the Trump Organization filed an objection to this application.
- Donald Trump also wrote to Salmond objecting to the turbines, calling them “environmentally irresponsible”. In a follow-up letter in the same month, he went on to describe the wind turbines as “ugly”, and that he was “fighting for the benefit of Scotland.”
- In January 2012, Trump halted work developing the golf resort pending a decision on the wind farm by Scottish ministers.
- In March 2012, Trump sent another letter to Salmond warning the first minister that he would become “known for centuries” as “the man who destroyed Scotland”. Because of course he did.
- Appearing before the Scottish Parliament’s economy, energy and tourism committee in April 2012, he claimed that he had been “lured” into building the golf resort upon assurances by the former and current first ministers, Jack McConnell and Alex Salmond, that the wind farm would not be built. McConnell and Salmond denied the claims.
- Trump stated that his golf course was due to open in July, but his plans for a hotel and hundreds of homes on the site had been put on hold.
- In September 2012, complaints were upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority about ads commissioned by The Trump Organization which gave “a misleading impression of the possible consequences of the Scottish government’s plans to use wind turbines.”
- In October 2012, Trump attacked RSPB Scotland for dropping opposition to the wind farm claiming that “their name should be changed to RSKB – Royal Society for the Killing of Birds.”
- Later that month, his lawyers called for a public inquiry into the wind farm.
- In December 2012, an advertisement sanctioned by The Trump Organization appeared in print which claimed that “tourism will suffer and the beauty of your country is in jeopardy”. The advert was later ruled “misleading” by the Advertising Standards Authority.
- When planning consent was granted by the Scottish government in March 2013, Trump vowed to “spend whatever monies are necessary to see to it that these huge and unsightly industrial wind turbines are never constructed.”
- In May 2013, Trump launched a legal challenge against the Scottish government’s decision to grant planning permission for the wind farm.
- The hearing began at the Court of Session in November 2013, but was rejected in February 2014.
- An appeal against the decision was heard at the Court of Session in January 2015, but Trump lost the appeal in June 2015.
- After the decision Trump said he would appeal before both the Supreme Court of the UK and the European Courts. Trump was unanimously found to be the loser of the case by the UK Supreme Court in December 2015.
- Finally, The Trump Organization agreed to pay $290,000 to the Scottish government, to cover the court costs for his losing case.
And so that’s why Donald J. Trump hates windmills. Er, umm, wind turbines.
So what’s in a name? Well, if you didn’t know the difference…. windmills are, in fact, mills. They grind grain. They do not make electricity.
Here’s Englander’s Mill, about a mile from my house, just off Red Mill Road in Delaware. This was a water-driven mill… for grinding grain. Mills gotta mill… if they’re not milling, they have a different technical name, even if everyone wants to just say “windmill”. I live in a development called Old Mill Manor. Yeah, I do know a thing or two about what a mill is. Every frickin’ thing in my neighborhood is named after something involving mills.
Here are some turbines, but not wind turbines. These are spun by the waters of Lake Mede — I shot this photo in the Hoover Dam. Mills don’t make electricity. Just in case anyone thinks I’m picking on Trump’s terminology… yeah, I am. Because a person who claims to have studied a thing more than anyone he knows ought to have got this in the first five minutes.
People also call these windmills. They’re not, they’re wind pumps. The energy of the wind is used to pump water from the ground a nearby tank or cistern. I don’t offhand know if Trump hates these, too, but I’d think he probably does. He’s just seething with hate these days.