
 You’d need 32,850 wind turbines to replace the Cubic Mile of Oil consumed globally every year, and a grand total of 1,642,000 turbines to replace oil over the next 50 years, which may be conservative given that the wind isn’t blowing all the time so that triple or more would be needed on a national grid with massive energy storage batteries. A wind turbine lifespan is 20 years, so many of them would need to be repowered or replaced before the 50 years are up. Anyhow, clearly wind turbines require too many oilpowered trucks and cement, steel, and so on made with fossilfired energy to outlast the brief age of oil.
This wind turbine is comprised of at least 875.5 tons of material. The weight of the 40 to 100 geopiers and other components aren’t shown, so let’s assume 900 tons total. An average car weighs 2 tons, so each windmill equals 450 cars — try to top that Burning Man Festival! The crane, excavators, graders, cement, worker, and other trucks required to haul blades, equipment, and workers might weigh 10 times as much as the wind turbine, so some fraction of the energy of all these should count as energy inputs as well, from mining to operational vehicle, and the fuel used (including the 10 foot deep, 100 foot wide, 1650 tons of soil dug out and put back over the concrete base).
Each windmill:
Takes 3 weeks to build from excavation to operation
40 to 100 geopiers installed for stability, weight unknown
Excavate 10 feet deep 100 feet wide
Set 96,000 pounds of reinforcing steel rebar = 48 tons
53 concrete trucks pour foundations. If each truck can haul 8 cubic yards at 2538 lbs/yard * 53 = 1,076,112 pounds = 538 tons
Move 1,500 cubic yards of soil @ 2,200 lbs per cubic yard = 3.3 million pounds = 1,650 tons
3 blades : each 173 feet long and 27,000 pounds for 81,000 pounds = 40.5 tons
8 truckloads to deliver turbine components
Nacelle: weight 181,000 lbs = 90.5 tons with the generator, gearbox, and rotor shaft
Hub: weight unknown
Base tower height 53 feet 11 inches, weight 97,459 lbs = 48.7 tons
Mid tower height 84 feet 6 inches, weight 115,587 lbs = 57.8 tons
Top tower height 119 feet, weight 104,167 lbs = 52 tons
Final tower height to blade tip when fully extended 442 feet
MidAmerican Energy is owned by Warren Buffet, who has this to say about why he builds wind farms: “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate,” Buffet told an audience in Omaha, Nebraska recently. “For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” (Pfotenhauer).
Yet it doesn’t begin to capture all of the energy inputs to wind turbines. Notably, transmission is left out of the picture, and the natural gas plants to balance intermittent energy, the mining of the ores for iron and steel, or crushing of rocks to make cement/concrete, the fossil fuels in the tons of epoxy, and so on to make the 900 short tons of material (it is probably more like 1300 tons given other peerreviewed publications on materials used in 2 MW turbines, not all of the materials used were included in this short video).  

