Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More Wind in the Face of Renewable Energy

Since I started this blog, no piece has received more attention, hits, and links than the one I wrote on renewable energy (The Idiot's Guide to Why Renewable Energy Is Not the Answer). The basic thesis was that renewables won't solve our energy needs for practical reasons of scalability. They aren't, in other words. Scalable.

Want to scale solar? Fine. Wher're you going to put those panels? Is it sunny enough? Is it actually near where people live? How much land do you need to cover with panels? It takes 5 square miles of panels to approximate the power output of one average coal-fired plant. Who's going to clean all those panels? Et cetera. Read the piece to understand the argument fully.

Now comes today's New York Times cover piece about how citizens of Vinalhaven, Maine are up in arms about their new wind turbines. Oh, they cheered their arrival. We're being such good global citizens, they told themselves. Hooray for us.

Then they turned the things on. Whoop whoop whoop whoop. Hey, nobody told us these things we're freekin' loud!

Property values are now threatened. Cue the lawyers:

For Those Near, the Miserable Hum of Clean Energy

I have nothing against wind power. I even find the turbines to be somewhat beautiful. But they will meet resistance whenever they are placed near population centers. Place them somewhere else, and you lose 50% of the power for every 115 miles of distance. Wind power can be part of the answer, but only a small one.

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