Thursday, February 16, 2012

I have no problems with wind turbines to generate electricy

File photo a wind farm on the Danish coast.

Not that I think we need to pop the suckers up on every rooftop to stop AGW.  That's been proven to be a load of (profitable to a select few) crap.  I nonetheless have no problem reducing emissions from power plants, notably sulfur and volatile organic compounds, that ruin my air quality.  However, before I support wind turbines or any other alternative energy, I have a few considerations for siting any such project.  For example, there are other valuable resources that need protection.  For example, it is idiotic to stick a wind farm as proposed in Martha's Vineyard sound which would ruin the aesthetic of one of the more beautiful stretches of coastline and water around.  It also cannot turn out to be an environmental disaster by killing migratory birds or leaking into the water.  Most importantly, it has to make some economic sense without a huge subsidy.  And few big scale wind farms do.  Now you can add one more negative into the mix.  It turns out that here is one more very important factor in any economic model for off shore wind farms--the wind.  By that I do not mean will there be enough wind to make the farm viable.  I mean will there be too much wind.  As this article in the New Scientist entitled "Hurricanes Deliver Fatal Blow to Wind Turbines" explains, an average hurricane will wipe out about half a wind farm.  Since they each cost about a quarter of a billion largely tax and rate payer subsidized dollars, I'm thinking hurricanes are an important variable that maybe ought to be included in any cost projections.

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