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Wind Farm Proposed for Washingtonians' Beach Retreat:

The Washington Post reports on a proposal to build a wind farm off the coast of Delaware.

Two hundred towering windmills, each so tall that its blades would loom over the U.S. Capitol Dome, could be built in the Atlantic Ocean near one of Washingtonians' favorite beach retreats, under a plan being considered in Delaware.

The plan, which could create the first wind "farm" in waters along the East Coast, envisions a thicket of turbines offshore of either Rehoboth Beach or Bethany Beach, Del. As the blades are spun by ocean winds, designers say, the wind farm could provide enough power every year for 130,000 homes.

As the Delaware shore is where many Beltway-types spend their weekends during the summer, this could be a real test of Washington's willingness to promote — or even allow — alternative energy sources. Sea-based windfarms make eminent sense, yet they have faced regulatory obstacles to date.

Wind farms have sprouted all over the United States in the past decade. There are about 150, from California to the West Virginia highlands. But, so far, they have sprouted only on land.

Proposals to put turbines in the water have come less far — hung up, in some cases, by concerns that they will harm birds, disrupt shipping or become a blight on ocean vistas. One company that had planned wind farms off the Maryland and Virginia coasts, New York-based Winergy Power, says it has put those projects on hold while the federal government works on rules for issuing permits.

Closer to (my) home, there are proposals to erect wind turbines in Lake Erie. The engineering requirements are a bit different for a freshwater installation, but engineers with whom I've spoken are optimistic. Here again, however, regulatory obstacles may get in the way, as reported here.

breezy:
Former Delaware Governor Pete DuPont had a article about this issue in the Wall Street Journal. Although it's a clean source of energy, it is far from producing enough electricity to fulfill the needs of the resort areas in Delaware, especially now that the residents are staying year round and much of the inland farms are being converted into developemnts.
5.7.2007 10:55am
Bill N:
This will not just be an issue for Washingtonians, but for the thousands upon thousands of New York and New Jersey retirees fleeing from high tax homes to Sussex County "beaches"--"beach front" property now considered within eight miles of the ocean. They have to do something to generate power, and inconsistent supply is better than no supply at all. I grew up on the western side of Sussex County, and when I go to visit family, I'm constantly amazed at all the housing going up. And although some farms are selling out to developers, chicken farming is going strong, attracting thousands of hispanic (mostly Mexican) workers to the region as well. I haven't followed the progress of the wind farms in the rest of the country, but this should be a pretty good test of the efficacy of using wind for at least part of energy production.
5.7.2007 11:23am
davod (mail):
I recently read an article about windfarms in the Netherlands. The have been using modern wind generators for about 10 years. They have found that, due to the unpredictable nature of wind and the non fungible nature of the energy produced, you can only rely on this for about 20 percent of your energy needs.

You still need a more reliable energy source for most of your requirements.
5.7.2007 11:30am
jimbino (mail):
One solution would be to brand the windfarm assembly a "national forest." That would at least keep American Blacks, Hispanics and Indians from ever seeing them!
5.7.2007 11:46am
nrein1 (mail):
I find a lot of the objections to wind farms underwhelming to say the least. So what it won't produce all of out energy needs, some clean energy is better then none. As to their appearance, looking at the pictures in today's Post, ic an't imagine you can even really see tehm from the beach if they are 8 miles out at sea. Finally the argument that they will kill lots of birds is jsut silly. From my undestanding they don't spin that fast. Do birds routinely run into ships?
5.7.2007 12:03pm
Bretzky (mail):
I personally have no problem with offshore windfarms. The only considerations are how it affects wildlife and how it affects ocean shipping.

To those people who complain about a deterioration in the view, I say tough luck. I am not a lock-stock adherent to the global warming theory; but, it makes enough sense to me that I think that human beings are at least partially responsible for the warming that has occurred in the past century. It's likely a combination of human activity and increased solar radiation. However, the amount of warming caused by humans will necessarily be in addition to that which would have been caused by the sun alone.

If these windfarms can reduce our need to burn fossil fuels, then I'm for it. It's difficult to have a beautiful view of the ocean when your house is under it.
5.7.2007 12:09pm
Dremic (mail):
Regarding danger to birds, you have to look at the number of birds killed by the windmills versus the number of birds saved by the eventual ripple effects of their use - fewer oil spills, less pollution, possible reduction of negative effects of global warming, etc. Don't know if there's any empirical evidence but it seems likely that the latter would outweigh the former. See here for this argument.
5.7.2007 12:29pm
dejapooh (mail):

One solution would be to brand the windfarm assembly a "national forest." That would at least keep American Blacks, Hispanics and Indians from ever seeing them!


Reminds me of when I worked in South Central. In one class of "advanced" students (meaning 7th graders who could read and write near the 7th grade level), nearly half of the students had never been to the beach... even though Santa Monica was only about 7 miles away.
5.7.2007 12:37pm
dejapooh (mail):

To those people who complain about a deterioration in the view, I say tough luck.


In the end, a clear view has a value (I'll bet anything that if these ever come to the shores near Los Angeles, it will be built near San Pedro and not Malibu), it is our job as a society to figure out what that value is and make the decision. Everyone will place a different value on the view... My question would be, what would it take to put them far enough out to sea that we could not see them from shore?
5.7.2007 12:39pm
Daniel950:
One northern hurricane, and these windfarms are toast. It'd waste more energy to build them than to keep them going.
5.7.2007 12:42pm
uh clem (mail):
The bird &hurricane arguments are solvable engineering problems. Yes, the old-stlye windmills that were not engineered to be bird friendly killed a lot of birds. Newer designs are much much better.

As for hurricaines, it doesn't stop off-shore drilling, does it? 'nuff said.
5.7.2007 12:56pm
Mike S.:
Other that the NIMBY argument (I like my view, put the turbines where someone else will see them) there is no argument at all. Yet wind farms have generated controversy and lawsuits in the US offshore, in mountains, and in urban areas. So have solar collectors in the desert and other places where there is lots of sunshine.

This is a prime argument, in my view, for changing environmental review laws to make it harder to file suit to cause delay and expense in hope that the project will shutdown. These suits have become a primary tool of the NIMBY crowd.

Yes wind turbines won't generate all the electricity needed, and yes, they don't work all the time, but they do produce electricity without burning carbon. If we were serious about global warming we would phase out the use of fossil fuels for electrical generation completely, or at least limit it to co-generation where the waste heat is used to heat something.
5.7.2007 1:24pm
Mike S.:
By the way, I like looking at turbines.

And a 400' object at a distance of 8 miles is about as noticeable as a two story house at a distance of 1300 yards. I.e. not very.
5.7.2007 1:28pm
JB:
I'd be glad to look at windfarms. I think they're pretty, especially at a distance. My mother lives within driving distance of where the Cape Cod one was going to be, and I'm bitter they blocked it.

Having your beach with a windfarm view is a bit like owning a prius--makes you feel all virtuous.
5.7.2007 1:30pm
Daniel950:
clem,

I think there are differences between an offshore drilling platform, and a windfarm that is designed, by its nature, to be affected by the wind. I wasn't thinking of high waves, I was thinking of 200 mph winds that could tear off the fans.
5.7.2007 1:42pm
Just an Observer:
I occasionally drive across West Texas, and enjoy the views of the desert and the Edwards Plateau. There is a stretch of I-10 -- in the middle of nowhere, between Ozona and Fort Stockton -- that was populated by a wind farm a few years ago.

I do not object to the man-made addition to the landscape. It is less annoying, and much cleaner, than oil fields. In some ways, the graceful aesthetic of the turbines against the horizon is appealing.
5.7.2007 1:59pm
Montie (mail):

One northern hurricane, and these windfarms are toast. It'd waste more energy to build them than to keep them going.


That might be. However, I would let the energy companies decide.

A huge problem currently is that government regulations are stifling the building of windmills. Various bureaucrats and politicians are required to sign off on any project. In the face of NIMBY opposition, it is too tempting for them to take the easy way out and not approve any windmill projects.

It should be noted that Texas leads the nation in wind power. I understand that this is primarily due to their limited zoning restrictions.
5.7.2007 1:59pm
Chris Bell (mail):
Hurricanes can take out an oil platform.

Turbines can also be built so that they tip horizontal when winds get too high, thereby saving the internal gears from too much torque. However, they aren't all that expensive to replace, as far as mini-power plants go. We still have whole oil refinerieson the gulf coast, and those can cost over $100 billion.
5.7.2007 2:31pm
Chris Bell (mail):
I would also like to chime in with JaO, these things are beautiful to watch.

People voluntarily put pin wheels in their yards, don't they?
5.7.2007 2:36pm
AppSocRes (mail):
I'm sure that great environmentalist, Teddy "the Whale" Kennedy, will work as hard to keep wind turbines from being built in Delaware as he has worked to keep them from being built off-shore from his properties on Cape Code and Martha's Vineyard.
5.7.2007 2:42pm
c.f.w. (mail):
Two hundred turbines that tilt to horizontal and cost say $5 million each, with a useful life of say 25 years. And the complex might produce enough juice to support the resort areas of Delaware! Big deal.

Why not spend the $1 billion or so on something that might do some real good, like a fifth of a nuclear power plant?

Obviously, we should let the market decide, but it should be a level playing field without too much of an emotional tilt (thumb on the scales) in favor of wind.

I have a hard time seeing 200 windmills 8 miles out to sea making much of a net energy contribution for Delaware, compared to $1 billion spent for nuclear power (like in France).

From an eyesore perspective, what eyesore? The complex would be a feature, not a bug - like the complex on the way to Palm Springs from LA. Windmills done well eventually bring tourists - see Patmos, Netherlands.
5.7.2007 4:13pm
Russ (mail):
No wind farms unless they're not near me(classic NIMBY)

No nuclear power b/c it might cause a new Three Mile Island

No coal b/c...well, it's coal

Get away from oil b/c the folks who sell it are nuts

I guess I'll go back to burning candles for light and horse and buggy to get places. Wait...candles give off some smoke and horses give us manure.

What's a person to do?
5.7.2007 4:16pm
c.f.w. (mail):
Cosumnes Power Plant in Sacramento is just built for 130,000 persons also (comparable to the 130,000 persons quoted by the Delaware governor in the WSJ op ed). Capital cost in CA - about $600 million. Delaware plans to spend say $400 million extra in capital cost to try to tap into wind. Each windmill is to support 650 folks, in an environment much more harsh (salty, wet) than Palm Springs. Hopefully it is truly private money being risked in Delaware (not some regulated monopoly money).
5.7.2007 4:29pm
Andrew Okun:
I have a hard time seeing 200 windmills 8 miles out to sea making much of a net energy contribution for Delaware, compared to $1 billion spent for nuclear power (like in France).

Windmills range in capacity up to 5 MW each so your 200 windmills could be a 500-1,000 MW power plant. I think typical nuclear power plants are around 1,000 MW per reactor. A good guess for a nuclear reactor building cost would be $2 billion. For both wind farms and nuclear reactors, the fuel cost is negligible, but in the case of nuclear, there is security and waste disposal to consider. There is also the lead time, which would be monstrous.

They are not strictly comparable. Wind is intermittent, which limits the proportion of supply it can represent for the time being. Nuclear is always on and so is most economically used as baseline energy.

Delaware is small and may have something to lose from climate change. It seems perfectly sensible for Delawareans to decide on wind energy.
5.7.2007 5:58pm
Andrew Okun:
Cosumnes Power Plant in Sacramento is just built for 130,000 persons also (comparable to the 130,000 persons quoted by the Delaware governor in the WSJ op ed). Capital cost in CA - about $600 million. Delaware plans to spend say $400 million extra in capital cost to try to tap into wind. Each windmill is to support 650 folks, in an environment much more harsh (salty, wet) than Palm Springs. Hopefully it is truly private money being risked in Delaware (not some regulated monopoly money).

(a) Delaware is not spending $400 million extra on wind power ... Last I heard, a Delaware utility agreed to buy $200 million to $300 million of wind power from the private builder.

(b) The project will not "try" to tap into wind power. Wind power is somewhat past the purely experimental phase.

(c) The cost comparison you make is silly. Wind power has low maintenance costs and zero fuel cost. Cosumnes is gas fired, which has lower capital cost and very high and variable fuel costs. To compare the two like that you have to consider the amount Cosumnes will spend on gas over its life ... except that nobody knows what that will be.

(d) The salty, wet environment that the Delaware project will be in is the salty, wet environment those turbines were designed to operate in and do operate in, in places like this and this.

(e) Palm Springs?
5.7.2007 6:26pm
Waldensian (mail):

Having your beach with a windfarm view is a bit like owning a prius--makes you feel all virtuous.

True, but this Prius-induced feeling of virtuousness can lead to a smug alert.
5.7.2007 6:39pm
c.f.w. (mail):
"Delaware is small and may have something to lose from climate change. It seems perfectly sensible for Delawareans to decide on wind energy."

(a) Wind over water experiments are fine so long as it is not state money, or rates set by loose regulators, that compensate utilities for doing things that are uneconomical. Climate change issues are also dealt with by nuclear plants. Nuclear seems more promising in the long run - it has worked for years. Wind has been a joke (tax deduction, tax shelter) and not much else. That said, I would love to see folks like Gates and Buffet risking real private money making it work (along with nuclear).

(b) If it plans to serve 130,000, the Delaware wind farm is more like 500mw (as opposed to 1000 mw).

(c) Palm Springs has a benign climate and a large wind farm. The more benign climate means lower maintenance costs, and construction can be less heavy (less stainless steel, etc.). Building something in water that looks like a good windmill in year 1 is not that hard. Making it work without crippling friction for 25 years? Unproven, as far as I can tell. How is the maintenance done? From ships with towers reaching up 200 feet? Not cheap.

(d) Utility contracts to buy power for $200-300 million covers what, 20-30% of construction cost? And is that with Enron mark to market accounting or is it reduced to present value? Present value of $250 million to be paid over 25 years ($10 million per year) is pretty skimpy compared to $1 billion needed to build.

(e) $400 million not spent on construction will pay for lots of natural gas (or alternative fuel) for a gas turbine power plant. A wind farm at sea will just run off wind.

(f) Again, I like the idea of experimenting and I hope the wind farms prove themselves. But if one wants to get serious about reducing US carbon emissions, including from vehicles, and keeping China and India from matching the US in CO2 emissions, wind seems like a weak bet compared to nukes.

(g) 20 year lead times for US nuke power plants may be a thing of the past. That depends mostly on the lawyers and politicians, I suppose. If the US cannot move as quickly as the EU to approve nuke plants, we may never see the Euro selling for less than $1.50 U.S.

Per Wikipedia:

What might a nuclear power plant cost? Take, for example, an AP1000 costing $1100 per kWe for 1,117 MWe (which is 1,117,000 kWe): this gives an "overnight cost" of $1.23 billion. Now we have to add interest to that. Assume a 48 month construction period (Westinghouse may say a few months differently), and that the money is spent evenly over that time. At an 8% annual interest rate, the plant, at commercial operation, would cost approximately $1.43 billion.
5.7.2007 7:05pm
Andrew Okun:
Wind over water experiments are fine so long as it is not state money, or rates set by loose regulators, that compensate utilities for doing things that are uneconomical. Climate change issues are also dealt with by nuclear plants. Nuclear seems more promising in the long run - it has worked for years. Wind has been a joke (tax deduction, tax shelter) and not much else. That said, I would love to see folks like Gates and Buffet risking real private money making it work (along with nuclear).

Weren't there something like $10 billion in subsidies and research for nuclear in the last big energy bill? Between the implicit cost in security and waste handling, plus the outright government support for the industry, it is no more a free market thing than renewables, or for that matter than gas or oil, which have lots of subsidies and implicit government support (the army, the air force and the navy?), along with the somewhat large potential externality of climate change. Annual US subsidies for wind/solar/renewables are still under $1 billion a year, no?

If it plans to serve 130,000, the Delaware wind farm is more like 500mw (as opposed to 1000 mw). So it's like half a nuke. Hardly mysterious.

Building something in water that looks like a good windmill in year 1 is not that hard. Making it work without crippling friction for 25 years? Unproven, as far as I can tell.

The Danish ones have been going 15 years or more.

wind seems like a weak bet compared to nukes.

Wind can't be a complete answer but as a bet, it seems like a strong bet, not a weak one. Looking at it from a government betting point of view (the marketplace can sort out private decisions) the bet seems to be low cost and able to provide clean, cheap electricity for significant portion of the demand, but no more than 20%, relatively quickly and with little back-end risk. The payoff is good in any case, compared with the cost, and huge in the unlikely event someone figures out how to use the energy at a different time than its gathered.

Nuclear seems to be an expensive bet (as the free market seems loath to fund nuclear by itself ... at least without some big subsidies and liability limits) to produce as much electricity as we want, carbon free, but not so soon and with significant back end risks. The big uncertain payoff is negative, bar the unlikely event that someone invents a way of handling the waste.
5.7.2007 8:16pm
TJIT (mail):
Wind utilities are highly subsidized and very few would be installed if it were not for the huge subsidies and mandates they are provided.

They absolutely wreck the view sheds. The tower of a modern wind turbine can be at least 240 feet tall. and the turbine blades extend beyond that. They are often constructed on ridgelines to take advantage of the higher winds on the ridge, which further extends their visual impact.

Because they are so tall they have to be equipped with FAA approved aircraft warning lights. This means lots of flashing lights at night and destruction of the viewshed at night.

This might be an acceptable tradeoff if the turbines were and effective economic source of power. The fact that wind power has to be highly subsidized shows that it is neither effective nor economic power source.

Wrecking view sheds to obtain government subsidies while not providing an effective or dependable source of power seems to be very bad policy to me.
5.7.2007 8:27pm
Dr. T (mail) (www):
Wind turbine farms are a joke. They cost too much to build and maintain, they generate too little power even when winds are optimal, and they are ugly and lower adjacent property values. The reasons they are being built are to 1. obtain tax breaks and subsidies, 2. perform studies of wind power, or 3. generate "eco-friendly" publicity.

If we want to use the oceans for clean power, then tapping tidal forces has the potential (pun intended) for generating many megawatt-hours of electricity.
5.7.2007 9:47pm
Bill N:

Delaware is small and may have something to lose from climate change. It seems perfectly sensible for Delawareans to decide on wind energy.


Reminds me of the old joke about Delaware: The state with three counties at low tide and two counties at high tide.
5.7.2007 11:00pm
Tom Tildrum:
Prof. Adler -- they're off the coast of Delaware but they're so tall that their blades will loom over the Capitol in Washington? How freaking gigantic ARE these things?
5.7.2007 11:46pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
On behalf of the 99% of Americans who don't live next to a ' view shed,' boo hoo hoo.

If the rich jerks like Gore and Kennedy consumed electricity at the rate I do, there wouldn't be so much demand for electricity and towers wouldn't be so much of a threat to their views.

On the whole, I consider deterioration of viewsheds of rich jerks a plus.

After 30 years of making fun of wind farms, I have converted to being a mild fan of them. Just mild. We have one rated at 30 MW, which means an annual mean output closer to 8 MW (in a very good wind regime, your output may differ and will probably be even less).

That is not, however, 8 clean MW. Feeding into a smallish grid (200 MW), the instabilities of wind mean that during fluky winds the oil-based utility has to keep up to 7 MW of oil electricity spinning to catch the voltage drop when the wind stops blowing.

The situation is different for each location, so generalizations are of almost no value.
5.8.2007 12:49am
occidental tourist (mail):
This windpower thing is a scam of the highest order. Aside from a direct tax credit of almost 2 cents per kwh, the Delaware Renewable Portfolio Standard adds a state side subsidy pegged at less than 2.5 cents per kwh, but could theoretically max out at almost 5 cents per kwh in some cases.

Its value depends on how much 'renewable' energy is actually available in the state. Geez, you don't think that kind of circumstance could encourage high barriers to entry once you get a wind farm or two, do ya??? I can just see it now, wind farms against wind farms - fits rights in with the normal environmental mantra, i.e. consumers against consumption.

Massachusetts, the home of the 'cape wind' proposal has a similar requirement (geez, what a mystery that these wind farm proposals are popping up in states that glom on additional subsidies to the federal subsidy) and estimates of the actual market value of the subsidies ranged around 2.5 cents the last time I checked (maybe a year ago), but none of the markets for these credits are fully developed or particularly predictable because they are completely artificial. It is not that markets will be incapable of mediating these kind of circumstances, but they will be subject to immense public choice complications given the necessity for government compliance in their perpetuation.

It is quite fair to also fault arrangements that are effectively government subsidies for nuclear waste disposal although to an extent they represent one of the rare times that the Government realized that the procedural roadblocks under environmental and public health measures would foreclose any nuclear industry altogether unless they did this.

As per usual they are too scared to confront pandora's regulatory box they have opened so they create an exception of sorts.

I am not opposed to windpower and I think the environmental and aesthetic objections are overblown (just as are the similar objections to coal, nuclear, oil etc.). Wind does face stiff uphill economic competition as -- until superconducting capacitance storage and transmission of as yet commercially unrealized potential -- any wind capacity installed will have an additional capital cost associated with keeping conventional generation at the ready to balance the grid when the wind doesn't blow. Ironically, the current plan is to have wind power companies compensated for creating this instability and additional cost.

For those who suggest that these costs won't go to ratepayers and taxpayers, you are dreaming. Do you think the utilities are going to crow about all the indirect costs they, i.e. their ratepayers, are going to bear. But the utilities are caught in the the hot seat. If rates go up they're the bad guy. if there are black outs, they're the bad guy. and the government tells them they have to buy this power, so they try to put the best spin on it they can. which only helps convince ratepayers of the false notion that they can have it both ways.

Despite these disadvantages, in a world of rising costs for fuels which is pushing technological advances in energy storage and transmission, I see no reason (other than Ted Kennedy and similar blowhards inhabiting virtually every ocean and lake coast througout the country) that wind power wouldn't be a sensible option (and don't give TK and JFK and the other Massachusetts hypocrites the credit for being NIMBY's, they're BANANA's, Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone, like all the two faced upper middle class hyocrites they promise can have lots of energy but nothing near them and no effect on the environment -- can you say Al Gore's electric bill and his scam to offset it by paying himself.)

In any event, the notion that -- while wind gets its groove back -- we have to heap these subsides on the industry to 'prime the pump' is absurd. As many have pointed out, the generation technology is relatively mature and widely employed in Europe. The problem is that it is marginally price competitive at this point when viewed in its entirety. Giving subsidies is not going to change that or somehow encourage enough critical mass in wind energy that it would lower the unit cost of generation. Subsidies at this point only guarantee a wind industry that can't exist without subsidies and will have every interest in playing the public choice game to make sure they keep rolling in.

With all due respect to those who complain - rightfully - about public money spent on various 'subsidies' for conventional energy sources, there is nothing remotely equivalent to these renewable energy subsidies. There is a bunch of boondoogle clean coal research, but that money isn't going to Exxon or anybody else for pumping oil or generating electricty, its basically pork for some research institutes.

Nobody is getting 2 cents a kwh to pull oil out of the ground. There is a tempest in a teapot over royalties for oils drilled on public land (understanding that someone will no doubt quote me chapter and verse of the treadworn Teapot Dome scandal as evidence of impropriety in government oil leases) but these are commensurate with royalties paid to private land owners and are the largest source of income to the federal government after income taxes.

Exactly how much money are wind farms proposing to put in the federal coffers?

Right... so now we see we're not talking about subsidies with convential energy companies, only essentially arguments about how much we can tax them without looking too much like Hugo Chavez.

The biggest debate lately is over a Clinton administration effort to encourage more drilling in deeper waters in the gulf of Mexico that lowered royalty rates for deeper, more expensive wells, a sensible program that had some gaffs in leases - also executed by the Clinton administration - that did not provide as required by legislative authority for the recapture of these dividends when the price of oil rose high enough to make the exploration profitable without such accomodation. (That said, where are the provisions that eliminate renewables subsidies when energy prices rise. Right, they don't exist.)

In wind they are talking about a 100% subsidy since the price of power had hovered around 5 cents (not including transmission charges and it does vary by region and is rising) and the subsidies give almost another 5 cents. The oil companies are not collecting $4.00 per gallon for gasoline from the consumer and then getting another 4 bucks from the government.

But there is one great thing about wind power. There is nothing like seeing environmentalists beating one another to a pulp in the public square. Keep it up. (BTW, if you think the lead time for nuclear is too long, try wind power: Cape Wind originally applied for a permit under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 with the US Army Corps of Engineers in 2001. Now there is some nimble dancing around the carbon footprint. I'd say you probably could have permitted a nuke by now. They are now targeting operation for 2010, or almost 10 years after they began the application process.)

Brian
5.8.2007 2:12am
Dr. Ellen (mail) (www):
The developing argument over wind power (birds, view, economics) is similar to the developing arguments over nuclear power and hydroelectric power. First they're the Total Cure, then their Achilles heel starts showing, and eventually we learn more of the balance of benefits and costs. "Eventually" in this case seems to be several decades.

It's an excellent reason to go slow, despite the voices crying for immediate and total action and commitment. In engineering, the pioneers are the guys with the errors in their backs.
5.8.2007 11:23am
dejapooh (mail):

True, but this Prius-induced feeling of virtuousness can lead to a smug alert.

The Prius is too common now to produce a smug alert. You need a Honda Civic GX, like I have :)
5.8.2007 1:23pm
TJIT (mail):
Harry Eagar showed his ignorance when he said
On behalf of the 99% of Americans who don't live next to a ' view shed,' boo hoo hoo.
Harry does not realize viewshed is a technical term, every place has a viewshed, and he lives next to one.

He goes on to say
If the rich jerks like Gore and Kennedy consumed electricity at the rate I do, there wouldn't be so much demand for electricity and towers wouldn't be so much of a threat to their views.

On the whole, I consider deterioration of viewsheds of rich jerks a plus.
So here we have the disappointing sight of a conservative throwing away his principles and spending other peoples tax money just so he can make "rich jerks" uncomfortable.
5.9.2007 1:59pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
First, I'm not a conservative. Second, it's hard to imagine that a 'viewshed' that looks out at an 18-foot-high concrete wall has any value.

And I haven't advocated spending anybody's tax money. I'd be for a full-on, pure free market wind farm if it would make Ted Kennedy unhappy.
5.10.2007 12:14am
TJIT (mail):
Harry,

The point of my original post was that wind power is highly subsidized with tax money.

So, if you push for wind power you are advocating for spending other peoples tax money.

New technology may change this but currently available utility scale wind power does not make economic or engineering sense.

Cheers,

TJIT
5.10.2007 1:44pm