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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wind Energy may be Losing Steam

Recently, two wind farms have been halted in Wisconsin, a state that has been in the spotlight for the past couple months thanks to a raging inferno of union protests and backhanded politics. Away from the petty politics however is an issue about Wind Energy. Two farms to be built by Midwest Wind have been put on hold due to an unstable political and regulatory atmosphere. Apparently, the laws regarding placement of wind turbines near private property are seen as "too lax" by lawmakers, who claim that placing wind turbines near houses lowers property value. This flies in the face of recent findings that wind farms as a whole do not lower home values, no matter how close they are to development. Additionally, republican lawmakers are making the bunk argument that wind turbines cause unpleasant noise and are an eyesore, despite no real evidence of raised noise levels outside of the wind farm properties themselves. All of the evidence against wind farms are purely anecdotal, but the fighting about whether or not wind turbines may not even matter.

The thing is, Wind power is ephemeral. When the wind blows, power is generated. When it stops, that power goes away. Without adequate power storage, the total energy available for the electric grid drops, and if too many houses rely on wind energy, rolling blackouts can occur. Wisconsin is a continental state, far from any open ocean where the wind blows almost constantly. In the Netherlands, a never-ending wind off the north sea provides bountiful power to residents, but in the central US, its hard to find locations that can benefit from wind power. Many farms are being proposed simply as business ventures, buying into green and renewable energy sources. I think that we should give wind power a backseat though. Solar power is dramatically increasing in its technological capabilities. While wind power has been around for centuries, solar is really just starting to take off. With new polymers and materials able to collect and harness more of the Sun's energy, we can gain more power from less space, and have a reliable source of renewable, perfectly clean, and stable energy. With the promise of new technology, I believe we could accept wind power as an alternative, but only where it is highly reliable, such as coastal areas, while the big expanses of the midwest and western U.S. could  benefit from large-scale solar farms using newly developed photovoltaic materials. New inventions in solar power are raising money, and fast, and providing an open market for new innovation. Long story short: Solar Power is the Future.

28 comments:

mac-and-me said...

i think power plants that use mirrors to heat water like they are built currently in africa are also in interesting concept

CandleintheDark said...

This is stupid. Wind turbines are already in use everywhere. A little property value loss is acceptable in the public good

Patres said...

Wind turbines are all over the hills here. They destroy the landscape but well, we need the energy I guess.

SOMS said...

i think this is all temporary till we find something really worth it

Waywardly said...

I personally believe that wind energy has so much more potential. I only wish that everyone else could see it.

Come At Me Bro said...

This is great!

TheMonopolyGuy said...

If only people would start covering their houses (roof & walls)with solar panels, we would have enough energy for everyone, FOR FREE (except the solar panels ofc)

Stewart A said...

Slash military spending, throw all the cash into fusion power research!

ExplosiveSex said...

1) Have wind turbines in a circle
2) First one generates wind due to the spinning which goes to the second one
3) Second goes to the third, and so on
4) Repeat
5) Infinite power!

Joe said...

Stewart, great idea!

subrand0m said...

I hope solar gets cheaper so I can buy it.

Leestander said...

ExplosiveSex said...

SmartIdea! but if you do them Solar powered 2! omg,

ImtheBigD said...

I think we definitely need more advanced tech, we should be collecting unfiltered sunlight in space, and have a way (microwaves) to transmit it back down, but i agree wind power is not the answer.

Randy truckguy! said...

LOL at the infinite power comment:D

Jellybro said...

Wind isn't as efficient as other forms of power but it's the safest by far.

Mr. Dough said...

A heavily flawed system, especially with the amount of land you'd need for it.

ds said...

I'm really hoping solar power would spread more and faster. It's the best source of power.

Chris said...

Nuclear power is still boss. Don't be discouraged by Japan.

Danny Murphy said...

Nuclear Power is the way forward, unfortunately the Earthquake in Japan has set that back at least a decade.

PlateCaptain said...

I think solar power needs to get more efficient before it can be used on anything like a mass scale. But we're definitely heading in that direction.

Darkkal said...

Well, wind energy is almost archaic technology, I wouldn't be surprised.

PvtCarlin said...

I honestly hate this country. This makes me sick.

Mr. Storyteller said...

solar panels should have a lower cost so people can afford it

Punky said...

solar is a bit pricy at the moment, I was looking up some and to break even on the cost it would take about 13-15 years. And yes, wind is fairly unreliable in some areas but I don't really think they're an eyesore, they're certainly nicer to see than giant smoke-spewing factories, California has hillsides with both of those :|

Bhopz / HerpDaDerpy said...

I think wind energy is the way to go.

Killerko said...

I would love to get solar panels on my roof

Pappa Püllï said...

Thank you for sharing sir!

Kingmush said...

Kind of sad news. Wind energy is one of the cleanest and holds very little environmental effects other than unsightliness and the occasional bird running into it. Hope that the article is wrong and they come back because in the Great Plains and off coastal areas this is golden.

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