Wind Power Talk

Resource site for links discussing issues around wind mill turbines - and particular focused on the Allegheny, West Virginia, projects and protest campaigns

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Getting windpower done right - location, location, location

The wind industry is blinding itself by this obsession with both replacing traditional power stations and focusing in on building wind energy "mines" in locations that they have identified as being "high yield" - to be able to compete with power stations.

This is not the right long term answer. Most high wind areas are the worst possible places to locate wind energy devices. Here's a list of reasons:

1) They tend to be environmentally very fragile places - mountain top ridges, offshore ocean settings - where the impact on local and migratory wildlife is potentially devastating. And human asthetic and cultural issues make acceptance problematic.

2) These locations are remote and distant from actual major consumers and marketplaces.

3) The cost of erecting these wind mines on such a scale is massive, and thus creates an energy deficit that has to be recouped, making the project viability questionable.

4) Better alternatives exist for using the same real estate space that are more holistic, more predictable and work better with the environment, e.g. wood fuel programs for mountains; tidal energy systems for offshore systems.

5) Location, location, location - the problem is not with power stations persay, but rather with consumers habits and practices. Enpowering a switch to local micro-power devices will make consumers much more energy aware, and therefore effect a cultural change that will massively reduce the dependency on central power systems. Small scale high efficiency, low maintenance, wind turbine devices can make that transition a reality.

6) Certain industrial applications will always require high yield power stations. A proper mix of hydroelectric, and modern high efficiency fossil fuel and nuclear power systems can fulfil those needs, while still allowing the removal and rapid decommissioning of old problem power stations.

The money being invested in high profile large scale contentious wind energy mines needs to be re-directed at the real locations and points of use that can effect long term cultural changes - namely community level and industrial park facilities.


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