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The Almighty Buck Science

A Mighty Wind 670

Posted by michael
from the nimby dept.
DoraLives writes "Fascinating New York Times piece regarding a proposed wind farm for Nantucket Sound. Suddenly, all the environmentally friendly locals are going ballistic over the prospects of seeing an 'industrial energy complex' in their backyard. Walter Cronkite decries it, as do many other local checkbook environmentalists. Greenpeace says 'Jim Gordon (the developer) is the real thing, there aren't many entrepreneurs out there willing to take risks to clean up the environment.' Who's right?"
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A Mighty Wind

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  • Liberals (Score:0, Interesting)

    by WheelDweller (108946) <WheelDweller@gmailPERIOD.com minus punct> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @02:56PM (#6205525)

    Liberals are all for saving nature, stopping business, and building big government. And they're even for alternative, CLEAN energy like this...as long as it's not where they have to look at it.

    They're all for women's rights...unless it's Bill Clinton on the prowl.

    They're all for freedom of choice as long as it only applies the the choice of abortion, and not school vouchers that might actually SAVE some of the poor urban kids from the continued ghetto.

    Do we really care what they have to say about anything? Do we really want'em running the country?

  • NIMBY FACTOR (Score:5, Interesting)

    by trotski (592530) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @02:58PM (#6205543)
    This is just unbeleivable! Nantucket island is filled with greener than thou environmentalists.

    Apparently, windfarms are only acceptable in places where they don't offend the rich and the green. The middle of the dessert or the middle of a farmer's field is ok... but ruining they're prestine ocean view? Unacceptable! That ruins the environment for.... umm.... seabirds... thats it, it kills seabirds.

    This is rediculous, those people make me sick.
  • Am I the only one... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mcj (21934) <mcj@@@bluetonic...org> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @02:59PM (#6205551)
    ...who thinks these windmills look cool? A similar controversy is taking place near where I live (except not in the water), and I don't see the problem. I wouldn't mind having one of these in my yard. Plus I could mount my DirecTV dish on top of it for great reception. :-)

    I live in the midwest, where it's really flat and windy pretty much all the time. I bet wind power would really take off here,
  • Re:NIMBY (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BWJones (18351) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:01PM (#6205564) Homepage Journal
    It's the "Not In My Back Yard" syndrome. Everyone thinks these ideas are great... as long as it's not where they live. If you want the benefits though, someone has to live with the negatives.

    So, I've actually wondered why we don't just build a huge nucelar power complex in Nevada someplace on land already owned by the federal government and then ship that power nationwide. All of the nuclear waste could be shipped fairly locally on (again) federally owned and operated land, the environmental impacts would be minimal (relatively), the federal government could sell the power and thus balance out this huge $44Trillion debt that is going to bite us in the ass in the next few years especially with these tax cuts, and we could stimulate the economy. No more wind farms crowding the views of hill tops and no more coal burning power plants that put out significant radiation into the atmosphere, no more dams to block up water ways and impede fish migration etc...etc...etc....

  • Re:NIMBY (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gerf (532474) <edtgerf@gmail.com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:03PM (#6205578) Journal

    Negatives? Windfarms are, in my experience, very beautiful, quiet, aesthetically pleasing things.

    You are talking about some of the richest, most pompous, uptight, annoying people in the world. If you put a poster in your window, that doesn't conform to what they think you should have, you get dragged before the local council, and possibly fined. It's stupid.

    As is, Nantucket is one of the most expensive areas to live in. Everything is brough over by ferry: gas, oil, food, everything. It's a place to have a home for Trophy purposes only.

    That said, BUILD IT. That's a LOT of power for an area that needs it. And, i'd say build twice that. Hey, i'd live by one of those mills. They look cool, are safe, and are environmentally friendly.

  • Amen! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:08PM (#6205614) Homepage
    I have a friend who is an attorney who had been litigating a case down there. A person bought an empty lot, and one of the neighbors been fighting in court to prevent him from building the house because it interfered with his view of the beach.

    If the person was really concerned about the view of the beach, he could have bought the lot.
  • Re:NIMBY (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rossz (67331) <ogre&geekbiker,net> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:10PM (#6205635) Homepage Journal
    Someone proposed (sorry, don't remember who) that there should be an energy discount for people living near power plants. The further away you live, the more you pay for you electricity. Seems reasonable.

    On a side note, I drive past the Livermore windmills every day. I think they're pretty cool. I refer to the area as the "propeller farm".
  • Easy solution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:15PM (#6205667)
    Just put a nuclear power plant there instead. That should make them satisfied.

    If it doesn't, say, hey, what's the problem? It isn't blocking your precious view...

    The "renewable" energy sources such as Wind, Solar, and Geothermal energy don't have a lot of chance of being particularly useful. However, if they're going to be useful at ALL, people have to recognize that they're only going to be useful in *very specific places*. If "renewable" energy is to go anywhere at all, we need to recognize the places where they can run continuously and effectively, and install them there, *no* exceptions. Installing a bunch of wind farms in Houston isn't going to power anything. Installing a bunch of wind farms in a constant high-wind area like an island like Nantucket Sound could potentially power a decent area larger than Nantucket. If we don't recognize these choice spots for renewable energy and take advantage of *all* of them, and only pick and choose well, where would be convenient for the locals, Wind power is going to continue to be NOTHING more than a gimmick.

    -super ugly ultraman
  • by Qzukk (229616) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:16PM (#6205675) Journal
    More efficient omnidirectional prototypes were tested in the 1980's but they were banned because they tended to attract and kill birds.

    Ok, theres an obvious solution to this... build a damn mesh cage around the propeller blades.

    I guess this is too much of a duh solution for people to accept though, without getting a five million grant from the government to "study" it.
  • by kuz (632280) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:21PM (#6205711)
    Correction, these structures will HELP the fish stocks. The windmills will create habitats for the sealife and prevent trawlers from ripping up the sea floor and destroying breeding grounds. While I tend to believe there will be a short term disruption of Nature during construction, the long-term benefits will outweigh it. Being a seventh generation native of Martha's Vineyard, this project is also in my backyard, the planned windmills are quite massive. I just find it very amusing that the same wilted-flower children who have been writing letters to the editor and such, pleading all of us to stop using fossil fuels are the same people protesting the windfarm the loudest. Remember folks, the definition of a conservationist, is it's someone who already owns a summer home.
  • by XaXXon (202882) <xaxxon&gmail,com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:22PM (#6205716) Homepage
    They're going to use public land (term used loosely, as it's actually water covered land) for a private, for-profit organization. Either a government venture (which I'm not that interested in), or a non-profit organization would be better suited for using public land.

    The NIMBY factor is obviously huge here. The part of the article that really stated everything right on the nose was on the last page (did you get there? I did)


    To them, the national illusion that you can have electricity, clean air, a stable climate and independence from foreign oil without paying a steep price is ludicrous.


    Where "them" are the local residents screaming NIMBY!

    There's another great example discussing a local oil tanker that leaked oil into the sound. It basically did far more damage than any wind farm could ever do.

    Many of the complaints are rediculous.. The oil lubrication oil will leak from the wind mills and pollute the sound. Birds will die. Arguments that just aren't thought through.

    Personally, I'm with some other people here that say windmills aren't particularly ugly, and to me it's like coffee or beer. I didn't like the taste of either initially, but once I realized what they did, they became much more pallitable. Even if I don't really like looking at a siteline spattered with windmills, I know that they're creating electricity in an environmentally friendly way.. and that makes them much more acceptable to me.
  • Re:Ummm.... Hello? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:24PM (#6205730)
    The banning of DDT, for example, caused thousands of deaths for poor and brown people worldwide due to Malaria.. But Hey! Birds are more important than people!

    Maybe if it was killing all of those birds, it could kill people too. How do you know it wouldn't kill more brown people than it would save?

  • Re:Liberals (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:28PM (#6205766)
    Conservatives are all for destroying nature, supporting predatory monopolies, and building huge, crippling debt and deficits. And they're deathly afraid of alternative, CLEAN energy like this because it will make their big oil stocks go down the toilet.

    They're all for women's rights...unless it's regarding church leadership.

    They're all for eliminating freedom of choice as long as it's not their daughter who's knocked up at 16.

    Do we really care what they (including WheelDweller) have to say about anything? Do we really want'em running the country?
  • Conservatives (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:28PM (#6205775)
    As opposed to conservative libertarian/republican Dog Eat Dog, survival of the fittest idiots, such as yorself.

    They're all for the Idea that women should have no rights.

    They're all against the environment, give the conservatives what they want, there will be no clean drinking water, no clean air because they will get rid of all laws against polluting.

    They're all agains all social services, Financial loans & aid, Minimum Wage, unemployment, worker's comp ,public transportation, public education "The only reason why they want vouchers is to get rid of public education, and make it so that only the rich can have an education"

    They believe that all blacks are "Out of date farm machines" and hate anyone that is not white and is crippled "maybe that's the real reason Daddy Bush puked all over the Prime Minister of Japan, maybe he really hates anyone that is not white"

    they're all for the employers being able to do whatever they want to their employees.

    They're all for the idea if you're not rich, then you need to live in poverty for the rest of your life with your children and their children and their children's children living in poverty their WHOLE life by the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

    "BTW, I am not a liberal, I am a moderate"
  • Re:Liberals (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tancred (3904) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:30PM (#6205788)
    Do we really want 'em running the country? Yes, if the alternative is the current administration. In case you hadn't noticed, the world is getting smaller. We're going to have to learn to live with the rest of that world.

    I'm not exactly a liberal (more all over the place, issue to issue), but I'll defend them against some really bewildering claims. Your rant, point by point:

    Saving nature - I'll have to disagree with you and say this is a good thing.

    Stopping business - absurd. I thought the 8 years before Bush were going pretty damn well.

    Building big government - again, absurd. Bush is building big government - and huge deficits. He's setting the all-time deficit record, beating the high water mark set by his father.

    Clean energy - lots of people pay extra for environmentally friendly products and services. If some of them are arguing against a certain project, they may still be better than the environmentally unconscious.

    Women's rights - not sure what you're getting at there. Care to expound on that claim?

    Freedom of choice - good for them, representing the majority of their constituency instead of caving to a vocal minority.

    School vouchers - I'm for school vouchers. Are liberals (democrats?) against them?

    Do we really care what they have to say about anything? - Sure do. The thought of a country run by the old guard of the GOP without anyone even trying to keep them honest is a frightening thought.
  • by gsfprez (27403) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:31PM (#6205798)
    GO FUCK YOURSELVES.

    Sincerely,
    The rational libertarian, moderate and liberal people of the United States who want to see clean, cheap energy so as to save our environment and power our lives at the same time

    We have the same people living here in SoCal - who don't want to widen freeways - or build rail systems for that matter, and prevent all forms of growth. They would rather increase the pollution by having cars running in their least-efficent mode (stop and go traffic) instead of them zipping around at 60 MPH (when cars are by far the most efficient).

    Here in Los Angeles, the number of hybrids are growing exponentially, with next year's hybrid SUVs on the way (Ford Escape Hybrid), Near-Zero Emmission Vehicles (NZEV's) like the Prius, the Insight, and Escape are going to be the rage of Los Angeles. SoCal car dealers cant keep hybrids in stock here!

    We are the largest buyers of NZEV's and with increasing numbers of NZEV's, freeways are the cheapest, least-polluting form of transportation. Rail systems cost far more to build, upkeep and power (central power plants). NZEV's lose near zero energy in transportation (unlike electricity), and they do not require polluting central-plants to produce electricity, they simply use the jouels in gasoline extremely efficiently, and easily can be converted to hydrogen thereafter (hydrogen burning ICE + electrcity storage may be cheapest, most effective means of vehicle power instead of fuel cells which are very expensive to make and power)

    The same NIMBY's are crushing the addition of an Orange County airport which would take the load off of LAX, which is 60 miles from Orange County - causeing all those people to DRIVE their cars (read: clog the freeways), and increase current poolution and congestion - not to mention watsting about 2 hours every time you want to fly out of SoCal.

    I swear, i just want to put you fscking NIBMY's on a boat and sink the ship sometimes. YOU ALL SUCK!
  • by echucker (570962) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:32PM (#6205804) Homepage
    The bird issue is a standard one brought up by anti-wind people. In at least one instance, [windpower.org] a study proved that the turbines did not contribute to bird deaths. In the report linked, decoys were used in an attempt to draw eiders in close to the turbines, but the ducks overcame their normal social nature, and stayed at least 100m away from the turbines.
  • by presearch (214913) * on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:33PM (#6205819)
    There's a wind farm at South Point on Hawaii's Big Island. [hawaii.gov]

    The look really cool from far away but when you get get close to
    them, they're pretty nasty. These are big Mitsubishi units. Granted
    these mills have not been maintained as well as they could but they're
    rusty and leaking lots of oil all over. Many are not working, with pieces
    missing; blades, access panels and such, which looks like they are just
    scavenging the broken ones for parts. Politics played a large part in getting
    them built but the farm has changed hands and they are dying from neglect.

    They do sound very cool when you're under them, a big stereoscopic whirr.
  • by 777333ddd (525062) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:35PM (#6205837)
    I think at one time people though Power Lines looked cool. They were a novelty when they were new and not a lot of people had seen one. Now they are about the worst of a city's common eyesores. The same thing applies to Wind Turbines. At some point they will be viewed just like power lines. Ugggg-LY!

    And these windmills won't in fact make a dent in the big picture. People want the people near Cape Cod to suck it up for the greater good. But this project would not improve the greater good as defined by green house gas production. The article said they would handle 75% of local power needs but that was only 1.8% of New England. And the damaged view would be permanent.

    Now if the people of New England really wanted to (as the article says) produce power "without emitting a single microgram of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide or mercury and without burning a single barrel of Middle Eastern oil" AND in addition do so with an absolute minimum use of land and shoreline, they would build a typical modern Nuke plant in the multi-GW range. That would impact much more than 1.8% of the region's power needs.

    The only downside to Nukes is a Chernobyl-like operating mess. But that has proved extremely rare (one such event in the history of Nuclear Power, 50+ years) and probably even less likely by an order of magnitude given the plant designs and operating policies in Europe, Japan, and the US vs. the former Soviet Union. I'd rather live with that risk than the risk presented by thousands of trolling supertankers in the world's oceans.

    Say what you want about the French, these folks know Nuclear power. Imagine if the US were 70% emission free power like they are. Electric cars would suddenly make sense, hydrogen economy would make sense... because the ultimate source of the juice was emission free.

    d
  • Who's right? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GMontag (42283) <gmontag AT guymontag DOT com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:37PM (#6205852) Homepage Journal
    Who's right?

    In this case, none of them are right but there is a high hypocracy quotient.

    Some other players in this battle for two faces are Sen.s Edward Kennedy and John F. Kerry. Both bashing any effort to increase US oil production, both wanting to preserve the scenic views of their porperty in Nantucket by opposing wind power there.

    In the first place, this wind power business is fine for experimenting at this time, even large scale, but don't fool yourself into thinking it can dent the energy requirements of the US. Same with solar and biomass, it is just so much hot air and BS.

    My vote is for wacky schemes like these to be constructed on the property of the politician wishing to impose it on the rest of us. Obviously the Kennedy/Kerry alliance wants the issue for something to complain about. The longer it is delayed the more they can complai
  • by yenz (36023) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:38PM (#6205860)
    Just 2 km outside the harbour of Copenhagen (Denmark) there is a wind farm with 20 very large mills.

    Great pics here [middelgrunden.dk] and info in english here [middelgrunden.dk].

    You can see the energy production from the mills online [middelgrund.com]!

    IÂm an avid sailer and love the mills - great symbol of enviromentalism and the danish heritage as a country dependent on the wind. No complaints from anyone anymore. Most people like the Wind Farm - and much more than the nuclear powerplant on the other side of the sound in Sweden.

    Yenz

  • Re:NIMBY (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gsfprez (27403) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:40PM (#6205875)
    bear in mind that if we reduce our reliance on oil from the Middle East that the economies of the middle east will all sink like a 747 without an engine at 36,000 feet... plunging them all into a second stone age that, quite frankly, the world wouldn't give half a shit about.

    seriously, what differentiates the brutal massacres that the UN has ignored for decades in Iraq and Sudan? One word: Oil.

    Without oil, the mass graves of innocent Iraqi's would be as deep as those in Rwanda because the US wouldn't have gone in like we did in Iraq and saved the innocent people from evil tyrannical governments.

    Honestly, the US is not much better than the UN because we usually only save people if they have oil. If they don't have oil, well, we are no different than the UN - and we let them die at the hands of tyrants and dictators.

    (in fact, i'm convinced that the only reason we fought hitler was that we thought he'd get a nuke - otherwise, we'd just have turned our eyes from the Holocaust like the rest of the world did.)

    something to think about....
  • Re:NIMBY (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrLint (519792) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:08PM (#6206059) Journal
    I recall seeing Cronkite on tv complaining about this and that he was worried that the whales were going to run into the pilinings for the windmills. Of course I thought whales had echo navigation like dolphins, so im confused how they are gonna run headlong into them.
  • by cornetsen (681609) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:21PM (#6206142)
    My hometown is in the northwest of Germany (Emsland) and about half an hour drive from NL. The landscape is very similar to the Netherlands and therefore quite attratctive for windfarms.

    About 15 years ago when the first windmills were being built nobody objected them and it was no problem to get a permit. So many farmers sold a bit of their land to some investor and windmills were built everywhere.

    What we have now in my hometown is probably the perfect example for 'horizon pollution'. Anywhere you look, you see windmills.

    Believe me, you really don't want this in your neighbourhood anymore than a nuclear power plant!!!

    I think wind power is a great idea since it is a renewable technology. But wind farms shouldn't be built anywhere close to where people live. There is enough space in Germany (which is quite crowded!) to build wind farms where they don't bother anyone so I think it is possible in any country to find such places.

    Off-Shore platforms are a great idea and are possible, even in tough environments as this article shows: Off-Shore platforms in the Baltic Sea [seacore.co.uk]

    Tidal power plants [greenhouse.gov.au] are also an interisting renewable energy source.
  • by zogger (617870) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @05:07PM (#6206395) Homepage Journal
    You have it exactly. I am skeptical of hydrogen at this time except in places like iceland where they did the geothermal to hydrogen because that's all they have to work with, and plenty of it, heat + lotsa water.

    Methanol or ethanol have huge advantages most places else as alternative fuels, namely, very little in the way of "switching over" required, it's just liquid fuel, that's it. Same gas stations and the same gas tanks and with a little tuning the same engines in the vehicles, and that's it. No exotic containers, no radically different engines, etc. You lose a bit on miles per tank, gain it back by cleaner running engines that will last a lot longer and much less pollution. Mileage you adjust by weight of vehicle, styling, and use. We HAVE high mileage cars now, they just run on nasty fuel. I used to have a two seater fiat built in 69 that got over 60 mpg, and it would do any legal highway speeds in the US readily. I mean, c'mon, they really do have better engineering now to pick and choose from. Alcohols are fairly efficient fuel,so is gasoline, just that gasoline is pretty nasty after it's burnt. It (ethanol or methanol production)also can be done down to very small scale,with much cheaper and easier to use equipment, whereas cheneys and bushes scheme still requires the same monopoly companies that exist now to build the thousands of baby nuke plants (that's their main scheme now)for the hydrogen production (trillions profit for them) PLUS still use the oil they sell (trillions profit for them). More or less the same guys will be the same billionaires under their "new energy policy". methanol in particular can be made from cellulose, that the planet earth has in abundance and keeps making more of (I call cellulose stored solar), ethanol requires the sugars, not nearly as efficient, rather expensive to make with most techniques on any large scales, not the manufacturing, the just getting your hands on the sugars part. Places like brazil have been able to do it from cheap oil beinhg used to grow cheap sugar cane, same as in the US with cheap oil and natgas being used to grow corn, but most of the time when you look at the figures ethanol is out, just too expensive. methanol, nope, it's doable. Probably cost morre than gasoline now, but eventually that gasoline is not going to be cheap, and it could happen quickly, any random nutjob (in a suit, uniform or robes) setting off one nuke in the middle east will cause those prices to what they call "fluctuate" rather severely, as "investor confidence drops".
  • by js7a (579872) * <james.bovik@org> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @05:14PM (#6206428) Homepage Journal
    The $44 trillion [cnn.com] figure is the present value of the national debt held by the public computed as a perpetuity.

    We are not any worse off then we were in the '90s or the '60s.

    Until the baby boomers retire, and then we're totally screwed.

    The 2003 Senate Energy Bill [S.14] offers loan guarantees for the construction of 7 new nuclear reactors in the US

    The heavily subsidized typical cost for U.S. nuclear power is around $0.12/kwh. That doesn't include the blanket insurance policy courtesy of the Price-Anderson Act, nor the cost of waste disposal and other externalites like terrorism and natural disaster vulnerability, which can not be measured until it's too late.

    The unsubsidized, fully amortized cost of wind power is about $0.04/kwh. Most jurisdictions also apply a subsidy to wind.

    The entire United States of America can be converted to wind powered electricity using only 14,000 acres of turbine footprint area on existing farmland, pasture, and prarie. That's about twice the area of the Stanford University campus, or about as much oak forest lost in California each year.

    There is no reason that wind should not be the major U.S. source of electricity in 2018.

    Please tell Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Based on his Energy Committee testimony last week, nobody has explained this to him yet. Please phone +1.202.452.3204 and ask for Michelle Smith or Andrew Williams.

  • Re:NIMBY (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rick the Red (307103) <Rick.The.Red@gm a i l .com> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @05:58PM (#6206711) Journal
    While the "whoosh-whoosh" comes with the wind farm (and is way cool, IMHO -- I wouldn't mind living near one and personally, I'm hoping the cost comes down to where I can have one of my own and get off the grid), the high-pitched whine does not. The whine can be blocked out at nominal cost, yet it does cost something so the corporate executives who don't have to live next to it are reluctant to pay for sound insulation.
  • by dlakelan (43245) <<dlakelan> <at> <street-artists.org>> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:06PM (#6207213) Homepage
    Wind farms aren't all that...

    Environmentally and economically there are good reasons to dislike them. They kill a lot of birds. They break down a lot, requiring a fair energy input to maintain, and they only work when the wind blows.

    Here are some alternatives that may be better:

    Cogeneration of heat and power. A decent quality diesel engine runs in a soundproofed enclosure. The coolant liquid runs through radiators in your house, or to a heat pump that heats your house. Electricity from the generator is sent back through your meter onto the grid. This works with TODAYS technology. Some states already allow it. It produces power at much higher fuel efficiency than centralized plants and its distributed nature allows reduced transmission loss and increased reliability.

    Conservation: instead of building million dollar wind farms, change the way people consume energy. The biggest consumer is probably heating and cooling. Therefore, white roofs, and geothermal heat pumps are both probably going to save thousands of kilowatts vs. older heating and cooling techniques. White roofs considerably reduce heat gain during the summer.

    Geothermal heat pumps use heat from groundwater to heat, and reject heat into the groundwater to cool. Much more efficient than regular heat pumps which are already quite efficient.

    Combine this with cogeneration and you have a very attractive heating/cooling/power generation technique.

    The life of a typical quality diesel engine is about 20-30,000 hours. Then it needs an overhaul then it gets another 20-30,000 hours. Some run as long as 40 or 50 thousand. This means that with a monthly service contract and overhauls every 3 years or so you can have high efficiency reliable distributed generation.

    One engine will put out typically say 10 kilowatts of electric power, which will on average power 10 houses, though at peak times it might only power 1 house. A decent engine costs around $5000. It can burn the same #2 heating oil probably already in use for heating.

    By running the cogeneration plants only during the appropriate peak heating/cooling/electric demands you could probably stretch the life of the engine to 10 years or so.

    Schools, govt buildings, hospitals, gyms, apartment complexes, and other reasonably large energy consumers can usually do quite well with cogeneration units in their basements, making money off the power, and saving a bundle in heating or cooling (the reject heat can be used with the proper type of refrigeration unit to cool the building).

    Plus this technique acts as a "backup" generator for power outages and bad weather situations.

    Economically and environmentally speaking there are plenty of other responsible techniques for decreasing power requirements and increasing availability.

    perhaps this article is biased so as not to report the good technical reasons against this project?

  • Re:NIMBY (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MidnightBrewer (97195) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @07:07PM (#6207220)
    There have been documentaries about the windfarms in northern Germany causing a lot of sound polution (because really big windmills moving really fast tend to make a low, thrumming sound.)

    The problem is, it lowers the quality of life for the residents, because the low-level background noise causes stress, irritation, and fatigue.
  • Re:Hypocrisy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Happy go Lucky (127957) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @10:38PM (#6208520)
    Somewhere, sometime, highly populated states are going to realize that they are not entitled to simply purchase energy production from other states without suffering the drawbacks of that production.

    It's not just energy.

    I live in Colorado's Front Range. We're hoping that this year our state will start to emerge from a really nasty multi-year drought. Among other things, drought increases wildfire danger, and last year was a truly terrible wildfire season. Thankfully, the actual body count was held to single digits, but enough people ended up homeless and one of the burn areas (Hayman, in Jefferson/Douglas/Park Counties) will likely to take decades to recover.

    And the West Slope got hit pretty badly too. A few nasty fires, one near Durango and another near Rifle. To be fair, the one near Rifle had been burning for about a century underground.

    Have you ever noticed that, until the Colorado River was diverted and California and Arizona started asserting that they owned its water, the Imperial Valley was a desert? They didn't grow cotton in Arizona. And now, Scottsdale, AZ, has more green lawns than the entire Denver area.

    With COLORADO'S water. We can't suppress wildfires when they start, we can't irrigate, but a bunch of rich shitbirds in PHX can have green lawns and a bunch of welfare queens can grow peaches in the middle of the damn desert.

    And we can't dam, retain, or divert it. To do so would make a bunch of people in two other states cry about how they have to act like they live in the desert and it's our responsibility to suffer for it.

    Yes, I'm pissed. I'm not allowed to water my corn, because someone in Arizona needs to water a golf course. I'm not even allowed to use a rain barrel, because legally the rain belongs to someone downstream and out-of-state the instant it hits the ground!

    So, I'd happily take a windfarm. One of the power companies here is starting an experiment of offering wind power, albeit at an increased price. When it hits my area, I'll take it. Or, at least until I get off my lazy ass and get off-grid.

  • Re:NIMBY (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Asprin (545477) <gsarnold@@@yahoo...com> on Monday June 16, 2003 @02:51AM (#6209809) Homepage Journal

    People demand hybrid cars, but don't drive them because they don't have enough power to excessively speed in city.
    People demand low power [re: less heat] computers than buy Athlon 3200+ ...
    People are worried of dying at age 20 from coronary diesease then eat a 25pc bucket to themselves...



    Just because you can come up with examples that are ironic, doesn't mean they are correct. When you put millions of people on the planet with the free will to make their own choices you get a PLURALITY of opinion about things and those opinions are independent and may or may not overlap across issues:

    The people who choose to drive something else because hybrids don't meet their needs are very likely not the same individuals demanding that hybrids be produced; the people who want and need low-power processors are DEFINITELY not the same people who are in the market for high-end Athlons; and if you can find a twenty-something who is genuinely concered about coronary disease **AND** can horf down a 25 piece bucket of the Colonel's best, I'll buy the cole slaw.

    If /. is evidence of anything, it's that groups (two or more) do not monolithically agree on ANYthing.


    P.S. About hybrids: who are they for, anyway - rich people who don't have anywhere to go? They're a product without a US market, and if they are going to sell in any significant quantity in the US, where things are pretty spread out, the price needs to be lower. MUCH lower, like $10,000 or lower. Their target should be first cars for kids just out of college and second cars in two-wage-earner households. Hell, I'd probably buy one at that price, but not as my first car.

    P.P.S. While I'm ranting, Different processors for different needs - that's why we have a market where people can choose freely. Maybe enough people choose A over B that it becomes economically impractical to offer B, but it won't vanish because we all got together, took a vote and sent off a letter to manufacturer B saying "You suck, go away." It'll vanish because it couldn't garner enough support to make itself worthwhile.

    [DISCLAIMER: This might sound like an attack, so I'm sorry - I don't intend it as such. Most of this is not directed at you, but at a line of VERY sloppy thinking that cannot cope with sociological and economic reality. Plus, this is a pet peeve of mine when people bitch about why the rest of the group doesn't have the same priorities as the people that are bitching. I could write more, but it's late and I am tired.]

  • Re:Hm? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hesiod (111176) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .reierhcskoon.> on Monday June 16, 2003 @10:40AM (#6212157)
    > That's really not fair. Specifically what did he fabricate?

    Obviouslt you haven't read any of the HUGE LISTS of fabrications in that movie so you aren't likely to do this, but I'll bet you can find a good one by googling for "Michael Moore is a big fat fucking liar" or something like that. The one that springs to mind immediately is how he rearranged some of Charleton Heston's speeches to sound bad, he claimed that that speech was immediately after Columbine, which it wasn't, and same for the one in Flint. He also claimed that Heston went to Columbine (actually Denver) JUST BECAUSE of the shooting, which is entirely false: he was planning on going there before the shootings happened. He also did not have the authority in his group to cancel the meeting, but he was able to shorten it dramatically because of the shooting. Still, somehow he's a horrible person.

Byte your tongue.

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