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The Almighty Buck Science

A Mighty Wind 670

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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  • NIMBY (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2003 @02:52PM (#6205507)
    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.
    • Re:NIMBY (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tomstdenis ( 446163 ) < minus poet> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @02:57PM (#6205535) Homepage
      A/k/a hypocrisy :-)

      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...


      Whatever, more power! I wouldn't mind one in my backyard only if I was able to fling birds at it...

      • Re:NIMBY (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Asprin ( 545477 )

        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
    • Re:NIMBY (Score:4, Funny)

      by bj8rn ( 583532 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @02:57PM (#6205537)
      I certainly could use a windmill in/near my backyard - it would drive all those bloody moles away.
    • Re:NIMBY (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2003 @02:58PM (#6205540)
      Negatives? Windfarms are, in my experience, very beautiful, quiet, aesthetically pleasing things.

      I can't imagine why these people are upset.
      • Re:NIMBY (Score:5, Interesting)

        by gerf ( 532474 ) <> 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 ( 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 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.
      • Re:NIMBY (Score:3, Informative)

        by Guppy06 ( 410832 )
        "Windfarms are, in my experience, very beautiful, quiet, aesthetically pleasing things."

        Huh? Windfarms in my experience are anything but quiet, with each windmill making "woosh-woosh-woosh" sounds as the blades turn and the generator in each making a high-pitched whine. When you have farms bigger than a dozen or so, you can hear them from miles away.

        While I for one think they sound cool and wouldn't mind living near one, I know I'm in the small minority. I also like airplane noise.
        • Re:NIMBY (Score:3, Interesting)

          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.
    • 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:3, Insightful)

        by BWJones ( 18351 )
        I should also have added that this approach could lessen our reliance on oil from the middle east that has us in Iraq right now and make both an electrical based and hydrogen based economy more feasible.

        • Re:NIMBY (Score:2, Interesting)

          by gsfprez ( 27403 )
          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 hav
          • Bulllshit (Score:4, Informative)

            by Keebler71 ( 520908 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:51PM (#6206318) Journal
            Last I checked, the Koreans, Panamanias, Somalis, Vietnamese, Grenadians (?), Bosians, Croats, and Muslim residents of Kosovo don't have any oil. That pretty much covers every signinficant US military action in the last 50 years leaving the one exception being the collective Gulf Wars. So actually when you think about, the US fighting for oil is the exception, not the rule.
        • Re:NIMBY (Score:2, Insightful)

          by mrogers ( 85392 )
          It would also reduce our reliance on oil from Texas. Still wonder why it hasn't been done?
      • Re:NIMBY (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:13PM (#6205657) Journal
        Long distance power transmission still sucks. Of course, something like this would be great for processing other materials.. like, say, generating Hydrogen to run our so-called hydrogen economy of the future.
      • "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."

        Because the "Not In My State" syndrom is just as bad. And they have congresscritters and senators to try to shut this idea down.

        Of course, the Pennsylvania state^H^H^H^H^Hcommonwealth government is within eyesight of Three Mile Island and they seem to be doing OK...
      • by pen ( 7191 )
        When have you ever seen the federal government do anything efficiently?
      • Re:NIMBY (Score:5, Informative)

        by heli0 ( 659560 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:05PM (#6206038)
        this huge $44Trillion debt that is going to bite us in the ass in the next few years especially with these tax cuts,

        The Federal Gov't budget was $2.1 Trillion [] for 2002. The tax cuts are $35 Billion/yr.

        In comparison $75 Billion/yr goes to family farmers who have been obsolete for 40 years now, $344 Billion for defense, $460 Billion for Social Security and $850 Billion for welfare programs.

        Here is a good graph showing national debt as % of gdp []. We are not any worse off then we were in the '90s or the '60s.

        The 2003 Senate Energy Bill (enter S.14 into "bill number") [] offers loan guarantees for the construction of 7 new nuclear reactors in the US, as well as a new $1.1Billion nuclear plant in Idaho to produce hydrogen. If these are steps you want taken, you should write a letter to your Senators telling them how much your vote depends on their support of this bill.

        • According to your own link, Defense gets over 360 billion, and for each of the others you lump together several categories, such as Medical into "welfare programs", meaning that you seem to think HMO regulation costs, hospital insurance costs, government employee health benefits, the cost of funding the FDA and health research, as well as disease control and training all fall under the heading of "welfare programs".

          Just a wee bit of bias, perhaps?
        • by js7a ( 579872 ) * <james.bovik@org> on Sunday June 15, 2003 @05:14PM (#6206428) Homepage Journal
          The $44 trillion [] 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.

        • Wow! (Score:4, Funny)

          by mdielmann ( 514750 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @06:06PM (#6206777) Homepage Journal
          Not being from the US, I didn't know that welfare got >2x what defense got (would I have known if I was American? ;). But here's an idea - draft welfare recipients. No more street people and defense gets more money (somewhat offset by the low-ranking, low-pay conscripts). It's a winning solution, well, except for the welfare recipients, but what an incentive to get off the dole!

          Of course, I don't believe that, but you can bet there's at least one clown on the Hill who thinks that's a good idea (and he probably has half his staff telling him to shut up about that idea until pension kicks in...).
    • Re:NIMBY (Score:3, Funny)

      by weorthe ( 666189 )
      A hundred years from now hoity-toity real-estate agents in Nantucket will be touting the scenic view of the picturesque Nantucket Sound wind-mill farm in their hoity-toity brochures.
    • Re:NIMBY (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rossz ( 67331 ) <`ogre' `at' `'> 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".
    • Re:NIMBY (Score:2, Troll)

      by Master Bait ( 115103 )
      A blighted landscape vs. air polution? Imagine how fucked up the outside would look if solar panels produced all our electricity, let alone wind machines or geothermal of biomass production.

      The world's real problem is overpopulation of human beings. Alternative energy projects are a band-aide hiding the ultimate challenge for humanity, which is how to reduce the population.

    • OK, I know this is daydreaming, and there are probably a million reasons why they won't work, but here are a couple of suggested cures for NIMBY:

      * The farther people are from the plant, the more they pay for their energy.

      * Cap the maximum output of any particular power plant as a function of population density and geography. If people aren't willing to have a plant built in their neighborhood, they obviously don't want the power that bad.

  • Process (Score:4, Funny)

    by grantsellis ( 537978 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @02:56PM (#6205528) Homepage
    1. Plant wind

    2. Raise wind

    3. Harvest wind

    4. PROFIT!
  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @02:57PM (#6205534)
    Windmills are funky looking, sure. That section along I-10 in California is proof enough of that.

    The thing is, they are quiet, clean, and often installed in places that there wouldn't be much other human habitation/recreation anyway. They're not good targets for terrorist attacks, since there's not really much to blow up, and jamming them isn't going to work either.

    N.I.M.B.Y. syndrome needs to be reckoned with anyay. And yes, I do live near a power generating station. There is a Natural Gas facility that also does experimental development on the grounds, like solar, less than two miles from where I live. It's in the middle of the city, and not really close to a major industrial section. If you don't want to see it, there are three other cardinal directions to look toward. I'll take the cheap electricity, myself.
    • Agreed that it is N.I.M.B.Y. syndrome, but, it would seem to me that windmills on a hill ridge would be less of an obstacle to things like hiking etc. than a bay covered with windwills, which to me would be a huge obstruction to recreational boating in the area. I don't mind the look, as some other posters they can look cool and elegant spinning slowly in the wind. But it sems to me that the impact would be less on land instead of in a popular boating area. I agree with some the people quoted in the article
    • Good points, but there are those of us who worry about wind power's effects on bird populations. They disproportionately kill endangered large species, such as Golden Eagles and other raptors. They are situated in areas where these endangered birds tend to soar and areas with good wind.

      Even though they may not be as large a contributor to total bird loss (not just raptors) as automobiles, power lines, and lighted transmission towers, the number is impressive given how few wind power installatio
  • 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 ) <> 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,
    • 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.

  • local reaction (Score:5, Informative)

    by iate138 ( 677385 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:00PM (#6205559) Journal
    i live on cape cod, and i am sick of the people who are protesting this. the major arguments against it consist basically of the lessening of aesthetic appeal for beach-goers and boaters. it irks me that the same people who realize the necessity of easing the power demand on the canal power plant (a vile, coal burning smoke belcher) are unwilling to take steps to find alternative energy resources. stupid rich tourists, afraid of seeing a few gulls chopped up in windmills on their way to the islands.
  • And personally, I like windmills. I mean, I think they look good. The so-called environmentalists resisting the installation of a wind farm anywhere just to preserve the appearance of the landscape are simply full of shit. I say push 'em out the airlock at the earliest opportunity. Of course, first we have to build the space elevator to the airlock, but IMO that should be our primary goal right now anyway...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:03PM (#6205574) me crazy, but i'm thinkin those two might be a fuggin gold mine for any 'wind harvesters'....Hot-air balloon industry might like a heads-up on this too...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    NYT Story []
  • by pjdepasq ( 214609 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:05PM (#6205593)
    I once knew a girl from Nantucket...

    Oh wait, that's related to another story....
  • ... is to just wait 10-20 years. By then the air will be so brown with the burning coal residue from the the electric plants, nobody will be able to see the windmills anyway.

    Or build them now and avoid the impending, unavoidable air pollution problem.
  • These rabid environmentalists are totally clueless about the enviro-friendliness of most energy technologies. It's not like someone is wanting to start an offshore oil operation or a huge pollutant producing coal factory. The reality is that the US is outpacing our current energy supplies, and we have to explore alternative methods to increase production. I would hardly consider a wind farm among the most harmful to the environment.
    • Re:Ridiculous (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ApharmdB ( 572578 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:24PM (#6205725)
      Please don't lump all environmentalists together in such a way. These people are not environmentalists, they are rich schmucks who just want everything their way.

      There are critical thinking environmentalists too. I like to think that I am one, but I know that that would be a stupid assumption to make.
  • Hypocrisy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vandelais ( 164490 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:10PM (#6205631)
    Hypocrisy of this nature is not just emotional.

    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.

    This is a major public policy and national security issue. There will be much more of this to come.
    Regardless of the fact that there may have been energy market manipulation, states like California fail to build a power plant for decades and complain that they have to pay an 'unfair' price. Their populace is not entitled to purchase at cost that which other states take the initiative to produce to fill their own demand, tolerate risk, deal with pollution, and expend capital.

    There is no obligation for other states to acquiesce to large population states' lack of discipline, foresight, and planning.

    Lastly, this type of conflict is a perfect example of why we have a bicameral legislature and the benefits of the elcectoral college system.
    • Re:Hypocrisy (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bodrius ( 191265 )
      Why don't they deal with it the capitalist way? It's probably the only to let them negotiate the issue without getting lost in rethoric and hypocresy: Factor it all in the numbers.

      You don't want power plants in your backyard? Pay a higher price, or a MUCH higher price the less "in your backyard" they are.

      Use that profit to pay the neighborhoods that are willing to put up with the power plant through subsidized electricity.

      As power demands of other regions, including the ones that produce the electricity,
    • Re:Hypocrisy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:32PM (#6205801) Journal
      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.

      Yes, they are; the "drawbacks" that you refer to are, or should be, bundled into the price. In fact this sort of thing happens all the time, and is a perfectly normal part of capitalism. Paying for labor is nothing more and nothing less then paying somebody else for the "drawback" of having to work hard to assemble or create something.

      If the "drawbacks" aren't paid for it's the seller's fault for setting the price too low, not the buyer's fault, which you try to blame.

      Concentrate on the seller, not the buyer.
  • 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 ApharmdB ( 572578 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:19PM (#6205694)
    Ok, I consider myself an environmentalist and these people who bitch about wind farms really have no business claiming to be so. Their choices are according to my recent utility supplied info are along with my half-assed pissed-off descriptions:

    1) Oil - Polluting
    2) Coal - Seriously Polluting
    3) Natural Gas - Clean compared to other fossil fuels, but still requires us to fight wars for it.
    4) Nuclear - Cart toxic waste across country to bury it in Yucca Mountain. Also, BOOOM!
    5) Wind - Unsightly, similar in price to fossil fuels.
    6) Solar - Still too expensive in cents/kWh.
    7) Biomass - Can't really increase the supply unless you want to start collecting cow farts.
    8) Hydro - Most rivers that can generate hydro already are.
    9) Imported Power - Mysterious Power!
    10) Municipal Trash - Burning stuff is not clean.

    Now, of the above choices, what should we focus on until something better becomes available? I think wind is the obvious choice. But no, they are unsightly! OMG! Everything has a negative and wind power's is pretty minor compared to the others. The land that wind power is on can also be used for other purposes such as farming or grazing.

    I have a feeling that the people who whine would really like all their power to come from number 9, Imported Power. You know, that magical, free power that some poor schlub in another community has to suffer the environmental consequences for. Now, unless they want to whip out their magic fairy-wand and produce energy out of thin air, they have to use something and they should wake the hell up and realize that wind is a very good choice.

    If you are interested in costs, check out the California 1996 Energy Technology Status Report Summary. [] For a summary, it weighs in at 93 pages. Bleah.
    • Coal - Seriously Polluting

      I would tend to disagree with that. A few years ago, I took a tour of Curtis H. Staton energy plant, which is owned by OUC (the Orlando [Florida] Utilities Comission). This plant has won environmental awards since boiler #2 was completed in 1994(5?). Both boilers are filtered through an ABB designed system that includes everything from cyclonic filtering, to electrostatic precipitators, to lime wash, to a final-stage HEPA filter. The plant's exhaust is 99.6% CO2 and H2O vapor,

      • Coal (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ApharmdB ( 572578 )
        Yes, there are some plants which are clean. However, you are leaving out the coal extraction process which often rips the tops off of mountains in order to get at the coal. Coal mining is also dangerous and deadly when it isn't ripping the tops off and is instead staying underground.
      • I support efforts to make energy production cleaner, but coal burning plants should be judged by average practice, not best practice, unless there is a serious effort being made to ensure that the current best practice become the average practice of the future --an unlikely scenario under a Bush adminstration.

        The plant's exhaust is 99.6% CO2 and H2O vapor

        CO2 is not pollution? Reducing anthropogenic global warming will require reducing CO2 emissions.

    • by gregmac ( 629064 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:39PM (#6205868) Homepage
      The land that wind power is on can also be used for other purposes such as farming or grazing.

      Denmark built an off-shore wind farm [], which seems like a pretty good idea. The wind currents are stronger over the ocean, and it doesn't take up any land. Includes pictures [].

    • by ikeleib ( 125180 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:45PM (#6205919) Homepage

      3) Natural Gas - Clean compared to other fossil fuels, but still requires us to fight wars for it.

      Almost all natural gas in the US comes from domestic production.

      5) Wind - Unsightly, similar in price to fossil fuels.

      Depending on the ownership and financing structure, wind can be cheaper than fossil fuels. If you discount the subsidies that fossil fuel exploiters get, wind is by far the cheapest energy.

      7) Biomass - Can't really increase the supply unless you want to start collecting cow farts.

      Because, as we all know, every dump in America is currently generating power.

    • While I do think the hypocritical bastards should crawl in a hole and die, I'm not entirely sure I agree with your list anyway.

      2) coal - not so much that it is polluting (when done right, as it often is) that it is environmentally unfriendly to get the fuel
      4) nuclear - "boom?" Nuclear plants don't really go boom. While environuts always like to say "look at chernobyl," that sort of thing is really impossible with modern plants. That's like saying, "Don't use linux for servers, because look how much micro
  • by XaXXon ( 202882 ) <> 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.
    • 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.

      Actually, the old, single-hulled tanker leaked oil into Buzzards Bay, not Nantucket Sound. It came damned near to washing up on the beach a block from my house, so I'm more than a little irritated at the irresponsibility of the oil shipping industry -- and I'm all for the wind farm.

      I am mostly very libertarian in my political views. However, when

  • Are you dense? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The whole reason you earn enough money to live in Nantucket is to live life the way you want.

    And when you're that rich, you're subject to "noblesse oblige", which means, you'll help the poor sods to make sure they stay the hell away from your house in Nantucket.

    I *get* why they feel that way; if I had their money, I've feel the same way.

  • Fighting these windmills seems a bit Quixotic to me..

    Cliff Notes:
    Quixotic []
    Don Quixote []
  • ...thru the years, I have to ask him consider the plight of residents in the country next to me (Bastrop, SW of Austin) who have been fighting Alcoa's latest lignite strip mine for years and have lost. And this at a time when our air is Texas has both acids and mercury and the South Texas Nuclear Power Plant is shutdown with new leaks of primary coolant. I say ring the coasts with wind power! Put them on MY block, please!
  • by gsfprez ( 27403 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:31PM (#6205798)

    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!
  • NL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by leomekenkamp ( 566309 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:32PM (#6205803)

    Suddenly, all the environmentally friendly locals are going ballistic over the prospects of seeing an 'industrial energy complex' in their backyard.

    I live in The Netherlands; a nice, flat, windy country in the west of Europe, sometimes wrongfully call Holland (Holland is a part of the Netherlands, sort of like England is a part of the UK).

    Anyway, 30 years ago most foreigners thought of 4 things when they heard about NL: tulips, wooden shoes, Rembrand and windmills! (today our excellent pot would also be mentioned). Those old-fashioned windmills are pretty big and bulky, and you can see them from afar.

    Funny thing is, when someone wants to build an environmentally friendly windmill for electrical energy, he or she cannot get a permit for that. We even have a special word for it: horizonvervuiling (horizon pollution)

    I cannot stop to wonder how our country would have looked like if that word had been invented in the 17th century.

  • by presearch ( 214913 ) * on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:33PM (#6205819)
    There's a wind farm at South Point on Hawaii's Big Island. []

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

    by GMontag ( 42283 ) <gmontag@[ ] ['guy' in gap]> 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
  • Just 2 km outside the harbour of Copenhagen (Denmark) there is a wind farm with 20 very large mills.

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

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

    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.

  • by nuggz ( 69912 )
    Not in My Back Yard.

    People are too selfish, and they don't really care.

    As long as it doesn't affect them, they don't care.
    When it starts to bother them, they might consider doing something, but not until.

  • <very silly voice>Will this wind... be so mighty... as to lay low... the mountains... of the earth?</very silly voice>

    Okay, okay, I know no-one gets the reference. I'll shut up now.

  • In Minnesota, Excel energy has a "windsource []" program. You can pay a subsidy* per 100kWh, and they will build enough additional wind capacity to provide that power. In essence, you can power part, or all, of your house on Wind power.** Neat, eh?

    Austin, TX has a similar program []. Excel does it in Colorado [], too. If you believe in this stuff, put your money where your mouth is! It's just a few dollars.***

    * OTOH, it sucks - they need more capacity, and I think wind is the cheapest new capacity they can

  • Just wondering, say we put up enough windmills to handle, like, all of our electricity needs...which would probably be a pretty insane amount. At some point, do the wind patterns get changed enough so that the climate is signifigantly warped? Or is it really that close to being a "free lunch" if we can just put up enough of the dang windmills up?

    I saw a few of the modern windmills for the first time in Germany recently. I was surprised at how slowly they were rotating, wouldn't have guessed they could be
  • Danger to yachts? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Roblimo ( 357 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @03:59PM (#6206004) Homepage Journal
    The danger or at least inconvenience to pleasure boaters and commercial fishermen is a big reason the locals say they're against this offshore windmill farm. That makes no sense. It looks to me like there would be plenty of space between the towers for a pretty large yacht or fishing boat to pass through the line of windmills.

    Not only that, how hard would it be to provide several wide passages between selected towers for the big-boat people, and mark them with standard channel navigation buoys?

    I have trouble understanding how any sailor could be against this project. I mean, if you take a look at my boat [], you'll see that it openly and unashamedly uses wind as its primary power source.

    But don't worry about me, Nantucket Sound people, I promise not to sully your view with my litle wind-powered boat. It's a lot cheaper to live and sail here in Florida... and we can sail year-round, too. :)

    - Robin

    PS - I'd be okay with windmills off the shore in the Gulf of Mexico. They'd be a lot better than the environmentally destructive offshore oil rigs Pres. Bush wants to put here -- but his brother Jeb, FL governor, keeps fighting against, so far successfully, although the oil people keep attacking and handing out the bribes, so sooner or later they'll probably get to do their damage unless we manage get the reflubicans out of office first.
  • by Phoenix666 ( 184391 ) on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:02PM (#6206018)
    Bug me. There have been several such stories in the NE about this lately. The other one I can remember was in upstate New York. Rich people there complained about their views being ruined too. Like other posters, I agree that the developer should acquiesce and give them a coal-burning power plant instead.

    It makes me think that perhaps the wind-farm developers are going about it all wrong. They should first say they're going to put a nuke power plant in Nantucket, and let the residents get good and riled up about that. Let their faces go beet-red with fury, let them picket the site, and give them tons of air time on the local news channels. Then you throw your hands up in the air and say, "OK, OK, I give up! I'll only build a wind farm! Boy, you environmentalists sure make it hard for honest entrepreneurs to do business..." The locals will say, OK, that's more like it. They'll think they've won, and you get to build your wind farm.

  • by ubiquitin ( 28396 ) * on Sunday June 15, 2003 @04:09PM (#6206071) Homepage Journal
    REPP has a paper on how wind the top five or so wind farfarm projects have affected housing and property values. See the report in PDF here: d_online_final.pdf [] They refer to "view shed" as a way of indicating how far around the area the wind generaters are visible. Very interesting look at wind energy.
  • by dlakelan ( 43245 ) <dlakelan.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?

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde