It’s been riveting to follow the comments on the Wind Turbine Farm postings. The concerns seem to have boiled down to those listed below. Note that these are not my views: I am attempting to summarize the concerns expressed on the Comments.
1. We want green energy, so what are the alternative sources of energy? Aren’t they worse? Coal? (Dirty.) Nuclear? (Hugely expensive, & where to put the waste?) Big dams? (Can be very destructive to ecosystems.) Solar? (This has not been much discussed. There is new cheap tech on the way… but solar tends to be individual houses, & who can afford?)
2. Wind farms in water create fish habitat.
3. Big turbines don’t kill a lot of birds and bats – other things kill more.
1. Wind farms are not that efficient. Europe has not closed any coal-fired plants as a result of having wind.
2.Noisy. (See Health, #6.)
3. Unsightly. Landscapes have proven mental & physical health & healing benefits. Destroying them visually is going to be very distressing to many.
4. Process: no (or not enough) environmental assessments have been done.
5. In Lake Erie, toxic sediment disturbance and subsequent distribution of these in the drinking water have not been assessed.
6. Health problems for those in the vicinity. (Much to-ing and fro-ing on this one.)
7. Not democratic to foist this stuff on people with no say-so from them.
8. Some people are making a whole lot of money on the backs of the rural and small-town voters. It’s a cash grab.
9. These things are death to tourism.
Have I missed any?
SOME SUGGESTIONS: Note: These ARE my views!
Presumably the goal is to neutralize Co2 emissions by substituting carbon-neutral processes for C02-emitting ones, without spending a lot of money the taxpayer can’t afford on things like nuclear plants.
Also: to preserve ecosystems, biodiversity, and landscapes as much as possible.
1. For Co2-neutralizing existing coal plants, see: Calera: http://www.calera.com/ This is a tech for neutralizing emissions from existing coal plants: cheap, scalable, and produces aggregate: thus less need for landscape-destroying limestone quarrying.
2. See: http://www.transitiontowns.org/ How about this: towns/townships/ communities that opt for becoming Transition Towns should be able to trade the reduction they achieve for not having windfarms where they don’t want them. Gives people a say. Restores trust.
Returning dead fields — pesticide & herbicide-killed — to life would count: there are a lot of websites that treat the Co2 uptake of organic soils. See also Ch. 4 of eaarth by Bill McKibben. Organic soils are more resistant to the droughts and floods that are predicted. See Soil Association http://www.soilassociation.org, Farm Forward www,farmforward.com.
3. As an interim measure, reduce speed limit on highways by 5 0r 10 Ks: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/article586. There is a lot of math on this. This measure would also reduce accidents & thus the taxpayers’ health bills.
4. And it goes without saying that there need to be environmental and health studies in advance of any big turbine placement. This means a code, and examiners who are not in the employ of the turbine farms.
5. The biggest source of Co2 emissions is leaky buildings: heat and cold are generated by burning fuels, then the heat and the cold leak out of the building at a rate of 40%. See for instance:
Zerofootprint Building Re-skinning:
Re-skinning should count for Transition Town carbon-reduction points.
6. Those who live in cities should be able to do neighbourhood or single-house reduction, then donate or trade their reductions to help rural communities that might not otherwise be able to collect enough reductions to trade away the turbine farms.
7. Governments and communities need to stop thinking BIG BIG BIG and start thinking small, local, off the grid. For what it’s worth. NB one big energy-trading grid is a lot mote vulnerable to take-down than a lot of small ones.
What do YOU think?