Sunday, January 02, 2005

Wind power tradeoffs revisited

I've commented before that with the growing competitiveness of wind power we will be facing tradeoffs worldwide, particularly concerning the siting of wind farms. Rural areas are ideal and yet, large wind farms may seem an unwelcome blight on the landscape. However, the way of living the wind farms are disrupting is bound for the dustbin of history. Rural residents who have moved far from the city to "get away from it all" are paying a price in many ways for wanting all the conveniences of the city without any of the negatives. In the not too distant future, this rural commuting lifestyle will not be sustainable. Then, we'll leave the countryside to the farmers and ranchers whom we will be need more than ever to produce our food locally as the costs to transport food long distances skyrockets.

The fact is wind power may be our best way--perhaps the key--to making an energy transition away from fossil fuels. As much as I lament the aesthetic assault on the countryside that wind power represents and as much as I see a need for better guidelines for siting and design, I simply cannot endorse the idea that we need to slow down on the development of wind power. WE NEED TO SPEED IT UP! Otherwise, I fear it will be lights out on the modern technical civilization from which we draw so many benefits.

For why I believe we need to move full speed ahead on alternative energy, see my "Favorite Posts" concerning peak oil. We don't have any time to lose.

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