Sunday, July 20, 2008

How do Wind Turbines Make You Feel?

When you see a wind turbine off in the distance (or up close if you've ever had the chance to get close) what feelings does it evoke?

When we were in Ireland, we listened to a lot of talk radio. One of the programs talked about some wind turbines that went up near a fairly affluent area (can't remember where), and the commentator said that people were afraid that "if it could happen there, it could happen anywhere." As if it were something horrible that happened in that area.

This past Saturday, we were at a party and the subject of wind turbines came up. My husband and I were telling everyone that we had seen them all over the place in Ireland, usually in groups of three, off on distant hills as we were driving. We thought they were beautiful sights. The people at the party agreed.

One person said the turbines made her feel peaceful when she saw them. I said that they make me feel hopeful.

The closest wind turbines that we have to our home are off the coat in Atlantic City - about a 50 minute drive from here. As you drive into the city, you can see wind turbines spinning out in the water. I remember a few years ago getting my first view of them and being in awe. This was before I was concerned about energy.

I understand that everyone's home can't have a wind turbine up on the roof because the conditions need to be right for them to function properly. But, there are plenty of places where the conditions are right. Why aren't they being put up as quickly as possible?

Is it political pressure from the existing energy companies? Is it that we don't have the ability to harness the energy from more wind turbines yet? Is it public resistance?

I haven't had a chance to listen to the full speech that Al Gore gave last week, but I plan on getting around to it this week. I know that wind turbines were mentioned. Will this get people moving like his movie,
An Inconvenient Truth, did? You know, I was never thrilled with Gore as VP, but now he's one of my favorite people.

I encourage you to learn more about wind turbines. I'm going to be doing the same.

I'm going to start with
How Wind Power Works on the website How Stuff Works, and if I can wrap my head around the information in that article, I'll get more indepth.

In the mean time. Wind turbines make me feel hopeful. How do they make you feel?

Image from Wikimedia
Stumble Upon Toolbar


jmisgro said...

I feel like you do. I think they are beautiful. Some months ago my husband and I had to go upstate (in PA) and saw a lot of them. They don't bother me at all. I get bothered by seeing nuclear power plants! We live between 2 of them!

Despairing said...

I think they're beautiful things which enhance an area. My girlfriend, on the other hand, thinks they look "sinister". But not as sinister as a coal or nuclear power plant!

The debate in Ireland, as it is in Scotland, is one of aesthetics. People want to believe that they live in an unspoilt wilderness and the turbines are seen as "industrialising" the countryside. There's a lot less resistance to them if you involve the local community in the project - one wind farm in central Scotland allowed the local village to "buy" a turbine from them, allowing the village to make money from the wind farm rather than having them imposed on their doorstep.

IAProgressive said...

We have a number of turbines here in the midwest, including a large farm about 40 minutes north of me. We have three in our small town, and everyone seems okay with them.

I've heard from some engineering types that the problem with expanding the number of wind farms is that it is very hard to get the energy spread through the energy grid, and keeping everything in a constant balance because wind power fluctuates so much.

Hopefully there will be some developements in monitoring technology that will make that process smoother, also battery technology to store any energy that isn't needed when the wind is blowing.

Wendy said...

I completely support wind energy, or any energy that is renewable and safe for the environment. However, we also need to keep in mind that there may be repercussions for people living around these communities (within two miles of these turbines). Apparently medical issues are starting to appear. I'd say definitely keep building them, but with safeguards so that we don't affect the quality of life of the people around them - after all, there is energy - very strong energy coming through electrical lines underground, and as clean and green as these machines are, they can affect people and animals.