Monday, January 9, 2012

Wind Towers

 Wind Towers are a common sight in GreaterDakota.
 Whenever I notice them by the side of the road as I drive our highways, my first thought is that I'm glad I don't live on the nearest farmstead. I'm glad we haven't had to deal directly with that issue.
 In theory, wind power is the answer to many problems.
If the evergreen trees would grow up, they would camouflage the stark structures. In truth, the trees must not block the wind to the blades or attract too many birds.
 In theory, the wind is always blowing out here.
 In truth, the blades were not turning in the wind today.
No power was being generated.
Above the corn stubble, all was still and quiet. 
I drove down the section line, between the fields on which the wind towers stand. 
Every tower has an access road that makes farming the land beneath the towers tedious, but not impossible. Farmers lease land to power companies that build the towers and maintain them.
 The warnings are clear and I didn't venture any closer. I have read wind power needs a battery storage system which despite the best effort of the industry, has not been discovered. Because of that, it is very inefficient and extremely expensive. Fine, if you can afford it, but not a real solution to energy problems at the present time.
The wind towers turn like giant pin wheels on a windy day and are lit with red flashing lights which can be seen for fifty miles or more at night. As you may have guessed, construction and maintenance is very expensive. I am not convinced that these towers are the key to a powerful future.
Many believe the industry holds promise and are invested in wind power as a green energy option. It is tolerated and sometimes encouraged by land owners because it provides a stable income to farming's unstable cash flow. It does take land out of production and long term consequences to land productivity are still unknown.
Wind farms are thought to hold  power for the future and I hope they will. If we can invent a storage system that would allow the power generated to be wholly captured, transported, and applied, there is a chance it could be useful. 
On this windless day on the windswept prairie in GreaterDakota, it is an expensive experiment of grand proportion.

4 comments:

  1. Brava! Well said, Mom. They have potential, but wind towers are FAR from being a reliable, and economical source of power.

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  2. Well said. Too many bow at the altar of anything green without thinking things all the way through to the end. Without storage, wind is unreliable and does not really solve any of the problems of current forms of energy generation. If farmers were paid a fair price for what they do, they would not be tempted to fill their fields with access roads and towers.

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  3. We have a lot of these same wind towers up or going up in southern Manitoba near my family farm. Fortunately we have not been directly impacted with any on our land yet. Our province seems to think they're the answer. I agree that they take good land out of production.

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  4. Love it when truth is spoken. We have those ugly things in Texas and they don't work much either. Perhaps someone tipped off the wind that it would have to work that day...as it clearly takes a lot of days off.
    My husband just returned from Palm Springs where they weren't working either...he was there to help with the installation of power plants that took a fraction of the land and I do mean a SMALL fraction of the land...to make up for the months that the windmills do not produce. Sad isn't it?

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