Sunday, March 06, 2005

The story so far

The news editor of Renewable Energy Access returned my query about the removal of comments (that has continued since that query) that referred readers to www.aweo.org. Here is the exchange so far.

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From: Eric Rosenbloom
Sent: Wednesday, March 02, 2005 6:14 PM

It was brought to my attention yesterday that a comment on the article at renewableenergyaccess.com/rea/news/story?id=23068 was removed. Suspecting the reason to be a reference to www.aweo.org, that person put up a new similar comment and I added one as well. This morning both were gone.

I don't understand this, as other comments cite other web sites, both pro- and anti-wind. (And please remember that many opponents, including myself, to large-scale wind power are in fact very supportive of many other renewable energy sources.) Could you please explain what happened?

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From: Jesse Broehl
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2005 15:54:47 -0500

Eric,

We welcome spirited, opposing, anti-RE comments in our news forum but we don't welcome comments that simply refer people off-site without actually contributing to a discussion or at least summarizing their arguments. That appeared to be the case with your comments regarding "aweo.org"

Just curious, if you're against commercial wind power, what are your suggestions to our increasing energy needs? More coal, oil, nuclear, etc? Now that would be a terrifc item to post in our comment forum!

Jesse Broehl, Editor,
RenewableEnergyAccess.com News

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From: Eric Rosenbloom
Date: Fri, 04 Mar 2005 16:57:19 -0500

Fair enough. Thanks for responding. My impression of the first instance, however, was that it was simply in response to the earlier referral to 4 pro-wind sites. I notice that references to aweo.org still stand in the comments at renewableenergyaccess.com/rea/news/story?id=22907, perhaps because the second one is just such a counter-referral as the instance I wrote to you about. Yet that second referral, recommending 2 pro-wind sites, contains no discussion or summary of their arguments.

To your curiosity, the thing that seems obvious to me about commercial wind power is that it can not contribute significantly to our existing energy needs, let alone any increase. That is, I reject the premise of your question. Your goading options ("coal, oil, nuclear, etc") also appear to equate rejection of big wind power with rejection of all alternative energy sources. My interest in alternative energy is precisely what led me to research wind and discover its many shortcomings, for which rural communities and wild habitats are being nonetheless sacrificed.

~~~
Eric

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From: Jesse Broehl
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2005 17:51:27 -0500

Eric,

I always regret following up these conversations ........ but I don't follow your position that commercial wind power doesn't contribute significantly to existing energy needs. Every MW of wind power means that amount doesn't need to be generated somewhere else, through dirty means.

One quick anecdotal example: The 420 MW proposed Cape Wind farm would displace, at full capacity, more than the entire electrical output of the fuel oil plant near buzzard's bay. You may recall that over a year ago, roughly 40,000 gallons of oil were spilled in Buzzard's Bay on their way to that power plant. I'm sure you'll pick holes in this example (the wind is intermittent, they're an "eyesore", etc) but that's a real example of wind power contributing a large amount of commercial energy in a clean fashion.

As I said, we welcome any type of comment as long as it attempts to keep people on our site and contributes in some way as either a basic comment or part of a discussion.

Have a good weekend,

Jesse Broehl, Editor,
RenewableEnergyAccess.com News

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From: Eric Rosenbloom
Date: Fri, 04 Mar 2005 21:03:51 -0500

Well, you brought up the example of Cape Wind, and the salient phrase is "at full capacity." You know that its average output will be at best a third of that, and that it will generate at or above that average level only about a third of the time. You also know that oil-fired plants are precisely the quick-response generators necessary to balance the fluctuations of wind plant on the system. Oil will still have to be shipped to Buzzard's Bay.

And as the Cape Wind proposal is still being reviewed, it is certainly not a "real example of wind power contributing a large amount of commercial energy in a clean fashion." I often note that wind advocates always talk about the future rather than what has already been achieved in Denmark, Germany, or Spain -- which is not very much.

~~Eric

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