October 30, 2004

Aren't wind turbines wonderful!

The claim by Enxco's David Steeb (see previous post) that a 5,000-acre power plant of 120 330-ft-high spinning turbines is necessary to preserving the rural character of Kittitas County in Washington reminds me just how magically wonderful this technology is. In fact, we in the U.S. probably need to start recognizing its crucial role in providing affordable health care and prescription drugs as well as improving our schools (by bribes to municipal councils in the latter case, by the desire to transform "unproductive" wilderness into a source of tax revenue in the former).

First of all, the turbines will reverse global warming, potentially displacing a tiny fraction of fossil-fuel-generated electricity even as that generation and consumption become cleaner and more efficient and energy use for heating and transport continues to rise.

They will end war and poverty, too, as we move so dramatically move away from fossil fuels to "free" wind power as just described.

They will increase tourism to wilderness areas, because people who try to escape the industrial world for a weekend will be glad to be reminded that they can't.

They create jobs, as long as they keep getting built. Former trail guides and country innkeepers will be pleased with new careers in road building, foundation digging, and cement hauling -- moving into the future instead of sitting stuck in a fantasy of the past. One of them may get to rent their house to a maintenance engineer.

They are phenomenally beautiful, bringing tears to the eyes of many sensitive souls, such as American writer Annie Dillard. They manifest the presence of the wind in a way swaying trees and fluttering leaves never could. They bring high (300-440 feet high!) culture to the rural masses. They are awe-inspiring symbols of our imperial might, our ability and right to dominate nature. They are like prehistoric stone circles, sleek new henges rising as testament to our self-love.

They save farmers and ranchers from having to break up and sell their land, and if their neighbors got into the game as well they would have a little money to help them move instead of just complaining about being left holding a bag of shite.

They are profitable, because governments around the world make sure they are. What better use of public money than to make things appear better?

They make us feel so good and proud and right, because so many of the problems in the world are solved by the fantastic schemes that make them possible.

The people love them, which is why local input must be minimized: The central government has read the company materials and already knows you want them.

They don't kill birds -- that's a total lie! Anyway, not many, a few dozen per turbine each year. A skyscraper out in those fields or on that mountain top would kill a lot more! And who really cares about all those bats? And global warming and acid rain and all that is killing even more!, which is exactly what building these massive wind towers is meant to stop (see first point, above).

They're very quiet, only making noise when the wind blows.

Above all, the market, with government's help and the visionary collaboration of global environmental groups, says they work. The dot-com bubble is gone, so industrial wind power is the new cool investment.

Bottom line: Are you so uncool that you would "protect" rural and wilderness areas during this rare convergence of forces that makes it possible to turn them into real money makers? Play or bray!

Had I the concordant wiseheads of Messrs Gregory and Lyons alongside of Dr Tarpey's and I dorsay the reverend Mr Mac Dougall's, but I, poor ass, am but as their fourpart tinckler's dunkey. -- Finnegans Wake