Ed Driscoll

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN': What would it

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’: What would it take to replace about one-third of the petroleum used in transportation, (approximately 10% of the total energy demand of the U.S.) with wind powered energy? This article in Tech Central Station says that:

To generate that amount of energy, the wind turbines would have to occupy approximately 210,000 square miles of area. That’s 25% more than the size of California (assuming all of California were suitable for wind resource siting, which it is not).

True, the turbines would be spaced apart so that the wind freely meets the blades, leaving room beyond the footprint of each wind turbine for some limited use. So in a sense, California would not be entirely turbine-towered. But it would not be wilderness, either, owing to power lines, service buildings and roads threading the landscape. Moreover, there would be blade throws, tower topplings, destroyed viewsheds and significant kills of endangered birds such as raptors.

Technology has in the past and will continue to go a long way toward solving the problems faced by society. But such enthusiasm for technology needs to be grounded in scientific reality. And wishing that wind power will soon support thriving modern economies won’t make it so.

Which is why I chuckled when reading that New York Governor George Pataki has “recently joined a growing chorus calling for a renewable future”:

“Within the next 10 years,” Pataki said in his recent State of the State Address, “at least 25 percent of the electricity bought in New York will come from renewable energy resources like solar power, wind power, or fuel cells.”

The answer my friend…