Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Obama has Windmills on His Mind

President Obama has visions of windmills offshore enhancing the beauty of the oceanic landscape.

Washington Post

Let the environmental lawyers start warming up their pens.

The Oregon coast is no place for plainly visible wind turbines

Energy production ain't pretty, even in its more environmentally friendly forms. If Oregonians want to reduce dependence on foreign oil and support cleaner energy, they need to accept wind turbines in many of their wide open spaces.

The Oregon coast, however, should remain sacred territory. Wind turbines that are plainly visible from shore would be a blight on the horizon and should be treated as an energy option of last resort -- not just another frontier in the wind rush.

A Seattle-based company wants to put 20 to 40 floating wind turbines off the Oregon coast, as The Oregonian's Gail Kinsey Hill reported Monday. This one-year-old company, called Principle Power Inc., is in early stages of talks with Tillamook County officials. The turbines could be as close as 10 miles from land. At that distance, the massive floating structures would still be clearly visible from shore.

Could you Photoshop them out of your sunset photos?

Technically, yes.

Could you ignore them?


Don't panic quite yet. The plan remains tentative and would be subject to a lengthy approval process. Any company wanting to harness the wind off the coast would need to address far more than visual blight. The possible impact on fishermen and marine life are two of the most important concerns.

Still, those artist renditions of sleek, tall offshore turbines cause an acute case of N.I.M.B.O., Not in My Big Ocean. The ocean pounding the Oregon coast is one of the few wild spaces left -- one of the few vistas largely unchanged by time and "unimproved" by human endeavors.

Wind technology is advancing at hurricane speed because of volatile oil prices, new state laws requiring renewable energy, a changing political climate and healthy tax incentives. Ocean-based platforms may make economic and environmental sense within a few short years.

Any ocean-based wind turbine would need to be closer to 20 miles out, based on current size and projections, to be hidden from view. Oregon should lay its marker down in the sand: A truly green energy project minimizes visual pollution too.

God save the whales if they get tangled up in the cables that anchor the wind turbines.

And on top of that, Obama said wind energy could be supplying 20 percent of the country's energy needs by 2030.

Not if the environmentalist lawyers get a hold of those lawsuits on the leases and costs don't drop with the making the wind turbine farms.

Energy won't be cheap.

Related links:

LIPA Chairman Advises a ‘No’ on Offshore Windmills


Justin said...

You are a joke Tom. I like how you and your two other contributers are smoking crack. I know you used to work at home depot, nice career choice. Is that where you get your scientific knowledge.

Tom said...

Justin, save the childish remarks for another blog.

I guess my years as a meteorologist must have slipped by you.

No go run along and play with the other kids who make childish remarks.