Cohocton Wind Watch: The Wind Cries 'Bailout!'
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


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Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Wind Cries 'Bailout!'

Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens launched a media blitz this week to announce his plan for us "to escape the grip of foreign oil." Now he's got himself stuck between a crock and a wind farm.

Announced via TV commercials, media interviews, a Wall Street Journal op-ed (July 9) and a web site, Pickens wants to substitute wind power for the natural gas currently used to produce about 22 percent of our electricity and then to substitute natural gas for the conventional gasoline currently used to power vehicles.

Pickens claims this plan can be accomplished within 10 years, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, reduce the cost of transportation, create thousands of new jobs, reduce our carbon footprint, and "build a bridge to the future, giving is time to develop new technologies."

It sounds great and gets even better, according to Pickens.

Don't sweat the cost, he says, "It will be accomplished solely through private investment with no new consumer or corporate taxes or government regulation."

What's not to like?

First, it's worth noting Pickens' claim made in the op-ed that his plan requires no new government regulation. Two sentences later, however, he calls on Congress to "mandate" wind power and its subsidies.

Next, Pickens relies on a 2008 Department of Energy study claiming the U.S. could generate 20 percent of its electricity from wind by 2030.

Setting aside the fact that the report was produced in consultation with the wind industry, the 20-by-2030 goal is quite fanciful. Even if wind technology significantly improves, electrical transmission systems (how electricity gets from the power source to you) are greatly expanded, and environmental obstacles (like environmentalists who protest wind turbines as eyesores and bird-killing machines) can be overcome, the viability of wind power depends on where, when and how strong the wind blows -- none of which are predictable.

Wind farm siting depends on the long-term forecasting of wind patterns -- but climate is always changing. When it comes to wind power, it is not simply, "build it and the wind will come."

(Click to read entire article)

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