December 3, 2010
Conflicting Views on Alternate Forms of Energy
Many people are starting to feel the desire to “go green” and reduce our reliance on fossil
fuels so that we may lower the rate at which carbon dioxide is being emitted into the atmosphere.
Despite this desire, the demand for electricity has increased 2% each year since 1975 (Easton
At this rate, we will double our current electricity usage in about thirty years.
wind power is perceived as non-polluting and renewable by most people, the concept has
become very popular amongst politicians and the public.
For others, wind power is “at best a
placebo” by which the power crisis will only be slightly pacified.
Stakeholders for the “yes” side
include Charles Komanoff, author of the “Whither Wind?” article from Orion magazine, the
Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), an organization trying to bridge the “not in my backyard”
gap, wind industry developers, their trade organizations, the Horizon Wind company, the
American Wind Energy Association, and the Nation Renewable Energy Lab, an agency of the
US Department of Energy.
Stakeholders for the “no” side include Jon Boone, author of “The
Wayward Wind” speech given in the near Silver Lake in New York, the Alliance to Protect
Nantucket Sound, the website “Save Upstate New York”, the group called Green Berkshires,
which argues that wind turbines are “enormously destructive to the environment”, and Bat
The issues surrounding wind power include reduced property
values, wind turbine noise, wildlife safety, efficiency, corporate tax avoidance, and climate
According to Charles Komanoff, stakeholder on the “yes” side, the energy needs of
civilization can be met without adding to global warming if people both conserve energy and
deploy large numbers of wind turbines (Easton 166).
There are also now a great number of
turbines located on farmland, where the fields around their bases are still actively farmed.
power is nothing compared to the destructiveness of fossil fuel-based power.
power is variable, it must be kept in mind that individual turbines can’t be relied on as a sole
power source, and it can’t completely retire the usage of fossil fuels.
However, this is the point
of power grids.
When the wind blows, so will the turbines, and the fossil fuel-powered plants
won’t need to run as much.
With minimal exception, wind turbines will be able to replace fossil