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Conflicting Views on Alternate Forms of Energy

Conflicting Views on Alternate Forms of Energy - Richard...

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Richard Germade-Craan December 3, 2010 Geology 1100 Conflicting Views on Alternate Forms of Energy Wind Power 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 177). At this rate, we will double our current electricity usage in about thirty years. Because 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 Conservation International. The issues surrounding wind power include reduced property values, wind turbine noise, wildlife safety, efficiency, corporate tax avoidance, and climate change. 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. Wind power is nothing compared to the destructiveness of fossil fuel-based power. Because wind 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
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Richard Germade-Craan December 3, 2010 Geology 1100 fuel burning one for one. For Komanoff, when he visited the 120 turbine wind farm, the sight of the turning blades was deeply pleasing. The sleek, white structure struck him as graceful and marvelously useful (Easton 172). Komanoff also brought his decibel reader, and recorded between 64 and 45 decibels- the average noise range given for a small town residential cul-de- sac on standard noise charts (Easton 172). Wind turbines signify the displacement of destructive fossil fuels and the acceptance of the conditions of inhabiting the Earth.
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