The Problems Facing Wind Power

Posted by: admin on Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

T. Boone Pickens and Al Gore are right – we need self sustaining and renewable energy sources that do not harm the environment.  Pickens is doing something about it with a wind farm that is in Pampa, Texas.  He advocates strongly for wind power, and has proven that it is both viable and economically sound.

Therein lays the problem.  The wind corridor in the United States runs from the Canadian border at the Dakotas and runs down into Texas and beyond, giving a great source of renewable energy to the middle portion of the United States.  It is a great resource – if you happen to live in that area.  The problem with this plan is that it does not inform you about the difficulties of getting this source of power to the end user.  The infrastructure of the American power grid is a concept 100 years old in most areas of the country, and is not designed to move large amounts of energy from faraway places.  It is also not nationalized in the sense that each state and even the state counties regulate the energy for each specific area.  The power grid was originally designed to allow utility companies to share power to insure no blackouts or lack of energy to rural areas of the country.

Wind turbines are an exciting and realistic idea.  Areas of the country that have large wind farms, such as in Texas and the Maple Ridge wind farm in upstate New York have the capability of producing enough energy to power many of today’s large cities.  Selling excess energy back to the power grid would be a lucrative solution for parts of the country that have little less than a lot of wind.  The lessened dependence on imported oil could help ease the $700 billion dollars that are leaving American coffers and going abroad.  But with the current infrastructure, the dreams of producing wind energy are not a large reality for America.  The New York Times reports that there are 200,000 miles of transmission lines in the US, and they are owned by 500 companies.  Getting all of these companies to the table to agree on what to do is an almost insurmountable task. 

It is not as if Congress is refusing to look at this issue.  In 2005, they passed a bill that would allow the government to step in to make changes if states refused to act.  But like everything else, it met opposition from 14 Senators who felt the move was too aggressive.  In whatever light you look at this, it is going to be a struggle that I feel will be put on the back burner and not addressed.  Too bad for the American public…

The Pickens Plan is not without its detractors.  If you are ever concerned about environmental issues, you only need to go to Treehugger and get the latest dope on what is happening.  In research for this article I found that many comments on the Pickens Plan spoke to what commenting people felt was at issue.   A commenter named OSUPatriot said that Pickens is of course interested in the money angle, as any good business man would be.  Pickens wants to rent farm land in the Texas area to place his wind turbines, and OSUPatriot claims that along with land rental, Pickens would reserve mineral and oil rights to the property in question.  This commenter also states that Pickens is in the process of attempting to tap into the Ogallala aquifer and send this water source to Dallas at a hefty profit.  The area includes Southwest Kansas, the Oklahoma Panhandle, and the Texas panhandle.  Getting mineral rights to the proposed 140,000 acres for his wind farm puts Pickens in a very good position indeed.  Remember, boys and girls, that these are unsubstantiated comments from Treehugger users, and should be taken with a grain of salt.  You have to wonder though, why these comments have a ring of truth to them.  Is it just my paranoia, or do these people have information that is not entirely in the public eye?

The reality of the situation is this – the Dakotas alone can produce enough wind power to generate half the nation’s electricity from turbines.  Getting it to market is another whole new ball game.  If we are to become more energy efficient within the next ten years, as environmentalists and concerned citizens feel we must do, then sweeping reform is needed.  Let’s hope that the government makes this a reality, and also in the process a priority.



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8 Responses to “The Problems Facing Wind Power”

The Problems Facing Wind Power Says:
August 27th, 2008 at 1:15 pm

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The Problems Facing Wind Power · Says:
August 28th, 2008 at 3:52 am

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August 29th, 2008 at 6:20 am

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The perils of moving wind energy to markets — limitations of old power grids « Saint Consulting Says:
June 8th, 2009 at 10:48 am

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