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Cape Wind Ready To Bring First Offshore Wind Farm

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the confident-predictions-led-to-the-big-dig-too dept.

Power 147

An anonymous reader writes "The Cape Wind Project, a wind farm of 130 turbines to be built in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Cape Cod, can finally move forward as they have been given a green light by the US Minerals Management service. Leaders from labor, civic, and environmental groups across Massachusetts and the country hailed the release of the report, as it is the final federal environmental report needed for the long delayed and much scrutinized project to finally move forward. When completed, Cape Wind will be capable of supplying up to 420 megawatts of electricity, potentially offsetting as much as a million tons of carbon emissions and saving more than 100 million gallons of oil every year. But the environment wont be the sole beneficiary of Cape Wind. It will likely be a boon to out of work Massachusetts residents, as well, given that as many as 1,000 green jobs could be brought to the Bay State in addition to a significant supply of clean, renewable energy."

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Two major roadblocks (2, Informative)

homesnatch (1089609) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552315)

The two major roadblocks were this federal report and Ted Kennedy... Ted's bloated ass is in the hospital and the federal report gives the green light.

Re:Two major roadblocks (2, Funny)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552335)

If he is in the hospital, where are they going to get the wind from?

Re:Two major roadblocks (1)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552345)

I hear Bill O'Reilly is moving to Mass. to 'bloviate'.

Re:Two major roadblocks (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552795)

A girl from Nantucket.

Re:Two major roadblocks (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#26553533)

A girl from Nantucket...

...put her sand in a bucket.
She dug and she dug,
and piled her sand high,
then said: "Don't ride with Ted Kennedy o'er a bridge,
or you will die."

Re:Two major roadblocks (2, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554375)

There once was a girl from Nantucket
Who crossed the sea in a bucket,
The wind farm was there
Chopped her head and her hair
Still Ted pulled up her dress and said "FUCK IT

Re:Two major roadblocks (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552459)

It certainly casts doubt on the two being coincidental...

Re:Two major roadblocks (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#26553165)

By a scallop's forelocks, that is odd timing!

Finally! (2)

twilightzero (244291) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552339)

There was talk of this back when I was in Boston in 2001, it's great news it's finally coming to fruition! My only concern is for the overall turbine design and aging repair costs associated with a salt water environment. Other than that I'm looking forward to seeing this go up!

Re:Finally! (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552901)

But think of all the other problems this will cause with Views from yachts and Mansions.. err. Think of the poor birds! Think of the fish! For God's sake, think of the children!

Re:Finally! (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#26554053)

"Christ what a design! I could eat a handful of iron filings and PUKE a better emergency pump than that!"

Somehow, your .sig seems remarkably appropriate for this comment. I congratulate you! Besides, I'm always ready to appreciate a quote from First Lensman, a long-forgotten classic of space opera.

Re:Finally! (2, Informative)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#26554085)

My only concern is for the overall turbine design and aging repair costs associated with a salt water environment.

The Dutch and other European countries seem to have solved this problem (though I guess only time will tell, none of these farms is very old...)

http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSL3192557920070903 [reuters.com]

Re:Finally! (1)

WuphonsReach (684551) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557321)

Define old? I know that back when I was in the Netherlands around '91, they had lots of wind farms along the shores of the Ijsselmeer. I know the Ijsselmeer is fresh-water, and I can't remember whether there were also wind turbines along the seaward end of the lake.

I'm guessing that the new bit is putting them somewhat over-the-horizon offshore, rather then close to the shoreline where they're more visible.

The Loyal Opposition (3, Informative)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552387)

If anyone wants to read what the Alliance To Save Nantucket Sound wants to say about this, it's here [saveoursound.org] .

Economics in one Lesson (5, Insightful)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552393)

Please, sweet jebus, read Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. You cannot advance an economy by moving money and jobs from the private sector to the public sector. Every dollar that goes into this project through taxpayer money is a dollar not spent on food, clothing, haircuts, etc. All those local businesses will eventually see that reduced income and be forced to downsize. With government services, the most you can hope to do in the long term is break even. There is no competitive incentive to drive the service provider toward efficiency, and so public services tend to be the least efficient out there, as well as being the most prone to corruption.

Any thing can be made to seem cheap if you subsidize it with tax money. People only look at that one thing, and not at all the other things that are negatively impacted.

Go The Fuck Away Nutcase (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26552443)

Your kind of crazy's shelf life expired January 20th,2009.

Go crawl back under you little rock with the rest of your ilk.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

bahwi (43111) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552521)

Hmm, but an unemployed person's lowered income tax(down to $0 from $0) gets spent and increases the economy? I don't see anywhere that says it's all government funded, it is run and operated by a 30-year old company though.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (2, Informative)

Punko (784684) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552625)

.... while completely ignoring the velocity of money. People employed by the govt. still buy things. Especially haircuts.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (3, Insightful)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#26553605)

while completely ignoring the velocity of money. People employed by the govt. still buy things. Especially haircuts.

I'm not sure how my federal tax dollars are getting routed to support my local barber shop. Did they solve P vs NP [wikipedia.org] ?

Fundamental to my argument is that people have a right to that which they produce. Secondary to that is that people know how best to spend the money that they earn. Those that do not earn their money - e.g. politicians - do not know how best to spend it because they did not go through the trial and error necessary to learn from mistakes. They will invariably take the shortcut of funding whatever is most convenient to them - e.g. helping a friend out (cronyism), indiscriminately trying any suggestions, or simply holding out for pork projects that will buy them another term in office. The most convenient route, it turns out, often violates the most rights, and is the least efficient option.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1, Insightful)

extrasolar (28341) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554303)

Secondary to that is that people know how best to spend the money that they earn.

A flawed premise if ever I've seen one. Find yourself a nation full of rational agents; there you can build your liberatopia.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (2, Insightful)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554873)

What you don't grasp is that whatever people spend their money on, so long as it doesn't violate the rights of others, is the best choice precisely because it was made my them, free from coercion. At best, such a transaction provides maximum benefit to both buyer and seller. At the very least, the transaction adds positive information to the market - it identifies an exchange rate where there wasn't one previously.

In contrast, forced coercion can do maximum harm to buyer and seller, and add uncertainty to the market. For example, the powers of the Federal Reserve - ie, their ability to sway the entire market with the snap of a finger - add great uncertainty to the market. Fiat, paper currency, as another example, increases market uncertainty.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

Retric (704075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26555537)

Nobody is free of coercion. Why do you think we spend so much fucking money on advertising?

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26555799)

In your world, words fly around free of meaning and context. Back in reality, words have specific meanings and context.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 5 years ago | (#26555683)

You must've missed the last 30 years or so in economics (you seem to have spent it confusing economics with ideology). People can't make the best choice, because they don't have access to perfect information about what they're buying. In fact, the people selling deliberately distort the information available to make their products seem better.

Say you bought a 500GB Seagate drive recently... that wouldn't have been the best choice.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26555815)

Please re-read my post and try to drop your central-planner mindset. Perfect information is not necessary for the best possible choices. Only complete freedom is necessary.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 5 years ago | (#26556129)

I read your post several times over. What you made is an assertion based on an ideology. Let's call that an axiom. In fact, you have now asserted that accept your argument, I have to take on a different "mindset" (i.e. I also have to accept your axiom). Of course, that should be counter to your ideology - after all, following your argument, shouldn't the mindset I choose for me be the best possible choice?

But I disagree with your axiom, that is, your ideology is not one I adhere to. Now, if you've got a sound economic principle to base this argument on instead, I may consider changing my mindset.

Economic transactions usually involve more than one participant (typically 2 participants in a simple system). They are a collective action, not an individual action - a mutual agreement must be reached. This isn't an aspect of central planning, central planning as a mindset doesn't have to come into it.

A good example is someone trading Yak butter for hunting implements. Let's say that the yak butter is very close to expiring, but the trader lies and says that it isn't (i.e. introduces imperfect information into the transaction), although previously this trader has been honest in his dealing.

The trader still gets his hunting implements, the other participant gets his yak butter, which goes off before he can get it home. The trader who received the yak butter had no way to verify the product, even though he had inspected it thoroughly. If he'd gone to the next trader who had offered less yak butter that wouldn't have gone off, he would've ended up with usable yak butter.

As you can see, imperfect information got the better of our trader and there was no central planning involved. There was no way he could have known to avoid the bad transaction, because there was no way he could have got the information (short of a lie detector) that it was a bad transaction.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26556785)

People can't make the best choice, because they don't have access to perfect information about what they're buying.

If not people, who makes the choices? I hope whatever they are, they have this perfect information you speak of.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

extrasolar (28341) | more than 5 years ago | (#26556163)

What you don't grasp is that whatever people spend their money on, so long as it doesn't violate the rights of others, is the best choice precisely because it was made my them, free from coercion.

Therefore, according to your argument, any choice made free from coercion is the best choice. Let me say that again: your proposition is that any choice made free from coercion is the best choice.

So, no matter how much thought was put into that choice, or how much experience the choice was based on, or how much knowledge the choice was based on, or what state of consciousness the choice was made in, it is, according to you, the best choice, only because it was free from coercion.

If your own proposition is starting to sound strange to you, I congratulate you and welcome you back to reality. If it doesn't, I wish you luck in finding your liberatopia.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

lumpenprole (114780) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554309)

Fundamental to my argument is that people have a right to that which they produce.

Well, you may want to check with whoever you work for. Most people don't.

Secondary to that is that people know how best to spend the money that they earn

Yeah, especially the people who run fortune 500 companies. They do great.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (4, Insightful)

Kenrod (188428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554675)

Most people exchange what they produce for money, which is almost universally exchangeable for something else of value without carrying the risk of a non-cash type of asset. The parent's point is that in a free market people exchange their work for something of value which is owned and controlled by them. People care more about that which they own than that which they do not own.

And most Fortune 500 companies do just fine in good times and bad. If you are thinking of that the banks have been mis-managed lately, think again. The banks adapted high-risk, high-return strategies because there was an implicit guarantee that the Feds would bail them out. Guess what? The Feds bailed them out. The banks would likely not have engaged in such risky behavior without the meddling of the Federal government through institutions like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and insipidly poor oversight by the SEC and Congress.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

FiniteElementalist (1073824) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554455)

Sigh, the common libertarian approach to economics is akin to saying that the understanding the simple Newtonian mechanics of objects moving in a vacuum and without friction is all you need to adequately predict all physical phenomena. It is an unfounded assumption that government is automatically inefficient for the wide variety of potential ways to spend on economic activity, and in many cases government is more efficient for handing certain things and some important matters wouldn't be properly handled at all with the absence of government. In particular government is best there for resolving "Collective Action Problems", of which there are many, where the optimum economic behavior for an individual clashes with the optimum economic behavior for a group as a whole. A good example is crime, like say theft, where you would have most benefit from stealing from someone else society will fall apart if everyone, or even simply enough people, take from each other without any respect for the rules.

The environment is a giant collective action problem which necessitates government, because while individuals may benefit more for polluting a bit more with small marginal effects, when you take that behavior across the whole population you wreck the environment and have disastrous effects on everyone such as through health problems or poor climate or weather.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1, Flamebait)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554933)

Sigh, the common libertarian approach to economics is akin to saying that the understanding the simple Newtonian mechanics of objects moving in a vacuum and without friction is all you need to adequately predict all physical phenomena.

In fact, you're completely wrong. You're stuck in the central planning frame of reference. You need a Copernican to come along and kick you out of your fixed mindset, and realize that people are all independent bodies with their own orbits (goals). They do not all have a common goal as decreed on High. People have the right to their lives, liberty, property, and the pursuit of their values. Your idiotic notion that "if only I could just be in charge of the world, surely it would work better!" assumes 1) that you have all information (omniscience), and 2) that you can fool everyone all the time (omnipotence). It is remarkable how similar the believers' appeals to God are to the Keynesians' appeals to the Government.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

FiniteElementalist (1073824) | more than 5 years ago | (#26556235)

Huh? That's a whole lot of nonsense right there. I'm not a communist nor to I ascribe to a notion that the economy should be fully centrally planned, and I'm perplexed as to how you would get that from what I wrote. It's just for some things the government is more efficient at handling them than the private sector, or the private sector simply wouldn't be able to handle them at all or operate in anything approaching the ideal free market case without government protections. A college level economics course should teach you about externalities, which are by definition side effects in the markets where individuals will not bear all the costs or benefits of their economic decisions, affecting others. You'd have to be seriously misinformed or delusional to think that externalities are a nonissue, and that a market would be able to handle them in isolation from some manner of coercion in the form of a government. Especially given that the subject of air pollution and reducing it through wind power generation is one such externality

To me the anarchistic libertarianism is just about as daft as other brands of anarchism, which is rather daft. It is an ideology that does not stand the test of reality.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

meepzorb (61992) | more than 5 years ago | (#26555455)

Fundamental to my argument is that people have a right to that which they produce.

Don't like to share? Move to a desert island: No one will tax you there. Problem solved.

We'll check back in on you in 10 years to see just how much you've "produced" all by your lonesome without any public infrastructure.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 5 years ago | (#26555635)

Two words: Imperfect information.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26556101)

Fundamental to my argument is that people have a right to that which they produce.

There's a problem with that theory. Most wealth in this country is not generated by people producing but by people leveraging money they inherited. For every dollar I earn by being innovative and earning shares in startup companies, investors who have done nothing but be born with lots of cash earn two dollars. It is the very well known and well documented "wealth condensation" principal, but in the end it boils down to "it takes money to make money". In an unregulated capitalist economy wealth consolidates into fewer and fewer hands until a small number of people control huge amounts of wealth and the masses have little or no real wealth. Usually the economy then collapses and the wealth is forcibly redistributed either by a revolution or a legal redistribution (ala the new deal).

Most countries strive for a more stable economic model where socialism takes enough money from those on top to compensate or nearly compensate for wealth condensation so the money stays distributed. Just like with the great depression, we've allowed that to slip in the US with the wealthy changing the tax laws such that they pay less than equal shares instead of the much larger than equal shares needed to stabilize the economy. Those on the bottom ran out of wealth (the bottom 50% of our country has a net worth of basically zero) and then to try to prop things up the government borrowed from foreign countries on behalf of the people (most of whom have no wealth remember) and the banks loaned the people money despite there being no realistic chance of it being paid back. Eventually, it started to fall down and we're seeing a cascading collapse unless we can stop it.

There is no mystery as to what went wrong here. People were conned into believing that the rich have a entitlement and a right to their inheritance and at the same time have no greater responsibility to society than those with no money and power. The rich used their power to make themselves richer and everyone else poorer and it is now coming to a head. What is needed is increased socialism that takes a lot of money from the very wealthy and uses it to hire out of work Americans to improve our country, our infrastructure, and our investments in research and education. We need people to feel secure in their health and their ability to live without having to sleep on the streets. Historically this is the number one thing that we can do to reduce violent crime and improve quality of living as well as revitalize the economy. Our future depends upon the wealthy and powerful realizing that eventually someone will shoot them in the head and take their wallet and that's just economics.

Alan Walters died last week (1, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552651)

Remember - the guy who wanted to privatise all the roads? Because clearly building the Interstates destroyed the US economy. And that ridiculous army you have - H****b****n would obviously do a much better job. (As you note, the police and the army must be far more inefficient and corrupt than all those contractors in Iraq).

One thing I think is funny is that every time I make a comment suggesting that right wing libertarians are less than 100% correct, it gets down modded in a few minutes, while they all whine that Slashdot has a left wing bias. But I don't care...

You obviously have never been in the military (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26552867)

Both the military and the contractors are operating with U.S. taxpayer money and inadequate accountability. Inneficiency and coruption are not exclusive to taxpayer funded operations, but private businesses with a profit motive and a need to compete for customers are at least motivated to please _some_ customers. The military and contractors please nobody.

Furthermore, I have th choice of not funding businesses who want my custom, but the government takes my tax contibutions under the explicit threat of violence and improsonment and then used my taxes to act anauccountably in Iraq. If the governemnt didn't have my tax money, they couldn't use it immorally.

You obviously have never been in the military if you think the military ever does anything efficiently.

Re:You obviously have never been in the military (2, Insightful)

Rycross (836649) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552949)

I've never been in the military, but I was in a military family and did odd jobs for them for summer employment. I've also worked at a taxpayer funded institution and private companies. My experience is that government work is not appreciably less efficient than private businesses.

I used to think otherwise, until I saw how hilariously inefficient most businesses are.

Re:You obviously have never been in the military (3, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#26553135)

The military is still the most efficient employer I've ever had.

I think the military's increasing dependency on inefficient civilian contractors is what's causing problems. I remember in basic training we had certain administrative briefings done by this guy who bragged about leaving the military only to come back making 30 dollars an hour when they could have just used an E-3 or E-4. Many lower-level tech instructors joked about the same thing.

And then you have places like Blackwater -- if being a glorified security guard(though much more demanding than working for DHS) is your thing then you can make around 350,000 a year, though I hope to see that kind of excess come to an end very soon.

Re:Alan Walters died last week (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26553425)

There is an element of disbelief every time I see someone describing libertarians as right wing.

This is the sex-drugs-rock-and-roll party, right? The ones who think what's in your own bedroom is your own business, what's in your own bloodstream is your own business, and the dirty words in the music you favour is your own business?

We must have radically different definitions of right wing. They don't even match the description of political conservatism - slow, cautious, incremental changes. ... and while they might not be in favour of big government, most of them seem to think that emergency services and national defence are actually some of the few things which government can and should do.

I do think that they're a bit off the wall with their idea of founding their policies in morality (whose morality according to which code is the part they never clarify), but let's not paint them as something they aren't.

Re:Alan Walters died last week (0)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#26553695)

Because clearly building the Interstates destroyed the US economy.

Nice fallacy. Can I sell you some tiger repellent [godofthemachine.com] ?

And that ridiculous army you have Who is opposed to the army? The military is necessary to uphold and protect individual rights. Way to apply things out of context!

Re:Alan Walters died last week (2, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554895)

But with this we get the worst of both worlds... It's paid for with public dollars, but 100% of the ownership, and 100% of the profit go to a private sector owner (Cape Wind).

Don't let the propaganda fool you. The opposition to this project about who was, and who was, and who wasn't getting a cut of that money. The links in this summary only point to one side of the story. Good luck finding a single word on the Cape Wind site about where the funding is coming from.

They Still Need to Employ People To Build/Maintain (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26552675)

Please, sweet jebus, read Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. You cannot advance an economy by moving money and jobs from the private sector to the public sector. Every dollar that goes into this project through taxpayer money is a dollar not spent on food, clothing, haircuts, etc. All those local businesses will eventually see that reduced income and be forced to downsize. With government services, the most you can hope to do in the long term is break even. There is no competitive incentive to drive the service provider toward efficiency, and so public services tend to be the least efficient out there, as well as being the most prone to corruption. Any thing can be made to seem cheap if you subsidize it with tax money. People only look at that one thing, and not at all the other things that are negatively impacted.

Oh thank you for the Economics 101 lesson, I needed it so dearly. Could you please explain to me how they plan to build these windmills? They will probably be imported from Turkey, right? Not a red cent will be spent on local people or bring local jobs?

My dad poured cement for the foundations of about a hundred windmills on Buffalo Ridge in Minnesota. Oh, but the project was government subsidized so ... well, I hate to break it to you but he was still paid. He still bought food for our family with that money. It wasn't magic money that flew away to China once the government spent it on something. Nor do I expect this windmill project to be entirely outsourced to another state or country. This creates jobs which in turn gives the local folk money to be "spent on food, clothing, haircuts, etc."

Your explanation is no better than my explanation which looks a very complicated situation with many complex irrational variables in a paragraph of two year old logic. Get real.

I generally don't like subsidizing anything but your argument is a fallacy and I will pass on your suggestion of reading that book.

Re:They Still Need to Employ People To Build/Maint (4, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552999)

The biggest problem with this argument is that it's completely inaccurate. Its not being paid for with taxpayer money... now. It's being paid for with taxpayer money a couple years from now, plus a couple years worth of interest. The extra things that people are buying with their salaries from this are not coming at the cost to someone else *now*.

That may seem like a trivial distinction, but if that raises consumer confidence and restores the US (and world) economy even just a little bit sooner, then it's absolutely a good thing. Plus, unlike the other oft cited case of this (war spending), we actually get something out of it other than craters and rubble -- in this case, wind turbines.

Re:They Still Need to Employ People To Build/Maint (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#26555429)

But if the government is doing all sorts of borrowing, then they're competing with all the other people who would like to borrow, and that does impact the economy. It raises the (real) cost of borrowing money. And, especially in today's economic climate, where it is so very difficult to borrow money and government bonds are nice and safe (... well, by comparison ...) it's a real drain on economic growth - how much is hard to gauge exactly, but it's still a very real effect.

Re:They Still Need to Employ People To Build/Maint (2, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26556787)

People aren't loaning because there's physically no money left. People aren't loaning because they can't tolerate the risk, especially when we just went through a crisis where our risk models catastrophically failed. The safest entity on the planet to loan to is the government of a superpower.

Re:They Still Need to Employ People To Build/Maint (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#26553061)

Note: When I said "this argument", I meant the GP's, not yours.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (4, Insightful)

Rycross (836649) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552899)

How would the private sector fund, build, and run a wind farm? They'd pool capital from a group of people and pay that money out to local businesses to build the wind farm, then operate it with their own employees and charge for the electricity.

How would the government do it? They'd collect taxes from citizens (in other words, pool capital from a group of people) and pay money out to local businesses to build the wind farm. It may be operated by their own employees, and they'd likely still charge for the electricity.

The only thing that changed is that the group of investors changes from a small group of people taking a risk with their own money to a large group of people collectively (via proxy) to pool their money to get a service. Government is not some magical entity that springs forth from the nether, nor is it some evil bile-dripping monstrosity. Government is simply the people working together, either literally or by proxy, to accomplish some social goal not being satisfied elsewhere.

The way the money flows through the economy doesn't change just because you call it government instead of corporation.
All those private companies and their employees are still going to be payed, and they're still going to contribute to the local economy. The only difference is that the risk and reward is socialized, rather than owned privately. The people obviously demanded it, and since no private company stepped up to the plate, they decided to handle it themselves.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (3, Insightful)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 4 years ago | (#26553021)

And the people get one opportunity every election to toss out malingerers, incompetents, and hacks. Good luck if your pet issue isn't the one that happens to be hot that year. Businesses have to answer to the customer EVERY DAMN DAY. People who fail to notice this difference are arguing about strawmen.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (2, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#26553123)

So, if I were in the private industry today and wanted to turn our patchwork of local electric grids into an actually coherent national system so it wouldn't be so gorram unreliable, unable to handle localized variable sources, and unable to tell less important consumption to shut off rather than take down the whole grid with it, how would I go about doing that? Who do I turn to in order to loan me the tens of billions of dollars needed to make it a success?

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26556839)

Who do I turn to in order to loan me the tens of billions of dollars needed to make it a success?

The Department of Energy will give you a long-term low-interest loan to do that I believe. They're giving Tesla Motors just that very kind of loan in the next 2-6 months.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557169)

I'm sure Tesla Motors would be surprised to learn that they have many tens of billions of dollars coming to them to rebuild the grid. And why are you bringing up federal loans earmarked to make up for shortfalls in the private industry when it comes to the advancement of technology to defend private industry anyways?

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557181)

I'm sure Tesla Motors would be surprised to learn that they have many tens of billions of dollars coming to them to rebuild the grid. And why are you bringing up federal loans earmarked to make up for shortfalls in the private industry when it comes to the advancement of technology to defend private industry anyways?

I'm simply saying that the Department of Energy is more than interested in not only vehicle electrification, but also intelligent electrical infrastructure and a diversified renewable energy portfolio. So, if they're going to folk out $400M to Tesla, I'm sure they can scrap together a grant or loan for an individual or small business to work on technology/protocols/etc. for building intelligence into the national electrical transmission/distribution system.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (3, Insightful)

Rycross (836649) | more than 4 years ago | (#26553197)

Companies will only answer to the customer if it becomes a hot issue too. Do you think Comcast gave a shit when my internet connection wasn't working? Given that they refused to fix it for a month, they sure didn't seem to. Any sufficiently large company is not going to care about their customers unless those customers collectively make them. In other words, unless it becomes a hot-issue and they are in danger of losing a lot of them. Like a politician. You're also ignoring the fact that even though election comes up only periodically, they have to keep their constituents happy pretty much over the entire term. Polls matter.

Now, I'm not saying its exactly the same. Thats a strawman. What I was getting at is that the flow of money is similar enough that the argument of government being a black hole is silly. But to claim that companies are accountable and government is unaccountable is blatantly false. Companies are far less accountable than you think, and governments significantly more.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (4, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#26553209)

Businesses have to answer to the customer EVERY DAMN DAY.

That's the most persistent illusion about business responsibilities in this sad sad world, and probably the primary source of dissonance between business theory and practice.

Large businesses have to answer to the shareholder. Every quarter. And they have to pacify, mislead, or (if large and predatory enough) ignore the customer. Continually. While spending a relative (and relatively effective) pittance on PR and marketing, to cover the fact that the customer is the least important participant in the process.

In this latter fact, they share uncomfortable resemblance to the "public sector."

they don't even really answer to the shareholder (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554493)

There's been a decades-long fight by activist shareholders to try to get corporations to actually answer to the shareholders. Especially in very large corporations with dilute control, it's not clear who management actually does answer to, if anyone. Perhaps the board, but then the boards are so terribly intermingled with management and between companies that they hardly constitute an effective advocate for the shareholder.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (3, Insightful)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 4 years ago | (#26554183)

I can't help but notice that you're completely overlooking the main difference, which is that the private sector can only pool money from those who choose voluntarily to participate, whereas the taxes which fund government projects are extracted from supporters and detractors alike. This is no trivial matter; refusing to address it undermines your entire case.

If it were just a matter of "people working together ... to accomplish some social goal" a simple (private-sector) non-profit organization would suffice. The only reason to turn the project over to the government is to impose involuntary costs and/or regulations on those with a lesser degree of political influence, so that some can benefit at others' expense.

depends on what you mean by voluntary (2, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554509)

A lot of modern business is predicated on coercion, though you're correct in that it's less coercive than actually, 100% forcing you to pay them. Usually, it's by manipulating markets so that you're limited to a choice of paying them or going entirely without the service, sometimes even forcing you to go without vaguely related services if you opt out. For example, the infamous "Microsoft tax" is an effective use of market power by Microsoft to coerce consumers into purchasing Microsoft products whether they want them or not, by requiring OEMs to bundle them with new PCs. The consumer still has the choice not to buy PCs from OEMs at all, but they don't have the choice to simply not buy the Microsoft product.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (3, Interesting)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554679)

I can't help but notice that you're completely overlooking the main difference, which is that the private sector can only pool money from those who choose voluntarily to participate, whereas the taxes which fund government projects are extracted from supporters and detractors alike. This is no trivial matter; refusing to address it undermines your entire case.

That's exactly the benefit of government funding, that private investors only want investments that provide instant, guaranteed big profits, and aren't willing to invest in long-term projects.

Another upside of government investment is that they can invest in things that benefit society as a whole, whereas private investors are only interested in investments that benefit themselves, personally. The tragedy of the commons sums up the failure of capitalism, and why socialism is so important. People working together for the benefit of all achieve more than people trying to better themselves even if it fucks over everyone.

The only reason to turn the project over to the government is to impose involuntary costs and/or regulations on those with a lesser degree of political influence, so that some can benefit at others' expense.

Everyone benefits from reduced carbon emissions.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (2, Insightful)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26555039)

Argument from incredulity [skepticwiki.org] . Your argument is quite similar to those used by creationists to argue that certain biological mechanisms could not possibly have arisen via evolution, and therefore evolution is wrong. Your faulty presumption is that wind farms should exist because you want them to exist. If you want them to exist, you should fund their creation, or persuade your friends, family, neighbors, etc, to fund their creation. What you should not do is force everyone to fund what you think is right. Whether or not wind farms should exist is up to people to freely decide.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 5 years ago | (#26556613)

No, that's a strawman. I never said that private companies couldn't build a wind farm, and I never said that I couldn't imagine that they would. What I said is that a company isn't stepping up and building a wind farm.

And yes, I could convince friends, family, and neighbors to build a wind farm... except none of us have the capital to do so. So what can we do? Well, we can get together with everyone and agree that we pool our money for some projects that benefit us all. Maybe we disagree on what. OK, so lets compromise and put it to a vote. Well hey, that's government!

Our founding fathers were against taxation without representation, not taxation altogether. The entire reason that they made the constitution was because the government established by the Articles of Confederation was too weak and underfunded. A libertarian's wet dream, sure, but apparently it didn't work so well.

To portray it as forcing is an appeal to emotion. You have a vote, and you have a voice in how your tax money is used. No, it doesn't get used completely on things that benefit you. That's compromise. You can move to another state or another country if you disagree - you have that freedom. You can also voice your opinion and try to change my mind - that's politics.

But go ahead and try to make people feel bad for not wanting to have a race to the bottom in selfish greed. I'm sure that strategy is really working out for you.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26552909)

Please, sweet jebus, read Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. You cannot advance an economy by moving money and jobs from the private sector to the public sector. Every dollar that goes into this project through taxpayer money is a dollar not spent on food, clothing, haircuts, etc.

CapeWind [capewind.org] is a private company.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26553353)

"Beware the man who has read one book"
- Anonymous

I think Stalin would disagree with you, Captain Capitalism. In fact, I think most thinking people would scoff at the idea that there is a single formula that applies to all situations, no matter what field you're talking about.

Every dollar taxed for this project is being spent, obviously, so those tax dollars which were diverted from haircuts are being put into labour and equipment (which in turn requires labour). Those labourers aren't hippies, so they'll get their hair cut... need I go on?

The only issue you can really bring up is the question of efficiency... and yes, government is notorious for lacking it. But at this scale - half a gigawatt - government is often the only player that can foot the bill. And when it's not government, it's often quasi-monopolies (eg private companies formed out of former public utilities), where the same questions exist.

It's even fairly widely accepted that government is better for this sort of utility work - the nature of the business encourages monopolies (look up 'natural monopoly'), and the government doesn't have a profit motive. So the question, in the end, becomes one of choosing inefficiency over price gouging. And, given the long and successful (at least in terms of quality-of-service) of public utilities, I'll suggest that this project is just peachy.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (0)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 4 years ago | (#26553587)

Ah, the false dichotomy! The government has a magical ability when it comes to spending money and that ability is to borrow money with almost no limit. Instead of taking dollars out of the private sector, the government can borrow from other countries to finance the project and then back them back later when the project pays off.

Who said this was about the economy? (1)

extrasolar (28341) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554273)

It's about national security stupid. It means we're less dependent on OPEC and the King of Saudi Arabia. And, yeah, the cost of energy will probably decline somewhat too, but that's a perk.

But I disagree with the offsetting argument. The demand for energy is just going to go up to meet the increasing supply.

Re:Economics in one Lesson (1)

McBeer (714119) | more than 5 years ago | (#26555025)

Please, sweet jebus, read Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt.

Yes. Lets read another book promoting a fringe school of economics that, after being around for over 100 years, is still without any sort of rigorous mathematical basis nor even supported by any imperical testing [wikipedia.org] . Ron Paul believes in it, so it must be the glorious truth.

Misnomer? (2, Interesting)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552409)

Is it just me or is "wind farm" a misnomer? I always thought of "farm" as production. "Wind farm" makes it sound like they're producing wind. Which is obviously hogwash. Producing electricity, sure, but they didn't call it an "electricity farm."

Re:Misnomer? (2, Funny)

space_jake (687452) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552553)

Wind mooch?

it's just you (2, Funny)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552633)

Is it just me or is "wind farm" a misnomer? I always thought of "farm" as production. "Wind farm" makes it sound like they're producing wind. Which is obviously hogwash. Producing electricity, sure, but they didn't call it an "electricity farm."

dirt farm

-noun
a tract of land on which a dirt farmer works.

Re:Misnomer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26552637)

Because they're "harvesting" the wind.

Energy Companies (1)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552433)

I know that N*Star [nstaronline.com] already provides an option in Mass. of getting your energy from wind turbines for a smaller fee. I just hope other companies follow suit.

Usually all it takes . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26552461)

Sadly, when NIMBY is involved (as it was in this case), usually all it takes is a well-placed funeral (or the equivalent) to move the decision to finality.

In related news... (3, Informative)

ruin20 (1242396) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552469)

seagull populations decrease as biologists note heavy shark populations near turbines.

think I'm joking right? [treehugger.com]

there's already a lawsuit [wired.com]

1300 raptors are killed annually. Among them are 70 golden eagles that are federally protected. In total, 4700 birds are killed annually. [wikipedia.org]

although I'm sure these are a little better planned out then they're predecessors I still haven't heard anyone talk about this in a long while.

Re:In related news... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26552777)

More birds are killed by #1 Buildings/bridges/antennas/etc,#2 Cats, #3 Cars, #4 Planes (flight 1549?) than by Wind Turbines, by more than an order of magnitude. Wind turbines represent less than 1% of human caused bird/bat kills. http://www.awea.org/faq/wwt_environment.html#Bird%20and%20bat%20kills%20and%20other%20effects.
Also,the golden eagles should be ok with this one since they don't hang out miles from shore.

Re:In related news... (3, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 4 years ago | (#26553055)

I think comparing the number of kills by bridges/buildings/antennas to the number of kills by Wind Turbines is a bit unfair bridges/buildings/antennas outnumber turbines by well over an order of magnitude... The bridges/etc. are stationary objects, where as the turbine blades can move quite fast especially at the tips. Another reason comparing kills might problematic.

The concept gets interesting when you consider we're going to have to build many many many more turbines to make a sizeable dent in our energy demand.

I'm all in favor of the turbines, but some concerns can be valid if properly voiced too.

Re:In related news... (5, Informative)

Crazy Man on Fire (153457) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552849)

What you forgot to mention is the wind farm you're talking about was built over 30 years ago and uses outdated technology. The multitude of smaller turbines turn faster and are much more dangerous to birds than today's larger, more efficient, and slower turning turbines. In fact, the older turbines are being slowly replaced with newer ones to produce more electricity for less money while also killing fewer birds.

From the Wikipedia article you linked [wikipedia.org] :

Considered largely obsolete, these numerous small turbines are being gradually replaced with much larger and more cost-effective units. The small turbines are dangerous to various raptors that hunt California Ground Squirrels in the area. 1300 raptors are killed annually. Among them are 70 golden eagles that are federally protected. In total, 4700 birds are killed annually.[2] The larger units turn more slowly and, being elevated higher, are less hazardous to the local wildlife.

Re:In related news... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26552941)

You wrote "although I'm sure these are a little better planned out then they're predecessors I still haven't heard anyone talk about this in a long while"

    The reason you haven't heard about it is that it truly isn't a real problem anymore. Generally, when you read about wind turbines and bird kills, you are reading about the Altamont pass. Indeed, most of your own links are references to Altamont. Altamont has about 5000 turbines of about .1 megawatt each. The smaller the turbine, the faster it spins, so these spin pretty quickly.

    In contrast, modern turbines are _MUCH_ larger. The CapeWind project will be using 3.25 megawatt turbines. Yep, thats 32 times larger than the altamont turbines. So, there will be 32 times fewer blades to hit birds. Those blades will be much larger, so the birds will have an easy time seeing them. The blades will also be moving much slower, so the birds will have a much easier time avoiding them.

    I would expect the bird kill of the Cape Wind project to be hundreds of times less than Altamont. Indeed, one pet cat (just the one) might kill more birds in some years than the entire Cape Wind will kill.

Re:In related news... (1)

Facetious (710885) | more than 4 years ago | (#26553145)

"seagull populations decrease..."

I was indifferent to wind generation before, but now I'm all for it. Are you aware of anything that could kill crows?

Re:In related news... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554439)

I dunno but if they could kill crows, I'd be in support of it as well. There's so many here that several of the 200+yr old maple trees were black from the lowest to the highest branches, and they're becoming a nuisance everywhere.

I keep wishing they'd bring back the bounty.

Re:In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26553157)

Only 4700 annually? That's nothing.

Re:In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26553341)

"seagull populations decrease as biologists note heavy shark populations near turbines.

think I'm joking right? [treehugger.com] "

Seagull populations overall are fairly safe sharks are in a severe decline, win win.

Re:In related news... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26554447)

I would love to see statistics on how many insects are killed just by driving your car to work.
How many microorganisms do you kill when you wash your hands?
I'm sure your car kills more insects in a week than all the birds all turbines kill in a year. Don't hear anyone defending those poor flies in your grill. They're living things too!

Re:In related news... (1)

peas_n_carrots (1025360) | more than 5 years ago | (#26557201)

"seagull populations decrease..." Let's consider the alternative of not building wind farms. Global climate change left unchecked would result in massive population declines far greater than a minority of seagulls & sharks killed. Everything's a tradeoff, and windfarms are well worthwhile.

And yes, the term "wind farms" make sense, they're harvesting the wind. Just as cow farms "grow & harvest" cows.

Rich democrats and their mansions... (2, Interesting)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552527)

Full disclosure: I am a libertarian with pro-environmental views and a penchant for cool tech like wind power.

On one hand, the rich Kenedy's [boston.com] of the world don't want their beautiful ocean views ruined by wind mills. Bunch of arrogant, rich, hypocrites that I feel pretty much sums up the Democrats.

On the other hand, how pissed would I be if someone installed that shit in my local national/state parks?

We have to ruin all natural areas? Nothing is sacred? We whine when Bush's DOI let exploratory gas drilling in some beautiful areas [sacredland.org] ....I whined too. But does wind get a free pass?

Here's a case where I actually agree with both sides. We need clean energy, and we need pristine natural areas. Build these mufuckin wind farms in farmland.

Re:Rich democrats and their mansions... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26552841)

"I am a libertarian"

Here's a bit of advice. Leave that admission off your posts. You are essentially letting everyone know you're an idiot and to not waste time even bothering with whatever inane and juvenile ramblings you are about to post.

Re:Rich democrats and their mansions... (1)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552855)

Here's a case where I actually agree with both sides. We need clean energy, and we need pristine natural areas. Build these mufuckin wind farms in farmland.

It's most efficient to build wind farms where there is wind [windpoweringamerica.gov] . Offshore areas tend to be ideal. I personally think offshore wind farms are aesthetically no worse than offshore oil rigs.

Re:Rich democrats and their mansions... (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 4 years ago | (#26553129)

in thinking about 'natural areas', consider the wind farms will be 'creating' new natural areas in the form of the pilings in the water. Ocean life is always attracted to them, barnacles and reef type micro organisms, smaller fish to feed on the micro's and for protection, larger fish for dining on the smaller fish, etc..

I'd say it's fair to say that windmills have a significantly smaller environmental impact than oil production facilities. Once they are up, they don't do anything except sit there and spin...oil rigs continue to produce waste and always have the possibility of an oil spill. the windmill's worse case is it falls over.

Re:Rich democrats and their mansions... (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#26553173)

Once they are up, they don't do anything except sit there and...

...chop up birds.

Re:Rich democrats and their mansions... (1)

SIR_Taco (467460) | more than 4 years ago | (#26554201)

Paraphrased as:
Burning oil is bad, man!
We need alternatives, man!
Wind energy is the way to go, man... whatever you do though, don't put it in my back yard!

Fuck that hypocritical hippy bullshit! Either you support these turbines or you don't. There is no 'yeah they're great, they should be everywhere, but....'
 

Re:Rich democrats and their mansions... (1)

Beltonius (960316) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554269)

I don't really get why everyone finds these wind farms so objectionable aesthetically. They're not built on the beach, but 4-11 miles offshore [wikipedia.org] . I personally think they look nice and even have some kind of "Zen" quality to them (there are a bunch of turbines being put up in Central PA that I drive past semi-regularly on the turnpike).

If they were painted bright colors or had all kind of flashing lights on them, I could see a better argument against them from a "ruining the view" perspective.

Most of the time I've been to the Cape it's been overcast and very gray overall...the white painted turbines wouldn't even stand out from the ocean and sky too much.

People like to protest everything. I've been to town meetings where people have simultaneously complained about the "radiation" from cell phone towers as a reason to block their construction in town and then complaining about how cell reception sucks everywhere in the town.

If the lawsuits against the wind farm won, the same people would turn around and protest the nuclear or fossil fueled plan built to produce the 170 MW that the windfarm will produce on average.

What about the one in denmark? (2, Informative)

lyberth (319170) | more than 4 years ago | (#26552871)

So the fact that there has been one in denmark for quite some time doesnt count or what?
http://www.hornsrev.dk/index.en.html

Can probably save as much oil cheaper....... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26552989)

and with less dead birds just by subsidizing a real mass transit system for the city of Atlanta.

Daily Show (1)

erbbysam (964606) | more than 4 years ago | (#26553557)

Re:Daily Show (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26555179)

mod parent up. What this crap is really about.

Renewable energy ? yeah ! sure ! (0)

ivan_w (1115485) | more than 5 years ago | (#26554667)

There is no such thing as renewable energy !

Usable energy sources basically comes in 3 forms : Nuclear fusion, nuclear fission and kinetic energy.. and all of them are just transformation of mass into energy.

Oil & coal is nothing more than stored energy from the sun's nuclear fusion. (the result of the high pressure decay of photosynthesizing organisms).

Wind energy is just grabbing the energy from the sun's nuclear fusion power & earth' momentum.. Tide generators are solely tapping into the leftover kinetic energy from earth' spin, the moon's movement around earth & earth movement around the sun..

Geothermal energy is just tapping into earth' radioactive decay energy (which thanks to earth' interior's fairly adiabatic environment means it's being kept in store for a long time).

So..

What do they mean by "renewable energy ?"

(and I'm not going to go into the "No CO2" ads I've seen recently which - were they ever successful - would mean the end of all photosynthesizing organisms on earth - since they would be depleted of one of their food!).

--Ivan

They are two different words: wont and won't (1)

tantlerur (102744) | more than 5 years ago | (#26556571)

won't |wÅnt|
contraction of
will not.

wont |wÃnt; wÅnt|
adjective [ predic. ] poetic/literary
(of a person) in the habit of doing something; accustomed : he was wont to arise at 5:30 every morning.

The Real Man From Nantucket (1)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26556939)

There once was a man from Nantucket Whose dick was so long he could suck it He said with a grin As he wiped off his chin If my ear were a cunt I would fuck it!
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