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Alternative Energy Confusion

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the nuclear-energy-needed dept.

Power 558

pcnetworx1 writes "New York State is starting to get crunched for electricity. While other states may just say 'pop a couple more coal/oil/natural gas/nuclear power plants down', NY has decided to take the green route. NY State wants to get more power by strategically placing windmill powerplants in upstate NY to help the grid. While getting a dedicated power plant placed on your property for FREE (and being paid $3,000 a year per tower) may sounds good to some Slashdotters, the citizens in upstate NY still need some education in the safety of alternative energy."

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558 comments

not fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473868)

gdsahfsd

Confused about confusion? (4, Funny)

jollyroger1210 (933226) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473872)

Where is the confusion in this article?

And, is there a limit to the numer of towers one can have (to prevent "tower-whoring")?

Re:Confused about confusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473881)

It might have something to do with the people claiming to have strokes and excess menstrual cycles from them. Or maybe the people comparing the towers noise to the Nazi's torturing Jews.
  I would say there is a little confusion.

Re:Confused about confusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473884)

I imagine.. they are self-limiting.

distracting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473958)

I don't know about the confusion part but the windmills can be distracting. In California there are a couple places where windmills are close to major highways. It is really distracting when you are trying to focus on traffic while driving between giant spinning blades.

Re:distracting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473977)

I image so. The only way to be "between [the] giant spinning blades" is if your car was a hundred feet up in the air!! That would certainly make it hard to focus on driving!

Re:distracting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14474032)

Next time you go driving have someone wave their hands in your peripheral vision and see how you like it.

Re:distracting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14474097)

Are you kidding? Every time I go over 80 MPH I get hands waving in the air, and yelling in my ear for that matter, because my wife is telling to to "Fucing slow down, you dangerous freak"... Of course she was attracted to me because I was dangerous.

Re:Confused about confusion? (1)

Nimloth (704789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473994)

And, is there a limit to the numer of towers one can have (to prevent "tower-whoring")?
Well I'm guessing the "strategically placed" in the blurb doesn't refer to "first come first served" way of doing things...

Re:Confused about confusion? (0)

rcashby (945996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474116)

It is not that people are so stupid they cannot see the benefit of said power, it is only that these people have lived in these areas for decades, their families for centuries, and they don't want to ruin their quality of life to benefit no one in their community. Find rural areas where no one lives and place these windmills on vast tracts of federal or state land. That is the only way.

What "Safety Issues"? (2, Interesting)

d474 (695126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473876)

I hope you aren't talking about birds. But then again, how would I know what you are talking about, you didn't mention it!

Use less energy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473877)

Why don't folks just use less energy? I mean, come on. Unneeded outside lighting, all the lights on inside, monitors left on all night long at work. People need to conserve energy a lot more than they need to start producing more of it.

Re:Use less energy (5, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473905)

It's basically a tragedy of the commons situation. Even if it is metered, electricity is so widely available and so relatively cheap that the people there have very little incentive to make efficient use of it.

Of course, that situation may very well change, if they do not get their act together. Then, like any other scarce resource, electricity will become very wisely efficiently allocated by the market.

Re:Use less energy (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473927)

"Why don't folks just use less energy?"

You start - turn off your computer.

Re:Use less energy (1)

name773 (696972) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473933)

it's been tried, but even though you have PSAs about saving power, consumption is still high.

besides, the method they're trying creates jobs :)

Re:Use less energy (1)

jollyroger1210 (933226) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473973)

"The method their trying creates jobs"

Its not really what I woud call a job, but hey, money's money.

Re:Use less energy (1)

TheGavster (774657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474015)

The government giving money away to citizens who do certain things (or don't, as the case may be) isn't a job; it's actually an anti-job, as some poor schmuck out there has to pay the taxes to support the payout, lessening the benefit he reaps from working (bringing him nearer the point where pulling out of the economy is a tempting option). Increasing the deployment of windmills, however, does provide jobs in the construction, deployment, and maintenance of the towers, along with creating a demand for designers who can make cheaper/safer/more efficient windmills.

Re:Use less energy (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474059)

Why don't folks just use less energy? I mean, come on.

We are talking New York here. Buffalo. Northern winters. Gray and cold. Morale sinks when the lights are dimmed.

Re:Use less energy (1)

goodcow (654816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474092)

I actually wonder this whenever I walk past a bank on my way home which has all its tvs left on 24/7.

The birds man what about the birds? (2, Funny)

DocUi (697881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473882)

Because you know don't you that the bird population of Upstate New York will suffer huge culls! Oh, and babies will also start speaking in tongues, and, oh, who knows, the world might end.

Stupidity knows no bounds.

Damn Liberals... (0, Troll)

llthomps (470748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473883)

More Social Welfare. Unbelievable!

Legalities will be the downfall of America? (5, Interesting)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473893)

I noticed this gem in the article:

"So I guess my final question is: Who do I sue if I have any health problems or my property value decreases because of this project?" asked Patricia Oakes, a Hartsville, New York, resident at a recent meeting.

Innovation and a solid legal system were some of the key ingredients that allowed America to become the most powerful nation on earth during the past half-century or so. Unfortunately, innovation is often at odds with tort law, as shown perfectly by the comment above.

With increasing competition from Europe, Japan, China, India, and other areas and nations, America will have to make a choice. They can choose to continue innovating, and perhaps maintain a lead over other nations. Otherwise, they can choose to let legalities unnecessarily interfere with progress, and they will fall behind those countries who aren't bogged down with pointless and greed-driven lawsuits.

Re:Legalities will be the downfall of America? (0, Flamebait)

gutnor (872759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474081)

There is a big difference in Europe:

Who do I sue if I have any health problems ...

would have been phrased

What can I do if I have any health problems ...

We don't have the 'sue them all' mentality here in Europe but that doesn't mean that the legal system is more innovation friendly or that people are happy having a giant 'festivus pole'-like innovation sitting in their backyard. I presume the same apply more or less for every developped country.

Of course innovation is a lot simpler in China where basically if something bad happen, the goverment just outlaw talking about the problem and if its really really bad, google will be happy to remove this area from the google map while yahoo/microsoft publish the name and address of uncooperative journalists ...

Generally speaking most goverments of those innovation happy countries don't seem to care a lot about the well being of their human "stock" if not directly threatened to do so. And in term of innovation, when they don't focus on selling thing we already produce back to us and they rather try to replicate our greatest "achievements" : massive gaz emmisions, 1 car/person, destruction of ecosystems, atomic bombs, ...

Re:Legalities will be the downfall of America? (3, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474099)

America will have to make a choice. They can choose to continue innovating, and perhaps maintain a lead over other nations.
The choice was made some time ago - look at the state of the patent system and the decline in private and government research.

One example I saw a few years ago when I still did things in materials science was presentations from researchers from the USA and Japan in the lucrative feild of artificial body joints. The Japanese reasearcher had decent funding in a project with limited chance of a financial payoff (remember that the Japanese are supposed to only copy and not innovate) while the US researcher with a proven background couldn't get the funding for a single person to develop better designs of a flawed product that makes millions per year but would sell more if it was improved. If your design has made billions for the company due to solid research you would normally expect the company to put a bit more money in for billions in the future instead of sitting on their patents.

Re:Legalities will be the downfall of America? (2, Interesting)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474117)

Well, to be honest, we should be using nuclear power anyway. It's very clean by relation to most currently available solutions. An interesting advocate of this, simply because, well, I like his computer science work, is Professor John McCarthy [stanford.edu] . Opponents of nuclear power would do well to read it.

Things change (4, Insightful)

ThatGeek (874983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473894)

When the Eiffel Tower first went up [wikipedia.org] , people said it was an eyesore and demanded that it be removed. Who wanted to live near a bunch of scaffolding? No doubt, they argued, it would destroy the character of the city and destroy property values. Now we can't imagine the city without it.

I think that once this farm is built, people will discover they like lower taxes and cleaner air. I suspect that the "science" mentioned in the article is mere pseudo-science anyway. I have no idea how a bunch of rotating blades could do as much damage to the human body as the fumes from coal and oil burning. (Note: I assume the human body does not actually come into contact with the blades)

not a very good analogy (2, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473941)

If there were 500 Eiffel towers dotting Paris, people might be less happy about them than they are about the one.

Re:a very good analogy (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474115)

Generating tourism isn't dependent on there being 500 of them though. With wind towers, the more the merrier the people will be since they can run more stuff on the grid. After all, who likes rolling blackouts over unlimited air conditioning?

Re:Things change (2, Interesting)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474006)

Why not nuclear? Half the cost per megawatt than wind, doesn't kill any birds, and doesn't pollute like coal and natural gas.

Re:Things change (1)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474020)

people will discover they like lower taxes

I absolutely guarantee you that New Yorkers (or anyone else in the NE for that matter) will NOT see lower taxes because of this, or anything else, anytime soon. RTFA . . . they're talking about increased tax revenue in rural counties, not reducing the tax rates. Counties in NY, MA, MD, CT and elsewhere which are currently flush with cash because of property taxes aren't reducing tax rates or paying back a dividend . . . why would you expect this to be any different?

Additionally, some people who live in the "country" (rural areas) genuinely want to see NOTHING but farm land . . . no man-made structures of any type save rustic 100+ year old barns etc. While I agree that these wind farms may certainly make sense from a financial and green power standpoint, it's going to be a harder sell to folks who really think of it as a destruction of pristine green space.

Pseudoscience (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474076)

Some time ago, people started getting paranoid about adverse health effects from high-voltage transmission lines near residential areas. Around that time I was back in school, and my Physics instructor did a very good job of debunking some of the pseudo-science.

With a few simple calculations, he demonstrated that the magnetic field strength at a point directly underneath an average high-voltage transmission line was less than that of the Earth's magnetic field.

Susprisingly, no one has launched any class-action suits against the Earth's core.

WTF (4, Insightful)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473896)

Oh. My. Goodness. I have not read about stupidity on such a level since my 7th grade algebra teacher. I read through the issues. Sunlight reflecting? Pulling out a Godwin to compare windmills to Nazi torture tactics? Women having extra periods?

What the hell kind of stupidity is going on here? I used to think that all of the inbreeding was occuring in rural states - but this has got to be the biggest level of stupidity ever. And like my daddy used to say, I can abide a dumb person - that's just an ignorant one.

These people are stupid - which means the inability to learn.

(Sigh.) So, uh, any space up in Canada?

Re:WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473949)

No, we don't want 'em :)

In Nazi Germany... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473959)

Windmill tortures you!

To be fair... (5, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473991)

Town board members surveyed the population and found that only 5.5 percent of townspeople are against the wind farm, while 58 percent are for it.

Of COURSE the news outlets are going to interview the squeaky wheels. Sells more copies.

I imagine in any population, you can find 5% who are against something, no matter how good an idea it may be.
That 5% will get pushed aside, so that the rest of us can get on with things.

Re:To be fair... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474024)

There will almost be at least 5% of people who will be for or against any idea. This is not always a bad thing, Windows has 95% market share. That leaves 5% for the other alternative os Users. The 5% of people are people who don't want to see windmills and don't care about the environment outside of their own eyes, or they just don't like the government looking at their land as something to exploit.

Re:To be fair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14474087)

In nazi germany only 5% of the population spoke out against hitler.

Re:WTF (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474004)

Oh, and upstate NY can be pretty damn rural. Its not all NYC.

Re:WTF (1)

iamjambon (927416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474007)

Yes, there`s a little room left just to the north. Don`t forget your hockey stick - it`ll be necessary for self-defense when the bears find you.

Re:WTF (1)

mattgarnsey (660568) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474051)

What the hell kind of stupidity is going on here?

i grew up in northern new york. one of the turbine farms is a stone's throw from the cow pasture where i went to high school. what you have there is the tip of the iceberg. these people are a special kind of crazed.

they are both ignorant and stupid, which means they are also prone to mass hysteria. if the opponents are serious about taking these things down, all they have to do is let it leak that the makers of the turbines are in league with the devil, and the masses will take to them with pitchforks and torches.

Education in the safety of alternative energy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473898)

Windmill safety warnings:

Do not place windmill into eye.
Never use windmill chop vegetables.
Windmill cannot be used for personal hygiene.
Tilting windmill may result in cliché.

Intriguing... (3, Funny)

melvin xavier (942849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473901)

So, all I have to do is buy some small plot of rural land in upstate NY, then lease it to the government to get 3K a year in rent? Awesome! If I can rent out 34 of these plots, I'm a millionare without any effort on my part!

Re:Intriguing... (1)

Christof_Deluca (870653) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473974)

$3,000 x 34 = $102,000

Re:Intriguing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473983)

Wow...

That'd make you the first person in the world to become a millionaire by having $100,000! A truly incredible achievement.

Re:Intriguing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473992)

Awesome! If I can rent out 34 of these plots, I'm a millionare without any effort on my part!

3Kx34 == $100,000.

So... a millionare after 100 years?

Re:Intriguing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14474042)

Wow two math noobs in a row!

Re:Intriguing... (1)

melvin xavier (942849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474056)

So... a millionare after 100 years? That'd be a millionare after 10 years, thanks. If my math is bad, yours is too!

Re:Intriguing... (5, Funny)

melvin xavier (942849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474073)

Yes, yes. My post was absurdly wrong. This is why rum and slashdot should never mix. Just remember, friends don't let friends drink & post.

Wind energy is great, but ... (1, Interesting)

lasindi (770329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473917)

to it's just plain silly to claim that our energy problems can be solved with solar and wind energy. They simply take up an enormous amount of land when compared with how much power they actually produce. Obviously coal and natural gas will run out eventually and are also contributing to global warming, so they aren't a long term solution either. Nuclear power is the only sustainable energy source over long periods of time. Many "environmentalists" will exploit the public's paranoia about anything with the words "nuclear" or "radiation" in it, and while storing nuclear waste securely is an important question, it's not one that has no answers. Energy conservation and solar/wind energy are nice, but when compared with the big picture, they really are drops in the bucket.

I'm not really defending these people; frankly, I think it would be cool to have wind turbines near my house. I'm just saying that people who are serious about solving energy problems are going to pick their battles, and this won't be one of them. Building nuclear power plants and storing nuclear waste will bring up similar "not in my backyard" protests, but at least it would accomplish something that would make a significant difference.

Re:Wind energy is great, but ... (1)

HotmanParisHiltonKam (944151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473952)

And when the nuclear fuel runs out? How much land does a huge hole in the ground take up? How much land does a safe nuclear disposal facility take up?

We need clean, sustainable solutions that don't rely heavily on an exhaustible resource. The wind and the sun are going to last much longer than nuclear fuel.

Re:Wind energy is great, but ... (1)

zerOnIne (128186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474065)

it's pretty simple, really. we just put the nuclear waste back in where we took all the coal and oil out before. all that digging, drilling, and pumping's got to leave some big enough holes, right?

Re:Wind energy is great, but ... (1)

HotmanParisHiltonKam (944151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474088)

The physics of decay product transport makes it much more complex than that. Simply dumping waste into an old hole would likely poison an entire ecosystem.

Re:Wind energy is great, but ... (2, Interesting)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473960)

Personally I think wind farms look really cool and if the noise level were not unbearable I would not mind living near one. However, it always helps to offer people SOMEthing for this. I suspect a lot of the complaining would die down if anyone within 1 mile of a wind farm would get free power for life; within 2-5 miles a 40% discount and within 5-7 miles a 10% discount.

Re:Wind energy is great, but ... (1, Flamebait)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473997)

While older mills may be quite loud, any developed within the last 10 to 15 years would be extremely quiet. Denmark is a nation which is on the leading edge of windmill technology. I saw some farms in Denmark with over 30 mills each. It was extremely surprising how quiet they are. You hear some swishing, but that's it. They're a masterpiece compared coal or natural gas plants.

Re:Wind energy is great, but ... (1)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474018)

If I recall correctly, as of 3 years ago when I was a junior in college, one windmill could power one house. A small house, at that. I don't think technology has improved substantially in the three years since.

Giving away wind energy would undermine any incentive for power companies to build wind farms. This is one of those situations where eminent domain should come in — this really, really is better for the country as a whole.

Re:Wind energy is great, but ... (3, Interesting)

nathanh (1214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474098)

If I recall correctly, as of 3 years ago when I was a junior in college, one windmill could power one house. A small house, at that. I don't think technology has improved substantially in the three years since.

It would have been helpful if you'd spent a few minutes with Google before posting. Wind turbines range in production capacity between 500kW and 6MW. For comparison, a 5MW wind turbine produces enough electric power for 1000 homes [msn.com] and that's after taking into account fluctuating wind conditions.

I suppose a 5kW wind turbine would be enough for one house. That's the eletrical production capacity of wind turbines back from 1890 [wikipedia.org] . That's right; wind turbines have been used to produce electricity since the late 1800s. They produced enough power back in 1890 to power a single house today.

Produced Power (1)

mjbkinx (800231) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474113)

If I recall correctly, as of 3 years ago when I was a junior in college, one windmill could power one house. A small house, at that. I don't think technology has improved substantially in the three years since.

I just checked a manufacturer's site, theirs produce 1.5 to 5MW [repower.de] . So, even if we assume their smallest model, that would mean the household in question would have to run almost 10.000 XBox 360s [cnet.com] , which of course is impossible since nobody could survive in such a hot environment.

I fully agree with the other half of your comment, though, and would like to add that you wouldn't be able to hear them from a few hundred meters distance anyway.

Re:Wind energy is great, but ... (1)

lasindi (770329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474067)

Personally I think wind farms look really cool and if the noise level were not unbearable I would not mind living near one. However, it always helps to offer people SOMEthing for this. I suspect a lot of the complaining would die down if anyone within 1 mile of a wind farm would get free power for life; within 2-5 miles a 40% discount and within 5-7 miles a 10% discount.

I'm sure there are ways to bargain with people; some like windmills (I do), and others don't. The latter types will need to be negotiated with. But if you're really trying to solve energy and environmental issues, building wind mills is procrastinating a real solution. The article submitter implies that nuclear power isn't the "green route," but I'll argue that it's the "greenest" route that can accommodate future energy demand. Relying solely on solar and wind power for energy is a "green" fantasy that will never be realized.

Re:Wind energy is great, but ... (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474005)

you're forgetting, it's the heat from those coal and nuclear plants that's causing much of the greenhouse effect and thus the wind and bad weather that drives these turbines- so it's a two pronged effort (or three if you have newer sockets).

(oh and in case anyone was wondering, I'm not being serious)

Re:Wind energy is great, but ... (1)

grqb (410789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474074)

Nuclear is the least worst solution at the moment but don't push for it without pushing for energy efficiency as well. Economically viable uranium will likely only be in the ground for the next 50 or so years. That won't be a very good return on your investment. Will you then be pushing for uranium reprocessing? That's a whole new beast.

Energy efficiency is the only way to solve our energy problems. It's multiple times more efficient to ride a bike than it is to drive a car. Eating vegetables is multiple times more efficient than eating meat. Turning off the lights is multiple times more efficient than keeping them on. Efficiency is king.

Simple Economics (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473919)

Put a market price on pollution... that's the way to do it. Fuel supply/demand determines a good price for fuel. But in the pollution market, there is no balance. Why should I care how much pollution is caused by the energy I use, just altruism?

People making green choices should be compensated for that in the pocketbook... and people will therefore do it!

me too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473922)

it may sounds good to me too.

The backgrounds of the dissenters? (1)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473924)

It would be interesting to find out more information regarding the backgrounds of the people involved with the campaign against such technology. Do they have any engineering or scientific backgrounds? Are they even aware of the pros and cons of these windmills?

From what the article presents, it would seem that they're just throwing out knee-jerk responses to a development they do not have the background to sufficiently understand.

Re:The backgrounds of the dissenters? (1)

k12linux (627320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474034)

Do they have vested interests in coal, oil or other industries which could suffer?

Re:The backgrounds of the dissenters? (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474068)

From what the article presents, it would seem that they're just throwing out knee-jerk responses to a development they do not have the background to sufficiently understand.

Or maybe they don't want them because the find wind mills ugle and/or believe they will lower the property value. That has nothing to do with ecological or health issues and, for the first part at least, is purely a matter of opinion.

*Scratches Head* (4, Insightful)

maynard (3337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473931)

"[...]the citizens in upstate NY still need some education in the safety of alternative energy."

Uhhh, ok... so, I'm all for wind farming. It's cheap and competitive and safe. The NIMBYers (including those in my home state of Massachusetts) need to start considering their alternatives WRT coal, gas, and nuclear. Which would *you* prefer nearby, and how much do you want to pay for electricity? But when I read the term "education" used in this context, it just drives me up the wall. It's as if by being "educated" I would -- of course -- agree with the proposition at hand. IOW: The reframe of using the term "education" in the context of whatever agenda happens to be yours has now become cliché. *shrug*

Re:*Scratches Head* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473990)

Did you read the article? You should probaby read the article. You might understand then.

Re:*Scratches Head* (1)

maynard (3337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474052)

Yup. I read it and I stand by what I wrote. The point was about the use of the term "education" as a means to convince others of a political position. Right or wrong is not the issue.

Re:*Scratches Head* (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474089)

Claiming "five menstrual cycles a month" occur in women living near windmills has nothing to do with politics. Convincing people that such a claim is obviously ridiculous is a matter of right and wrong and education and again nothing to do with politics.

I'd go as far as to say that claiming such a claim is a political position is as ridiculously stupid as the claim itself.

Re:*Scratches Head* (1)

fredklein (532096) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474017)

Did you RTFA?? (duh, this is /.)

The people they mentioned are woefully ignorant.

Point- Windmills do not cause "mange in cattle".

Point- Windmills no not cause "five menstrual cycles a month".

Point- Windmills do not cause "strokes caused by the sunlight as it pulsates through the spinning turbine blades".

Point- WIndmills produce noise that is barely audible a few hundred feet away. The noise is certainly not like "the noises Nazi troops tortured Jews with during the holocaust".

The mere fact that these people beleive this PROVES they need education.

If the Government really wanted to conserve energy (1)

themysteryman73 (771100) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473932)

Of course, if the government really wanted to conserve energy, we'd all be living in houses with 5.18 square metres [howstuffworks.com] of solar panels on them...

People fear change (2, Informative)

TomsMander (924864) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473938)

This is happening within my own county, and it's difficult for very conservative folks to imagine that this could possibly be a GOOD thing. There's the aesthetic argument, some griping about birds being affected, but I think maybe *part* of it is the unspoken downstate-versus-upstate struggle. The NYC metro area funnels off water from this region for its own use and is not cognizant of the fact that every spring, people die because they are reluctant to raise the floodgates and release a few million gallons that might prevent a flood or a road washout..... perhaps there are some resentments that "those people" down in in NYC are gonna get the bulk of the electricity produced here. "They" bring their city money up and purchase houses and price the locals out of the market. It's a conspiracy! It's way too easy for people to forget how all of it stimulates the local economy. Upstate New York would basically be dirt-poor-like-Vermont if it weren't for the NYC taxbase. I say bring on the wind turbines! More solar! Change it all to renewable energy. I'd much rather have a turbine spinning in my back yard than the Marcy South powerline marching over my land. :rolling eyes:

Politics (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473939)

I am sure that the dislike of the NYC region bby the upstate residents plays a big part in this. Upstate NY per se has plenty of cheap hydroelectric power, much of which gets shipped to NYC making the electricity rates in upstate much higher than they otherwise would be. Rather than build an ugly tower in their back yard most upstate residents would rather NYC float out to sea then sink.

Re:Politics (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474047)

The problem lies in the middle.

Suburban counties in the Hudson Valley refuse to allow rights of way for new high-tension power lines for the usual NIMBY reasons...

NYC & Long Island refuse to bring new power plants on line, period. To build a gas power plant in the metro area, you need to go through about 12-20 years of litigation, hearing, permit processes, etc.

The situation is retarded... the NIMBY people in NYC & Long Island don't want pollution, etc, so they rely on hydro & coal power imported from Upstate NY & Canada. Those overloaded transmission lines are going to become increasingly unreliable, so companies have responded by installing thousands of backup diesel generators -- generators that release hundreds or thousands of times more pollution than a modern gas or oil generator.

WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14473940)

I grew up in rural upstate New York. Actually, I was just there. Talk about a depressing place to live. This could very well be the best thing to happen to the area where no one has any money...and decreasing property values? Give me a break. With NY taxes, no one's buying houses that are falling apart because no one can afford to fix them, anyway.

I'll take Hurricane Wilma anyday, thank you.

The old problem: Brownouts (1)

radiotyler (819474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473950)

The green solution: Everyone stand on top of your building and exhale to the North!

Better idea (1)

djkuhl (902899) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473964)

Make McDonald's new logo a windmill. They'd make a fortune and nobody would complain if they had a big yellow windmill showing them where they can get fat. One for each McDonald's could power the entire western hemisphere.

Re:Better idea (1)

icecow (764255) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474021)

Pretty Clever

Don't tell us.. tell McD's

McD's sucks, but if each one had a windmill that would be cool.

More profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14474062)

They could even put the dead pigeons to good use.

Bird-Safe Wind Generators (1)

SSonnentag (203358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473966)

"The only known site with bird collision problems is located in the Altamont Pass in California. Even there, collisions are not common" -- http://www.windpower.org/en/tour/env/birds.htm [windpower.org]


I don't think birds are more important than people. Bring on the wind turbines!

Also, recently I read an article about a different type of wind generator that seems to be nicer to the birds. If I remember correctly it was a vertical spinning cylinder instead of a fan-type contraption.

People can't have their cake and eat it too! (5, Insightful)

grqb (410789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473968)

I have to be a bit skeptical about some of these claims about wind turbines:

1. Wind turbines make the same noises as Nazi troops torturing Jews? WTF??
2. Wind turbines causing women to have multiple menstrual cycles a month?

Come on. The real issue is that these people think wind turbines will decrease their property value. They don't have to make up shit like this. Especially if you compare the health effects of what would be built instead of wind turbines...probably coal power plants, which would be far worse health wise.

That being said, wind power is definitely inconsistent. From what I've heard about Denmark, which has the most wind power per capita in the world, most Danes are so untrusting of the quality of their electricity that they wouldn't even think about powering something without a UPS, otherwise they'd fry their electronics. Can any Danes back that up?

nonsense. (1)

November 1, 2005 (927710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473971)

"the citizens in upstate NY still need some education in the safety of alternative energy."
From what I have heard about this debate (I know many people living in the area affected), the most vocal critics of the plans are residents who have just recently arrived in the area and often own property but don't live there year round, if at all. So perhaps the submitter could, instead of putting snide generalizations in the summary, reserve his comments for the comment section where they can be properly modded down as flamebait.

From Rochester here (1)

Stevarino (607540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473995)

Yeah, things are winding down in WNY (western new york)...we just lost a money-sucking "fast ferry" to Toronto. Since I moved here 3 years ago I must say this is the windiest place I've ever lived in, though. I'm sitting in my house right now listening to the wind beat the siding.

Not environment-neutral (1)

Meor (711208) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473996)

While wind power is much better than burning fossil fuel, it is not environment-neutral. Wind farms slow wind flows down and do alter the climate in the area they are placed, affecting the natural inhabbitants. This should always be considered.

Importance of Land. (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14473999)

While I am sure most slash-dotters are based in Urban areas, Or in other countries. Where while land prices are expensive they are not always considered as valuable. In the more Rural areas of New York, (NY is one of the larger States in the North East and most of it is NOT New York City). A lot of the people in Upstate want to live the Anti-NYC life. Where they can get up in the morning and look out the window and not see signs of Human Life, there are also many who bought this land for investment, where they can one day sell it for millions from their $50,000 investment. Things like Windmills, and other things make the land seem less pure and polluted. There was an argument about a year ago where a Cell company wanted to put a tower on top of a mountain and there ware many problems with it making it look ugly. So what the Cell company agreed to was to make it look like all the other trees, Just slightly taller. Many Upstate NYers want a life without much changes. If I had a house with like 20 achers I probably allow some windmills but I would want them away from the view from my house, and If they are in the way of my Neighbors view then Ill have some other problems.

Re:Importance of Land. (1)

djkuhl (902899) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474039)

You'd need about 800 acres and have your house blocked by 100 foot tall trees to even begin to think you'd not see windmills. They are massive beasts that can bee seen for 20 miles. There is one of these windmill farms in central Illinois and you can see it forever. Because of FAA regulations they all need a light atop them for planes to see them, which means you have 20+ blinking lights ruining the skyline.

How to avoid bird deaths (4, Funny)

Belseth (835595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474000)

I say paint a swirl pattern on the blades of the windmills so they look like the old hyponosis wheels. The birds will be too dizzy to fly near the windmills. If the birds are forced to walk they can't hit the blades. Better to have staggering birds with bad headaches than dead ones.

Makes sense for a few MW in a hurry (3, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474002)

Wind power has a really big advantage in the short term over any sort of thermal plant - the lead time is short due to the small unit size.

If you want a big steam turbine or several of them you have to order it years before you need it, and then it takes a long time to build all of the other infrastructure that turns it into a power station. If you go nuclear you have a choice between an expensive white elephant or becoming a pioneer with a full scale version of one of the more promising prototypes out there - so unless you have many years (more than a term of government certainly) you can forget about it.

There are several downsides of wind. With that small unit size the price per MW is high. Maintainance shedules are short (around 1 year vs 5 years for thermal plants) - but once again if you have a lot of small units you can afford to have a few down at any time. Wind isn't reliable, but paired with a thermal or hydro station that can do reasonably quick changes to load (sorry nuclear guys - this is your weak point) and control system like we've had for decades that isn't really a problem. Compare it to a solar water heater - it had a secondary heat source for those times when there isn't enough sun - so you have wind to save on oil or coal fuel costs.

Another quick fix solution is gas turbines. These are usually similar to jet engines driving generators and they aren't much cheaper than wind. Wind scales a bit (you can make big windmills and bring the price per MW down a bit) while photovoltaics don't - double the area of photovoltaics and you only get twice the power - which is why the nuclear crowd like to use it as a comparison because anything else built big enough is going to outstrip it at some point.

All of the above ignores CO2 - and if you consider it then that makes gas turbines less of an option. Nuclear in the short term would only work if someone parks a submarine nearby - everything that uses a large scale to get the efficiency up will require a lot of planning and constuction time.

Outsource... (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474003)

Eh, why doesn't NY just suck more juice from Quebec?

The article summary is misleading (1)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474012)

It says: "'pop a couple more coal/oil/natural gas/nuclear power plants down'", implying that nuclear power is an option in the US (as it is in France, Japan, Czech Republic and so on).

That's simply not true. Since the accident at 3-mile island, nuclear power is dead in the US.

Re:The article summary is misleading (1)

jollyroger1210 (933226) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474048)

Yeah, Those three eyed frogs keep showing up at the protests.

P.S. My school is within the twenty mile blast radius of TMI.

Wind Mills in New York City (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474057)

I guess it never even occurred to them to put wind mills on the buildings in the city. Can't have that can we?

Now if Ted Kennedy lived in Upstate New York, there's be federal legislation in the works for sure.

It would be nice if all the so-called environmentalists would go ahead and put their money (and/or property values) where their mouth is and put wind farms/solar farms/alge ponds/nuclear/coal/gas powerplants, etc. in their neighborhoods.

Nobody does the math on alternative energy... (0, Flamebait)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474071)

The average coal plant produces 600 megawatts of electricity Link [csmonitor.com] . The entire output of an Ovionics Solar Cell assemply plant is enough electricity to produce 30 megawatts a year if all solar cells are used simultaneously, in sunny weather, during the day Link [ovonic.com] . That means that you have to have 20 years worth of production from that plant to get enough solar cells to equal a coal plant. Wind is a little better with the largest onshore turbines producing 2.5megawatts Link [awea.org] .
Or about 240 needed to reproduce a coal plant, when the wind is blowing. There are about 62 gigawatts of new generating capacity in the works, according to the CS monitor story, for the continental U.S.

But what about solar powered homes? The average home uses 10656 kw/h per year or about 1.21 kw constant load Link [ljworld.com] . The average aluminum smelting plant uses 300mw of electricity or 250,000 times as much Link [nwcouncil.org] . The average chemical plant uses 12mw constant load or almost 1000x as much Link [siemens.com] . There are lots of similar industrial users. <sarcasm> Of course, who needs all those plants anyway? Doesn't produce anything usefull? All just pollution right? </sarcasm>

Sure there's plenty of little stuff we can do about the energy problems of the world but I think the problem is far far bigger than most people imagine. So basically given the above, environmentalists really have no solution to the world's energy problem except de-industrialization and I really doubt we are going to go along with that much less China, India, Russia, or Brazil. There you go, with a little math I spoiled the whole alternative energy debate. You have read the last chapter of the book on Global warming: There is no solution (except nuclear!). If you have some alternative examples show me and please make sure they include actual figures in megawatts. Not things like "wind energy potential" but instead, how long it would take to build, how much money, how much energy would be provided, etc. BTW, I'm not saying that some technological revolution isn't going to save us but please, let's get some numbers into the discussion!

Always naysayers (3, Insightful)

Belseth (835595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474075)

How anyone can claim health problems from windmills is beyond me. People are calling them an eyesore but would they be happier with a coal burning plant next door? More of that anywhere but here BS. Tell you what. Communities that say yes to them get their power for half and your power bills are going to double. Not fair? Wait'll oil starts running out and everyone is paying 4X the current rate. I don't get the eyesore part myself. I lived in Wellington NZ where there was a massive one and it was a tourist attraction and I can't remember anyone complaining about it. Personally I love the ones between LA and Phoenix. The drive is boring and they are a lot more interesting to look at than desert scrub. The placement may not have been ideal but what birds are dying pale to what encrochment and polution cause. Not a perfect solution? Welcome to the real woirld where there are none. It's simply one of the best solutions. Third world countries are embracing the technology. It's sad that we in the oil whoring US of A are whining about asthetics.

Windmills not necessary!!! (2, Funny)

cwsulliv (522390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474079)

I recently saw a demo of a Stirling engine. It can generate energy from hot air. All they need to do is ship a few of these to the Governor's Mansion in Albany NY and that state's energy problems will be history.

Ugh. (4, Funny)

velocipenguin (416139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474082)

Upstate New York is full of short-sighted, selfish idiots. These people will continue to be militantly stupid until something impedes their access to cable TV; once that happens, they'll be fighting tooth-and-nail to get wind turbines installed. After that, they'll cover the turbines in bright yellow "Support Our Troops" magnets and sit down in front of the TV until another opportunity to delay technological progress appears.

Upstate NY (5, Insightful)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474104)

I'm in upstate NY.

Politics are on the lips of just about every person residing in upstate, as far as I can see. I couldn't go down from my office to get a coffee in Collegetown without overhearing at least 2 or 3 townies discussing politics if I wanted to.

It's also a fertile breeding ground for rather furious debate about such things. The Socialist party has a strong presence here (seriously, and they're proud to be Socialist). The town prints 2 forms of currency to be used in addition to US currency, City Bucks and Ithaca Hours.

So, to hear people talking about building wind farms in upstate is unsurprising. People have been talking about that for quite a while.

The flip side, however, is that you can always hear opponents of such actions. For instance, Cornell University does its cooling with water from the Cayuga River. We're not talking about dumping hot water into the river. Cold water from the Cayuga is pumped through campus buildings to cool them, reducing the amount of energy required by the campus. As far as sustainable, environmentally sound solutions are concenred, it's probably one of the cleanest ways to do it. It's definately pushing the curve a bit and showing that such solutions are viable.

This solution has vocal opponents as well.

To be brief, you can find just about any statement, as long as it's left-wing, that you want in upstate, and, according to people who've lived her longer than I, quite a few right wing ones too if you look hard enough. It's just the nature of upstate. People like politics.

windmills are beautiful (4, Interesting)

John Nowak (872479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474107)

They're a symbol of "green" energy and sanity. I couldn't give a fuck if it is blocking someone's view of some hill across yonder. I... I don't even have any coherent words to say about this. Since when is your "view" more important than the environment and public health!? I'm sucking on pollution and being irradiated due to coal plants because of these idiots! Fuck your view! Bring on the windmills!

I for one welcome (0, Flamebait)

UniXY (888820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14474109)

Well I thought evolution had laid this problem to rest, but apparently the bird wars are to begin again! I for one welcome our new bird-brained overlords.
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