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Tilting At Windmills

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the oil-just-hit-75-bucks-a-barrel dept.


GreedyCapitalist writes "Anne Applebaum writes in the Washington Post about environmentalists who are opposing renewable energy sources." From the article: "Already, activists and real estate developers have stalled projects across Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York. In Western Maryland, a proposal to build wind turbines alongside a coal mine, on a heavily logged mountaintop next to a transmission line, has just been nixed by state officials who called it too environmentally damaging. Along the coast of Nantucket, Mass. -- the only sufficiently shallow spot on the New England coast -- a coalition of anti-wind groups and summer homeowners, among them the Kennedy family, also seems set to block Cape Wind, a planned offshore wind farm. Their well-funded lobbying last month won them the attentions of Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who, though normally an advocate of a state's right to its own resources, has made an exception for Massachusetts and helped pass an amendment designed to kill the project altogether."

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Too True (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176875)

The problem plaguing new energy developments is no longer NIMBYism, the "Not-In-My-Back-Yard" movement. The problem now, as one wind-power executive puts it, is BANANAism: "Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything."

If it wasn't so true, it would be hilarious. Instead, we're currently faced with a no-win scenario. Don't want Power Plant technology X in your back yard? Fine, we'll move it to the middle of the desert. You don't like that because there's a fault there that *might* cause a teeny Earthquake 500 years from now? Fine, we'll move it to the swamp land. What's that? We'd be destroying the natural habitat of mosquitoes? Why do you want to keep mosquitoes around? FINE! Then we'll move it to the ocean where we can... what? You don't want it there, EITHER? Why the hell not? Because it might damage a coral reef? What if we build an artifical one? That will change the ocean currents?

NNNGNGGNNGGGG!! HUMANS #$!@@!# CHANGE #@$!#!@! THINGS !@#!#!!!! IT'S !@#!@# WHAT @!#@!# WE @#$!@#$ DO!

Call us when you don't have power and really, really want some. Good-bye! :-P

Re:Too True (0)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176926)

Say what you will, but I always have 5 bars on my banana phone.

Re:Too True (3, Insightful)

robertjw (728654) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176929)

Call us when you don't have power and really, really want some. Good-bye! :-P

Except it doesn't work that way. The 10 people that bitched about the environment stop the millions from getting power. Those 10 people probably moved somewhere where there was power - so they could bitch about it again, leaving the millions to suffer.

Re:Too True (5, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177030)

Which is why we need to tell those 10 people to go to Hell and build some damn power plants!

Really, there is a small but significant subset of environmentalists that literally wouldn't be happy until humans are extinct. We need to ignore those people and try to inject some common sense into our environmental discussions.

Inability to compromise at all is what defines a zealot.

Re:Too True (2, Interesting)

Enigma_Man (756516) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177128)

Unfortunately, those 10 people have enough money to buy 100 government officials, while none of the other 1,000,000 people have enough money individually (and don't pool their resources to buy officials, because hey, the government is for the people, right... right?)


Re:Too True (5, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177222)

I think you'll find that, by far, the vast majority of the people in these anti-wind groups have never been involved in any other "environmental" movement. There are some, yes, but not very many. For the most part, these groups are comprised of rich folk not wanting their property values to drop, people who don't give a whit about the environment but want the view to be "pretty" by their standards, and general technophobes (boy, you wouldn't believe some of the wacky things they say - calling them "moonbats" would be an insult to any future lunar aerial mammal community).

These groups take on an environmental mantle because it sounds a lot better than the other arguments they'd be making - namely, "My million dollar estate will lose 10% of its value", "Uck, something white that spins!", and "Wind farms cause women to have five periods a month and give them brain cancer." Real environmental groups (for example, the Sierra Club) love wind farms [] .

It's annoying to see people on sites like slashdot buy into the "oooh, all those nutty environmentalists keep contradicting themselves! They must just want to destroy society!" arguments.

Re:Too True (2, Interesting)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176937)

You're ignoring the only option which won't affect _something_: to use less energy, which is what those "hardcore" environmentalists probably really want...

...but that doesn't make as much money so it's not an attractive "solution" to anyone making money off the energy industry and since it usually requires people to change their consumption habits, it's not an attractive solution to the majority of us "lazy" people either.

Ah well, at some point "scarcity of resources" will catch up with us and we'll all start killing each other over what's left. Something to look forward to.

Re:Too True (5, Interesting)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177001)

More than that, the hard core "environmentalists" want the downfall of industrial society. Extreme environmentalism is just the best way to accomplish this. Look at groups like ELF, what are they really fighting for, the environment? By setting things on fire? I think not.

Re:Too True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15177016)

Is that pesky human habit of BREATHING polluting your local environment with excessive carbon monoxide and dioxide??

DON'T DELAY!! Go with the one answer guaranteed to solve ALL your environmental problems!


Re:Too True (1)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177042)

Ah well, at some point "scarcity of resources" will catch up with us and we'll all start killing each other over what's left. Something to look forward to.

Start? We've been doin' that for a looooong time. Relative scarcity is a function, usually, not of the total amount of a resource, but rather the limitations of the means to access it, and shortages due to tech (and exclusive control and other reasons) has been killing people in wars for a long damn time. Iraq is but a most recent example.

...Unless of course you meant start killing each other in the sense of neighbors beating each other to death with broken axe handles to steal scraps of food killing each other; then yeah, I suppose we have a little while longer to wait.

Re:Too True (1)

kaligraphic (672594) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177148)

I take it you haven't met my neighbors.

Re:Too True (2, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177051)

You're ignoring the only option which won't affect _something_: to use less energy

That is where you are incredibly wrong. All that wonderful food we eat, many of those beautiful landscapes, all those heated buildings we live in, and all those attractive clothes we wear all take energy to create. So much energy that any significant drop in power production would mean the death of a large portion of the human race today. Food production would drop, areas couldn't be cleared and replanted more effectively, buildings would fall behind on maintenence, and heat would become a premium. And that's ignoring the matter of overseas and land transportation used to move necessary goods around the world!

While it's a nice sentiment to suggest that mankind cut back on energy usage, the question is "to what end"? Will we forgo the use of all new power and revert to living in caves? Shall it be the survival of the fittest? Well, if it comes to that, the feel-good environmentalists will be the first to die. You know why? Because a guy who doesn't mind using modern technology will happily pull a .22 caliber pistol and put a bullet between his eyes so that he can survive instead of the environmentalist.

Technology creates more resources. That's the entire point of it. Right now our cups overflow because of it. But you can't go back unless you want the very halocaust you're trying to avoid. So pull your head out of yer ass and wake up to the fact that mankind NEEDS technology!

Thank you.

Re:Too True (4, Insightful)

attemptedgoalie (634133) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177145)

He didn't say that everybody should stop what they're doing and start living in a hut.

Use less energy can mean:

Stop buying vehicles that are wasteful.
Stop driving 5 extra miles to save 8 cents on a loaf of bread.
Maybe investigate how to make 18-wheelers get 5mpg more than they do now.
Build a bike lane once in a while.
Don't give subsidies to companies that pollute when there are cleaner alternatives.

There are thousands of ways to reduce energy use. Many involve technology.

We can consume what we do now, and watch the population grow so that the total amount of energy consumed increases.

Or, we can reduce what we consume now and be more efficient. As the growth in the population occurs, energy use increases at a slower rate.

How hard would it be for us to tell energy companies, no subsidies for you. That money is going to buy insulation, and CF bulbs for every house in the country? Total electricity (therefore coal/gas) usage declines.

Re:Too True (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177206)

While you have a point, that's the kind of thinking that keeps us in a cycle of needing more and more power for doing less and less. Just switching from incandescent to flourescent lighting alone would save amazing amounts of energy. Granted, the full-spectrum flourescents cost a lot more than incandescents, but they also last a lot longer and save a lot of energy as well. And then there's insulation. Just putting additional insulation on electric water heaters (in the form of blankets) would save a great deal as well.

We may need to add more power generation capacity, but it would be nice to see some conservation happen first.

No (4, Funny)

NineNine (235196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177221)

No, not quite. The best and most effective solution is: HAVE NO CHILDREN. I love it when environmentalists try to preach to me, while towing 6 kids behind them. Humans, by far and away, have the largest impact on the environment. Fuck "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle". How about "Get a vasectomy"?

Re:Too True (5, Insightful)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177002)

Seems you and I had the same thought... I'll add that the next paragraph from TFA is intersting as well:
Still, energy projects don't even have to be viable to spark opposition: Already, there are activists gearing up to fight the nascent biofuel industry, on the grounds that fields of switch grass or cornstalks needed to produce ethanol will replace rainforests and bucolic country landscapes. Soon the nonexistent "hydrogen economy" will doubtless be under attack as well. There's a lot of earnest, even bipartisan talk nowadays about the need for clean, emissions-free energy. But are we really ready, politically, to build any new energy sources at all?

There is a downside to everything... which is something people seem to miss. Joe Sixpack and Sarah Soccermom want a perfect solution that never needs fixing, looks cute and emits only rainbows and pine scented goodness.

There is no perfect solution. Until people accept that, and agree on what the "least bad" solution is, we'll likely be stuck with deadlock. Lets hope it doesn't take electricity rationing and $20 per gallon gasoline to drag people to that point.

Re:Too True (1, Insightful)

sfjoe (470510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177081)

When you get done with your ridiculous rant, you might stop and look at the ACTUAL benefits of wind power, which are underwhelming: []

Re:Too True (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177212)

And here we have someone who failed to READ THE F***KING ARTICLE. This isn't about Wind. It's about everything from Nuclear to Bio-Fuels to Solar to Hydrogen. It's all about that people are looking at the perceived negatives of energy technologies while they blissfully ignore the fact that they NEED ENERGY TO SURVIVE.

The "actual benefits of wind power" are neither here nor there.

Re:Too True (1)

tegeus (658616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177095)

Funny this article should come up today.. this - 4.stm [] has been floated about (no pun intended) for a while now, I think it was cancelled before on cost grounds (15bn GBP is rather a lot). I do find it a little frustrating that every time someone comes up with a way of reducing carbon emmisions, a "environmentalist" comes up with a reason why we shouldn't do it that way. For instance, "Nuclear" power stations, no I'm not a fan of them either but if you can come up with an alternative...please do...FAST. Thats the point, we don't have a lot of time to come up with alternatives that everyone will be happy with. The environment is going to change no matter what, it just depends whether we have some control of the damage. I actually think that wind turbines are rather beautiful. No, I wouldn't like one in my back garden, but if its lets me leave some sort of habitable planet for my son I'll help you dig the foundation for it.

An example (1, Interesting)

Feminist-Mom (816033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176878)

Is the "liberal" community of Cape Cod opposing windmills offshore since it would ruin the wonderful view.

Re:An example (3, Insightful)

Ryvar (122400) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176935)

Massachusetts may be liberal, but it's also money. That goes triple for Cape Cod. The problem you're encountering here is people who are liberal in the sense that they don't care what the poor do in their bedrooms, but they sure as hell don't want their precious view spoiled.

This may come as a shock, but the left does not have a monopoly on overly wealthy hypocritical asshats who will be the death of us all.


Re:An example (4, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177020)

Massachusetts may be liberal, but it's also money. That goes triple for Cape Cod.

Actually, no. Most of Cape Cod's residents are pretty poor, relatively speaking. Living costs are insane. Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard both have huge problems with drug and alcohol abuse because there's nothing to do on the islands, and life is pretty rough. Outside of the tourist seaason, practically nobody is around.

The Cape isn't dominated by million dollar homes; to a large extent it's "middle class" people who have a small summer place.

These issues are largely being driven (read: funded) by a very small minority that doesn't even live there.

Hmm.... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177057)

No wonder the richies are building their 'green' power-neutral homes. It might take 300 years to pay off the investment, but they can afford it and can leave the condition of power to the common masses.

But with this complaint, I guess we're back to nuclear power.


RE (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15176883)

Ted Kennedy a hippo-crite? No!!! Of course, many liberals are do as i say not as i do!
Give a liberal a thought, and he will repeat it all day...
Teach a liberal to think, and he'll vote republican.

Thhbbbtttt.... (2, Funny)

JoeLinux (20366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176940)

Whoever you are, you owe me a new keyboard...

Re:RE (1)

Procrastin8er (791570) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177034)

Was Mary Jo Kopechne available for comment?

Re:RE (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177217)

Heh heh... Thanks for the laugh. Taking a day off from the War on Reason today, are we? A cerebral bunch, those repubs are...

There's two kinds of green in politics... (4, Insightful)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176885)

..and it's the paper one that holds the final say.

Re:There's two kinds of green in politics... (1)

TheJediGeek (903350) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176955)

Talk about a blatant example of how money buys votes. Can we lobby to officially change the name of "campaing contributions" to BRIBES? (the irony there is staggering)

Or as Al Bundy said. . . (0, Offtopic)

aztec rain god (827341) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176978)

I've got a different kind of green in my underwear

These coalitions of anti-wind groups... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15176889)

...are full of hot air.

Perhaps we could use them to power turbines.

Not satisified with farting their own lives away (0)

Marko DeBeeste (761376) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176891)

Now they're breaking our wind

Unfucking possible. (4, Funny)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176896)

This is impossible - everyone knows that it is the republicans and big business that are against the environment and that all liberals and environmental groups are for it...

*bangs head into wall*

Re:Unfucking possible. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15176924)

This is impossible - everyone knows that it is the republicans and big business that are against the environment and that all liberals and environmental groups are for it...

Well, see, the trick is, the people listed in this article aren't liberals or environmental groups. They're democrats. Fox news wants you to think democrats are liberals. They're not.

Re:Unfucking possible. (5, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176967)

liberals and environmental groups are for it...

liberal != environmentalist

A good environemntalist is a conservative - they conserve their energy use by being conservative with their power needs.

Life is never black & white.

Re:Unfucking possible. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15177039)

Life is never black & white.

Oh yah? _the_United_States []

Re:Unfucking possible. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15177219)

GP: Life is never black & white.

AC: Oh yah? _the_United_States []

Well, apart from pink & brown, there's red, [] yellow, [] brown [] and green []

Trying to catorize by skin color is silly.

Re:Unfucking possible. (1)

SpiritusGladius1517 (929800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176980)

We might get them to change their minds when we tell them the next source of renewable energy is single malt Scotch.

Re:Unfucking possible. (1)

LGagnon (762015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177202)

Democrats are mostly centrists, not liberals, and definitely not progressives (how many of those do they have, two?). Centrists aren't half as pro-environment as they'd like you to believe; in fact, they aren't far off from the Republicans.

Tourism & fishing (3, Informative)

arfuni (775132) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176915)

Their major complaint, from previous coverage that I've seen on the issue, is that the turbines will be visible from shore and may interfere with fishing and pleasure boating (i.e. tourism) in the area - which is just about the *only* local industry aside from domestic labor (housecleaning, cooking, etc for the filthy rich).

These are not environmentalists (2, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176920)

These are anti-capitolists!! They HATE the human race. In fact, they would rather wish all human beings die. They see us as a virus, and not a natural part of Earths evolution.

Fuck em!!! Time they are made irrelevant by the worlds population. Just fucking burry them.

Re:These are not environmentalists (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176975)

while overly hostile, your point that they are not enviromentalist, but anti-capatilists(which is why green peace is a joke) is correct.

There also people who are afraid a windmill might cause them to not make as much money as they think they might ba able to without one.

A smart person would utilize as a tourist industry. If it is out to see, you can take divers out to an artificial coral reef. etc. . .

Re:These are not environmentalists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15177116)

capitolists, capatilists

*groan* oh.. cripes... It's CAPITALIST, you accursed, dyslexic spawns of illiterate Brangelina bastards!

You're right (1)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176976)

i'm anti-capitolist too! i think we should decentralize government and not have any capitols at all. we should also do away with all upper case letters.

oh, wait. Nevermind.

Re:These are not environmentalists (3, Interesting)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177059)

No. You're confusing the loony, back-to-nature, anti-civilization crowd with the moneyed, "as long as it doesn't involve actual sacrifice", feel-good faux-enviromentalist crowd.

Completely opposite ends of the green spectrum: Extremists vs. dabblers. Wannabe terrorists vs. people who put a bumper sticker on their SUV.

It's like equating Falwell's crazies with fair-weather Christians. It offends people in the middle who care about the message but haven't gone so far as to be unable to understand it anymore.

Re:These are not environmentalists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15177147)

Just for the record, I hate all human beings and wish they would die, but I'm not opposed to capitalism or wind-turbines. It's not the hating humans that makes these ones so stupid, it's the idiocy. They want to feel important, and do it by blocking other people from doing things, since they're incapable of doing anything constructive themselves. (When I become supreeme evil overlord, the people who go around protesting everything they can find, just for the sake of protesting, like these ones are, will be second against the wall. They'll have to stand on the pile of patent lawyers while the firing squad shoots them.)

Re:These are not environmentalists (1)

wrf3 (314267) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177207)

Just for the record, I hate all human beings...

Just curious, but does that include yourself? If so, do you see your predicament as hopeless or is there a possibility of improvement?

I object... (5, Insightful)

3.2.3 (541843) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176923) calling aestheticians environmentalists.

Mod parent up (2, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176968)

I agree. These people aren't environmentalists. They're too wrapped up in their property values to sacrifice for the greater good by allowing pollution free power that might be visible from their backyard.

Calling these people environmentalists is an smear attack against actual environmentalists.

Typical American short-sighted politics (3, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176925)

a proposal to build wind turbines alongside a coal mine, on a heavily logged mountaintop next to a transmission line, has just been nixed by state officials who called it too environmentally damaging.

Yeah, because in 2 or 3 decades, when the sea rises and countless disaster stories that will make the LA flooding look like a joke will occur every year, the weather will turn hot and sterile, or brutally cold where it was mild before,... I'm sure we'll all be happy that the mountaintop's view has been preserved...

Re:Typical American short-sighted politics (1)

Nesetril (969734) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176979)

and a heavily logged mountain top "view" with a frickin coal mine next to it, at that.

Bridge to somewhere (3, Insightful)

wrenhunter (619413) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176927)

Their well-funded lobbying last month won them the attentions of Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who ... helped pass an amendment designed to kill the project altogether.

Why's that Don? Are you going to help us build a 35-mile bridge from Hyannis to Nantucket instead?

Re:Bridge to somewhere (1)

ronfar (52216) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176951)

Well... I think the problem is that wind power might make a drop in the value of Alaskan oil especially if it ever became really viable. He's just thinking of the future.

Have some tasty Don Young quotes (5, Informative)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177149)

You know these people aren't environmentalists when they get Don Young on their side. Let's look at some Don Young quotes: []

"Environmentalists are a socialist group of individuals that are the tool of the Democrat Party. I'm proud to say that they are my enemy. They are not Americans, never have been Americans, never will be Americans."

"I don't see any justification for the federal government owning land, other than the Statue of Liberty and maybe a few parks, maybe a few refuges. But to just own land to do nothing with it I think is a disservice to the Constitution."

"We wonder why we have got the Freemen or the militants. We wonder why we have got unrest in this country. It is because our government, in fact, has got out of hand and out of line, with the Endangered Species Act."

If I have my way, I'm going to dissolve the Forest Service. They're in the business of harvesting trees and they're not harvesting trees, so why have them anymore?

If you can't eat it, can't sleep under it, can't wear it or make something from it, it's not worth anything.

The environmentalists - the self-centered bunch, the waffle-stomping, Harvard-graduating, intellectual idiots that don't understand that they're leading this country into environmental disaster.

Yeah, Don, it's the environmentalists that are leading us into environmental disaster. Riiiiiight....

Re:Bridge to somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15177174)

His amendment "against states rights" was to give the governor of Massachusetts final approval over the project.

Nice impartial journalism!

If they don't want wind power ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15176930)

Fine. If they want to opt-out of the other solutions, then cut the power lines to the houses along the coast and let them figure out a solution to the problem that they will find satisfactory.

Think longer term (5, Funny)

kbielefe (606566) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176945)

They are just thinking longer term than us. Running out of oil, we can deal with. But running out of wind would be a true ecological disaster.

Not for me. (2, Funny)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176947)

I am agianst wind power, the cumulative effect of removing that much wind energy from the environment will reduce the total air movement around the world. With the reducion in wind currents the earth will be unable to cool itself, causing global warming. ;)

Re:Not for me. (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177141)

You know this is BS because Skyscrappers stop a hell of alot more wind than any windmill farms that *COULD* ever be built. I guess we should also stop using sailboats and airplanes. They affect the winds, too. ;)

Re:Not for me. (1)

Homestar Breadmaker (962113) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177159)

That would be funny, except that people actually say that shit. With a straight face. Its just sad.

More Republican Fair-Weather Federalism (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15176961)

Republicans advocate states rights up to the point your state goes medical marijuana, pro gay marriage, physican-assisted suicide or anything else they don't like.

don't forget abortion! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15177216)

got to take the good with the bad now don't we?


Re:More Republican Fair-Weather Federalism (1)

deanj (519759) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177229)

That's the same in reverse. You're asking people to accept everything you're trying to shove down their throat.

You don't like it when the other side does it... why should they like it when you do it to them?

They don't exist, or do they... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15176965)

The problem with these theoretical wind-mills is that know one I know has actually been about the chase one down and capture it. Plus the wind is invisible, which leads me to think that it really does not exist and after all this technology is idealistic and impractical and some would go so far to say that it is quixotic!


Won't someone think of the birds?! (5, Funny)

rqqrtnb (753156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176973)

Let's convene a conference about birds being killed by paned glass.

Maybe the UN can get hold of the issue and negotiate a deal with glassmakers that would see them manage a fund dedicated to supporting the abandoned chicks of deceased winged parents cut-down by clear glass panes.

Then they could siphon a little off for themselves and their immediate relatives and remain beyond the reach of the law, even as they grandstand as the judges of right and wrong in the world.

Birds are also being killed by the avian flu. Those concerned should be developing and distributing an innoculation for birds everywhere, but they're not, are they?

Perhaps those claiming to be avian rights supporters should be placed on trial by the UN after the UN has first secured the aforementioned sweet deal over the glass panes, at which point it might accuse the world's chief bird rights organization of fraud, misrepresentation, malfeasance and the mismanagement of the public trust.

This organization might become the subject of various resolutions, after which it might be accused of developing weapons of mass destruction, preparing the way for sanctions, an economic embargo and eventual invasion.

If you're going to go around claiming to care for birds, you'd g*ddam*ed well better be caring for birds, and not just pretending to while you pursue your hidden, nefarious anti-windmill agenda.

Re:Won't someone think of the birds?! (1)

Beer Moon (894244) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177052)

Yeah, we should start innoculating all birds everywhere. Inventing that Avian Flu virus was the worst environmental decision we ever made.

Supersonic Windmill (3, Interesting)

alohatiger (313873) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176974)

Whatever happened with the idea of building a giant pipeline to generate power? It would be 100 miles or so long, and 10 feet wide. The last half-mile at each end it would taper out to about 20 feet. As weather fronts passed over it, the pressure difference would push air through the pipe, where it would achieve supersonic speed (due to the tapering).

In the middle was a turbine that would work in both directions (as the pressure difference could go either way).

Re:Supersonic Windmill (1)

Ana10g (966013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177134)

Dang! That's a really good idea! In a similar move, you could a completely enclosed pipe (think donut shape) half underground, and half above ground, and let the temperature differences moving the air between them power the turbines... probably not supersonic, but perpetual during daylight hours.

Re:Supersonic Windmill (2, Insightful)

HoboMaster (639861) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177177)

But the pipeline would stop animals from being able to walk to the other side, and destroy their natural roaming patterns! Plus, we could SEE the pipeline.

People will complain about anything, I promise.

Also, the pipeline idea's not bad, but not particularly economical. Long pipelines are expensive and break a lot, and for the amount of power generated, wouldn't work out very well. Windmills are cheaper and easier to maintain.

Really, what we need to do is build nuclear powerplants, but people get all freaked out because "OH NOES! NUCULAR!" Just because the Soviets couldn't build a proper power plant (the last set of Soviet MIGs were made of ALUMINUM and PLYWOOD, what do you expect?!) doesn't mean it's a bad idea. Three Mile Island was perfectly contained and is still in operation, despite almost every failsafe going wrong at once. If you build the plant properly, they work great. There's something like 20 in operation currently around the world (mostly in Europe) and they work great.

Re:Supersonic Windmill (1)

alohatiger (313873) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177239)

"and for the amount of power generated, wouldn't work out very well"

I'm too dumb to do the math, but this was supposed to generate alot of power. It seems like a supersonic airflow in a 10 foot pipe would contain alot of energy.

Re:Supersonic Windmill (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177220)

Similiar to the solar turbine I think, where you have a 1000ft tall hollow metal tube, and a the top you have a wind turbine. The sun would heat the tube which would heat the air inside, causing it to rise and it will continue to heat as it does, causign it to go faster. The only place it has to go is through the turbine and thus power is generated.

I got my anti-windmill dvd in the mail last week. (4, Interesting)

mobiux (118006) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176984)

In western WI, a private company is looking at building a wind farm in my county.
I thought people would be happy about it, usually anything renewable is looked well upon, hell 5 miles away there is a manure digester that was praised for being "forward-looking".

But this project is facing major opposition from the local residents because of supposedly lower property value.
Funny thing about it, they don't want a windfarm ruining thier view, but they have no problem building a $500,000 house on a previously wooded hillside, and running the nice road up the side of the hill to drive there.

They can kiss my ass, as least i am getting something from the windmill.

NIMBY, Externalities, Fairness (5, Insightful)

bstarrfield (761726) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176987)

Folks are in denial of the seriousness of the energy crisis, and the realities of energy production. They assume that some miracle, somehow, will provide them with the energy to drive out and live in in their beautiful second homes, free of any aesthetic and environmental problems. They want to be close to some idyllic nature, free of stress. And the reason they can be in denial is that energy production - through the magic of long distance ac/dc wires - shifts production burdens to some poor sap somewhere else.

Consider the opposition to wind: why build a wind farm near some lovely guest home on the Cape when you can build a coal plant in West Virginia? The poor folks (and WV is a very poor state), will take the coal plant and see their homes turn grey, their mountains cut to shreds, their lungs turn black. And Cape Cod will be sunny, pretty, free from harm, at the cost of someone else's life.

I realize this sounds extreme, but look at the coal / oil / hydrocarbon executives who lobby Congress for tax breaks for gas and coal production, freedom from pollution controls, etc. and then spend the weekends in Bozeman, Montana. They don't see the effects of the damage they're doing, as, well - they get to live in an idyllic mountain valley.

Until we can develop fusion, energy production will be ugly. Sad, but true. Windmills are not at all perfect, but are hell of a lot better, IMHO, than some coal plant choking the lungs of those folks who cannot afford a second home in luxury land. I wish those who always say NIMBY! would accept some responsibility for their own choices, and recognize the need to share the burden of energy production.

This is an economic case of externalities being allocated to those with the least political power, the least influence, the least chance of fighting back. Putting the plant on the cheapest land may be accounting wise efficient, but may be bad policy. We either have the windmills, or the coal plant, or the nuke, but somewhere power must be generated.

Re:NIMBY, Externalities, Fairness (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15177126)

I realize this sounds extreme, but look at the coal / oil / hydrocarbon executives who lobby Congress for tax breaks for gas and coal production, freedom from pollution controls, etc. and then spend the weekends in Bozeman, Montana. They don't see the effects of the damage they're doing, as, well - they get to live in an idyllic mountain valley.

While I concur with what you've said, the "eye pollution" argument seems totally unfounded to me even if it were valid that aesthetics somehow trump solutions to the energy crisis.

I was up at the Melancthon Grey Wind Project on my way to Tobermory a few years back. It's spectacular. I imagine that offshore wind turbines would be nothing short of awe inspiring, frankly.

Fuck the Kennedys. Seriously.

Fusion isn't a panacea (2, Interesting)

podperson (592944) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177210)

Fusion will lead to thermal pollution. Most of our problems can be reduced by (a) birth control and (b) energy conservation.

Environmental realism (1)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176994)

Well in general wind farms suck. They actually take enough energy out of the air to make a difference to the environment. That shouldn't be a big surprise, after all wind doesn't really have that much energy in it in the first place compared to water, geothermal, etc.

Nuclear is great if done right, like reactors that cannot melt down. If only the administration's nuclear policy was promoting those. Nope, they want the crappy ones that can poison everything for hundreds of miles so they can get more corporate welfare and tax breaks maintaining them.

It would be pretty good if we liquified coal and removed the sulfur and other pollutants, but instead we are just relax the quality standards so we can put even more murcury into the air to poison us.

So green energy is not really about the source, it's how it is done. You can put some windmills in, but not a freakin million of them. But I can tell you, if we spend 500 billion dollars on any kinds of green energy we would be in a much better place than we are now.

Re:Environmental realism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15177077)

"They actually take enough energy out of the air to make a difference to the environment."

Do you have a reference for this?

Re:Environmental realism (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15177080)

Quote: "Well in general wind farms suck. They actually take enough energy out of the air to make a difference to the environment."

In exactly what way? Given the absurd nature of your statement, I think a little more proof than your unfounded assertion is required. How does removing this energy from the environment make a meaningful different?

Re:Environmental realism (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15177093)

"They actually take enough energy out of the air to make a difference to the environment. That shouldn't be a big surprise, after all wind doesn't really have that much energy in it in the first place compared to water, geothermal"

Where in the slithering, fiery pits of lowest Gehenna do you get this idea? Wind farms "take enough energy out of the air to make a difference to the environment"??? I really hope you are being sarcastic, or you are high on several forms of psychoactive toads.

To counter your assertion, I will offer the exact same evidence you have: none.

Re:Environmental realism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15177142)

Well in general wind farms suck. They actually take enough energy out of the air to make a difference to the environment.

I've heard some wacky shit before but this one is new.

Wind farms are just a bad idea from an efficiency standpoint. THey have to have cyclotrons to sync up their generated power with the grid. Add to that the cost in energy of making the huge blades and transporting them and it is hardly worth it.

But it makes people feel better

Woo Woo x 1,000,000,000,000,000 (2, Funny)

ellem (147712) | more than 8 years ago | (#15176999)

Live with that 24/7/365 and tell me how great it is!

Fill my lungs with soot but don't make me hear a Whispering Homer!

Irradiate my nuts into useless glowing rasins but don't make me crosseyed staring at PinWheels!

Besides aren't there poor people somewhere with wind?

Windmills along the PA Turnpike (4, Insightful)

sczimme (603413) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177017)

There is a bank of windmills visible from the PA Turnpike, somewhere in the western half of the state. I would suggest that such areas - those adjacent to major traffic arteries - would be excellent locations for wind-based power generation. Quite often the land surrounding the turnpikes and interstates isn't exactly prime residential land, so the NIMBYism might be kept to a minimum.

From The Fine Article: They are right to note that wind will not soon replace coal or gas, that wind isn't always as effective as supporters claim

I find this viewpoint frustrating: "it won't solve all of our problems at once so it is not worth pursuing". We might actually need a combination of solutions to the energy problem - imagine that.


Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177018)

It's as simple as that. Everybody wants cheap renewable energy, nobody wants to have it generated in their own back yard.

No matter how unobtrusive, there are downsides to all power generation. Windmills happen to have viewshed issues. From the numbers I've seen, the return on investment isn't ver good either. A project in VA had a ROI of less than 12%, assuming the turbines were running at design output 24/365 (I know, it's usually 24/7/365, but that seems redundant), and disregarding any maintenance costs and infrastructure improvements. Not exactly a formula for riches.

What is apparent is what we've known all along: Regardless of political stripe, rich people don't want to be bothered with the stuff that runs their lives. Ugly is what happens elsewhere...for the good of mankind, of course.

I wonder... (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177021)

Is this backed by the oil industry? You know, the people who'd like us to have low fuel economy, encourage us to drive during a fuel shortage... Well that, and the age old NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).

Issues (1)

dosle (794546) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177022)

I don't know about you but I personally would not mind a few windmills in my view. I used to drive from wisoncins to illinois and I always liked going past the windmill farms. Kind of mixes up the scenery a bit and its for a good cause. Would I want to directly live below one? No.

Anybody here ever heard of the Grand Coulee Dam? (4, Interesting)

mmell (832646) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177061)

Y'know, it's actually impossible for us in the USA to repeat that kind of engineering feat - not that we lack the technology, the skill, the resources . . . just the willingness to acknowledge that TANSTAAFL (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, R. Heinlein), that if we want our lifestyle and our standard of living, something's gotta give. Somewhere there has to be a refinery, or a power plant, or a wind-farm, or a hydroelectric dam.

Nowadays, there's no way to legally replicate such marvellous accomplishments as our fathers bequeathed to us. No more Hoover Dams, no more offshore drilling, no more drilling in the wilderness. Mind you, I hold nature worthy of preservation but I also hold technology worthy of furtherance. There must be a balancing point somewhere; we seem to have missed it.

You ever think that our grandparents are only dieing of old age because their progeny is embarassing them? Just sayin', is all.

Enviornmentalists Are Harming The Enviornment (2, Insightful)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177070)

This is just another example of a larger trend. Enviornmentalists and Enviornmental groups sabatoging enviornmental progress by insisting on perfection. By refusing to comprimise or to throw their weight behind the less damaging projects/praise those who implement them enviornmentalists sabatoge their own cause.

I mean consider this from the perspective of a company, or even country thinking of implementing some measures to minimize the enviornmental harm of their actions. If they know that they will still get bad press from the enviornmental lobby for the damage/harm they are still doing rather than praise for improving their act they have little incentive to improve. In fact making small steps which will be met with criticisms that they don't go far enough can actually make for worse publicity than doing nothing at all.

This is part of a greater refusal on the part of enviornmentalists to prioritize and to admit that enviornmental values, while important, need to trade off with human values. For instance by refusing to even consider (maybe it won't turn out to be worth it but it should be considered) nuclear power enviornmentalists guarantee that we will continue to use coal fired power plants and risk global warming. Sure it might be possible in theory to acheive this goal by all using our own solar panels and other solutions in practice this has a great deal of problems and people are resistant to this level of change. Only by favoring comprimise and slight improvement where politically possible can we get real progress.

Worse, by refusing to prioritize the enviornmental movement makes sure many people don't take them seriously. Go look at the pages of major enviornmental groups or read their newsletters. You see articles about the extinction of some fuzzy forest creature written in the same alarmist tone and message of impending disastor as the warnings about global warming. No wonder people don't take global warming as seriously as they should when implicitly the enviornmental groups put it at the same level as the sort of species extinction that has been occuring for years with limited impact.

If we want to get anything done the enviornmentalists groups need to buckle down and make some hard choices. They need to stop appearing to favor the enviornment over people and instead tell people why saving the enviornment is in people's best interest. Also they need to clearly prioritize and tell us that globabl warming is far more serious than threats to habitate and wildlife and praise projects that help prevent global warming EVEN IF THEY DESTROY HABITAT OR HARM SOME ANIMALS.

A Choice (1)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177157)

To be clear yes I realize that major responsible enviornmental groups favor wind energy even when it kills birds and will make other small choices like this one.

However, in less clear cut cases they usually choose not to antagonize their members/activists by dismissing concerns about habitat or extinction as less important than those about global warming or even other sorts of habitat.

Or to put it differently there is a fringe group of enviornmental activists who believe that the enviornment is more important than people and that we should entierly give up our modern style of living to save this enviornment. Also there are many small groups of activists who each have their own favorite cause/creature. As one might expect these organizations try to avoid antagonizing these core members by explicitly deprioritizing their concerns or praising projects which harm these causes but help more important goals.

This is a strategy that works great if you want to stay a vocal minority but if you want to go mainstream and convince Americans in general that enviornmentalism is a serious concern and global warming isn't just another fuzzy creature extinction (might be bad but isn't that big a deal) you need to create public confidence that you have similar values and priorities as they do and that means very publicly and explicitly prioritizing in this case.

FUD (2)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177082)

I don't doubt that there are those who think that windmills would ruin their property values. To them I say, gee, windmills didn't seem to hurt Holland too much that way. On a nasty thought, I think that the utilities trying to build the windfarm should have first proposed a garbage or coal-powered plant that would belch thick black soot all over their mansions, and then backed off to a wind farm saying, "OK, OK, FINE! We'll build a wind farm instead."

However, my suspicious side wonders if this isn't a subtle and carefully orchestrated case of Big Oil FUD. Who better to benefit in times of astronomic oil prices when the public is screaming to politicians then to point to these anti-wind groups and say, see, they're no better.

biofuel is bad too??? (2, Insightful)

Tearfang (881364) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177105)

From the article "Already, there are activists gearing up to fight the nascent biofuel industry, on the grounds that fields of switch grass or cornstalks needed to produce ethanol will replace rainforests and bucolic country landscapes." This sounds like a script from an 80's sci-fi movie where a comp is trying to reason: biofuel farms bad.... biofarms bad... bio bad... people are bio... ... people bad

Aren't these windmills.... (0, Flamebait)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177109)

...made of aluminium, which as wel all know, are extracted from bauxite (I think is the correct ore if not spelling) using electrolysis (Yep, spelling is going futher away).

Now I've always wondered, how much power does the average windmill make in its life time, as apposed to the energy used to extract the aluminium, machine/shape it into a windmill, build it then hook it up.

If i had to bet on the windmill making up all that lost energy on making it exist I'd not dare put on more than a few pennies.

Wealthy elites make bad environmentalists. (3, Insightful)

dominion (3153) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177125)

People really need to differentiate between environmentalists (ie, people who have a sincere concern about the air we breath, the water we drink, the land we cultivate, and everything inbetween) and NIMBY rich people who don't want an eyesore in their costly scenic view.

Sure, NIMBY rich people might claim that what they want is to save the environment, but really, all they want is to maintain their property values.

Absolute stupidity (3, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177127)

I've seen no end of moronic arguments about this stuff. Some of the "better examples":

  • "It'll hurt the birds". Right. Birds are too stupid to avoid a large group of spinning windmills...
  • "There will be a lot of diesel fuel stored on the platform, it could spill and be a disaster!" The diesel is for equipment used for maintenance and repair- and isn't all that big compared to an oil tank used in residential setups
  • "The vibrations will confuse whales!"
  • "They'll be hideous to look at." Uh, sure- if you sail right up to them. From the beach in most places, you'd barely be able to see them.
  • "They'll be a navigation hazard." Right, because they won't have giagantic radar signatures for commercial boats with Radar, they won't be marked on charts, they won't have marker lights...
  • "We don't need them." Funny. Is that why Cape Cod electric rates are astronomical?

I hate this crap. They're terrified of their property values dropping, so they are desperately trying to fight it any way they can, digging up any idea they can come up with for why this is stupid. Wind power works great in a lot of european countries, without any nasty "ecological impacts".

Maybe they'd like a nuclear power plant on Nantucket instead? How about a coal-fired electric plant? Maybe they'd like their electric bill to quadruple to pay for solar panels that won't last more than 15 years?

Re:Absolute stupidity (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177190)

"It'll hurt the birds". Right. Birds are too stupid to avoid a large group of spinning windmills..."
the windmills in CA. killed over 6000 birds in one year.

Wrong energy source (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177164)

Atomic plants would have had a strongy lobbying group behind it than windmills...

Environmentalists hate humans (0)

NewIntellectual (444520) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177172)

This article is a surprise only to those deluded enough to believe that environmentalists are about "less pollution" and the like. What they're about is a blind, raging hatred of humanity - everything humans do, and everything humans need to survive. Check every single story you read about environmentalists and that is the sole premise that fits every one. Try it, you'll find it clarifying.

What would they like to do about it? One, described here 7/feature1p/index.html [] would like to see the human race destroyed by an airborne variant of Ebola. He is far from alone.

they kill birds and bats (1)

catfoo (576397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177180)

if you didn't get the memo you should look up the data on raptor and bat deaths associated with large wind farms. just because its not a hydrocarbon creator doesn't make it clean. look at the effect of hydroelectric plants on salmon and other fish species. if this is a NIMBY issue then ask yourself why would it be a NIMBY issue if they are so charming as Anne Applebaum says they are.

First Hand on Wind Mills (1)

Brothernone (928252) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177181)

When i was a kid growing up in Cali. I remember hills and hills full of windmills generating power. I'm sure there weren't that many, but I liked to watch them. The big problem in america today is that everyone is paying attention to one thing: "ME RIGHT NOW". Without the windmill's the scenery looks better... but in 10 years, we'll all be in a major energy crunch and they'll beg for alternative power. Fossil Fuels won't last forever (the oil companies have THAT part right) and sooner or later people will realize alternative power means more power, and more power means less cost. Untill then lets all enjoy the costs of fossil fuels as major oil producers continue to report record profits for the third quarter running.

hardly environmentalists (2, Informative)

sentientbrendan (316150) | more than 8 years ago | (#15177224)

It seems wildly inaccurate to call these guys environmentalists...

Don Young in particular is one of the guys trying to get us to drill in ANWR (alaska national wildlife reserve). He receives a lot of money from the oil industry, and in the past suggested that the world trade center attacks might have been carried out by "eco-terrorists"... _1_13/ai_82352618 []
>Young told a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News that responsibility could lie with groups other than
>Islamic fundamentalists. "If you watched what happened in Genoa, in Italy, and even in Seattle, there's
>some expertise in that field," said Young. "I'm not sure they're that dedicated, but ecoterrorists ...
>there's a strong possibility that could be one of the groups."

Its surprising how often oil industry figures and others are able to hijack environmentalist sentaments in this country...
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