Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Warming Wednesdays: wind power is coming

Who knew? Though all the noise is about Canadian tar sands and fracking for natural gas, it turns out that "in 2012 wind was the fastest-growing energy source" in the U.S. Here's the picture as put out by the Climate Desk and Mother Jones.

new-renewables-560.jpg

Weirdly, none of this wind power comes from offshore installations like those quite common off European countries. Four factors have inhibited offshore wind development:
  • Need for federal money to get the projects started. In the current fiscal mess, it would be hard for developers to bet on anything that required Congressional cooperation.
  • NIMBYs and impacted local business like fishermen have slowed projects.
  • The United States has no ships capable of planting a 450-ton 400 foot wind turbine on the ocean floor. Current U.S. maritime law requires that any installation be accomplished by a U.S. flag ship.
  • State governments and the feds haven't figured out how to work together on the necessary approvals.
The linked Mother Jones article on all this is really eye-opening.

But on land, wind is happening. Why just the other day, in my inner-city urban neighborhood, I noticed this on one of the rare new buildings:
urban-windmill.jpg
We sure have enough wind when the San Francisco fog rolls in.

Despite every other legitimate concern, we cannot ignore that our economic and social system is rapidly making the planet less habitable. So I will be posting "Warming Wednesdays" -- reminders of an inconvenient truth.

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