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Weighing Different Renewable Energy Options

Essay by   •  May 12, 2011  •  766 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,173 Views

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I wonder how we can resolve the conundrum that while renewable energy can help resolve the world-wide accumulation of manmade global warming gases, few want wind farms near them. Most people like the idea of windmills added to our power grid, providing us with a non-polluting energy source--until it threatens their area. So, how can it happen? I don't remember anyone having a choice about a hydro-electric dam stopping up their river or a coal-burning power plant, which pollutes the air with particulates, too much carbon dioxide, and mercury. I don't remember community groups getting up in arms about a far more insidious form of energy--nuclear power.

But, it seems every time a community is faced with having a windmill farm near them, they get up in arms about how it will change the aesthetics of their landscape, or the blades falling off, or ice coming off, bird and bats kills, or the flicker effect, or the noise, or something. This is strange because residents near nuclear or coal-burning power plants have, in all probability, far graver health and environmental problems than those who live near a windmill. Moreover, in our area we presently get 25% of our energy from Russell Station (rated as one of the dirtiest coal-burning plants in the country), which means that those who are fighting against wind power in their area are probably doing so while enjoying energy supplied by a very polluting energy source.

In my opinion, I think we are condemned to hitch our future on the horrific nature of oil (war and pollution) and nuclear energy (in which the problems at Yucca Mountain highlight just how impossible it is going to be to deal with spent fuel rods) unless we find a solution to creating wind farms, which are the only quick, viable energy alternatives to our tremendous increase in energy needs. There are other forms of renewable energy sources --solar, geothermic, etc.Ð'--and conservation plans, but none can at this time complete with dirty oil and gas.

What concerns me too is that the argument that our country (we burn 25% of the oil in the world for energy) needs to find energy alternatives is not being heard in small, rural communities. It seems to me that if given a choice communities will always choose not to have large windmill near them. What about the argument that rural New Yorkers have a significant resource here (lots of wind) which means that we have an opportunity to give something back to the country and to the planet--even if it means compromising some of our previously pristine views of what constitutes our environment?

Part of the problem is that the complete ledger of what is involved in the energy problem has not been accurately described in our media. Editors and reporters in our major media, who determine just

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