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May 17, 2007

New, Smart Approaches to Wind Power Needed

Ars Technica had a good story that you might have missed about a recently published report on Wind Power.

The report highlighted three areas where guidance was sparse. Planning authorities often don't appear to know what information to request from developers of these projects. Even if information is in hand, there are no standards for quantifying adverse and beneficial effects, leaving the balance between them to be decided arbitrarily. When effects are considered, they're often considered in a vacuum, in that no thought is given to alternatives. In other words, if a wind farm isn't built, are there sufficient sources of power in the region? If not, how else might the power be generated?

Although the report doesn't call for national regulation, it suggests that federal agencies are best positioned to develop guidelines that can serve as references for the local authorities. The committee suggests that the first step would be for the appropriate authorities (Energy and Environmental Protection, primarily) to simply begin collecting the relevant data about impacts on the environment and surrounding communities. Given that wind power seems to be in its first real growth period, this may be a unique opportunity to track many of these factors.

They're hitting it right on the head. The local authorities are completely clueless when it comes to wind projects and I think the amount of FUD that gets spread around whenever one is proposed clouds the process so greatly that the project is doomed from the start. It's sad because I strongly believe that wind energy and under water turbines could be the best solution for the impending energy crisis the US and which particularly New England is facing.

There also needs to be a public shift in support of allowing turbines on ridge-lines and other areas where the wind gusts often enough to make their placement worthwhile. We either have to embrace renewable energies warts and all or we're going to have to start building nuclear plants. One thing is for sure, we can't continue to rely on our aging fossil fuel power plants and energy conservation alone won't improve the situation.

Posted in Politics & Law , Vermont by usrbingeek at 2007-05-17 00:57 ET (GMT-5) | 0 Comments | Permalink


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