The Answer My Friend, Is Blowing In The Wind,(Maybe)

Posted: 08/04/2008 in Uncategorized
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Yes the answer my friend, is blowing in the wind. Or maybe it’s not. I guess that would all depend upon what kind of answer we are looking for, of which would depend upon how the question is asked. I think most people will agree that we need to start taking the impact we make upon the habitat we live in more seriously. We need to start reducing our need of carbon based fuels to power the world and reduce the level of harmful emissions that we produce by the combustion of those fuels.

So what is wind power? Well, it’s a neat little way of using the wind to turn a generator or turbine to change physical power, the wind, into electrical power. Perched atop metal towers higher than the tree line, and sometimes containing dozens of towers, these “wind farms” obscure the skyline in a way that some feel is detrimental to the environment. In some ways, these people are right. In California there are estimated to be bird deaths numbering in the tens of thousands. Some of these deaths are reported to be endangered and threatened species. Not a god thing by any means, but sometimes the benefit outweighs the costs.

Here in Maine, we have a great advantage in the wind power industry because of the prevailing wind patterns around the state. There are two areas, or regions particularly suited to the task, and that’s where some problems with the cost come into play. One region is along the coast. The problem here is that nobody seems to want a windmill in their back yard, or should I say, their beach. Offshore platforms are currently being developed in Europe that should solve the problem, but will raise the costs of obtaining that electricity.

One of the great problems leading to the demise of Maine as we used to know it is the influx of people from away. Tourism is one thing, and it makes some bucks for many people along the state, but the ones I am referring to here are the ones that come here and set up housekeeping. Some of them don’t even live here year round. Yet they move in on the established locals, some of whose families have been in the community for centuries, and vote on local issues and push to have things the way they want it. They’ve usually got more money, so they push their weight around to get what they want.

And in spite of the fact that many of them claim to be environmentally conscious, they don’t want to see a one hundred and thirty foot tall metal pole from their custom decks as the watch the North Atlantic roll over the beach. Of course, some people, like the Bushes’ at Walkers Point, stand behind their claims and don’t have a problem with the towers. The cost of having wind power is to have to suffer your view being blocked by those towers. Not a difficult argument, but some people just don’t seem to want to pay the price. Of course, some people are under the assumption that if you belong to TNC and other environmentalists groups, that gives you the license to drive around in an Escalade burning excess fuel and running uyp the wattage in your custom built home with AC and appliances up the Yazoo.

Doesn’t work that way my friends. If you want to be environmentally responsible, you’ve gotta start taking responsibility. All of this energy we use has to come from someplace. We have to decide whether we are going to continue to rely on foreign sources, or are we going to smarten up and learn to be independent for a change. Wind power is a great start, especially here in Maine. We’ve got the wind, why aren’t we using it?

We would have been far along in the game by now if it weren’t for the influence of people from away. One of those influences is the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). There have been a few proposal for the western Maine highlands, which seem to be better suited even that the coastline for wind power, but the fancy pants hikers don’t want to have their view obstructed. Not that I can blame them. The Maine highlands are perhaps some of the most beautiful mountains in the world, (please remember that I am biased here) or at least equal to many of the world’s top hiking destinations. The views are magnificent.

However, we must stop and think for a few moments about the issue at hand. On one side of the coin we have all of these environmentalist groups whining about the affects of carbon based fuels towards our environment. To a point, I am in total agreement with them. But not for the same reasons they oppose the use of carbon based fuels. Personally, I have yet to see any proof that this CO2 issue as a real threat to the environment. The touted theory of global warming has some real flaws in it, and I don’t see as there really is any sound basis for the argument.

But the issue still exists that carbon based fuel usage does in fact cause harm to the environment. The bigger issues should not be the CO2 but the acids and sulfur dioxide emissions that result from the burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuel. That’s where one of my big problems with the environmental lobby comes up. We should not be talking in terms of fossil fuel, but in terms of carbon based fuel.

Baldacci has claimed or suggested that we look towards the building of a bio-fuel industry here in Maine fueled by the wood pellet companies. Sounds like a good plan, but guess what. Wood pellets pump the same pollutants into the air as a barrel of oil does. They are both carbon based, and if you want to reduce the amount of CO2 in the air, why burn wood?

Electrical power in all of its forms provides the cleanest energy choice, but there is a cost attached to its use. We need to generate it somehow, and Maine has two excellent energy sources to produce that clean electrical power. Wind and hydraulic energy is the real answer to clean power. We should be striving to develop both. So what if a few dozen turbines block the view of some hikers on the Appalachian Trail? I would think they would be proud that Maine is taking a stand against the fossil fuel industry and leading the way towards a clean energy future.



I Kings 11,12 …Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

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Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    Your comment about wood pellets is factually incorrect. If we replace some of our oil and coal consumption with wood pellets, we will vastly reduce our carbon emissions.
    Because fossil fuels are sequestered deep underground, they do not release carbon into the atmosphere unless they are burned, while wood products release the same amount of carbon whether they are burned or left to decay naturally. Wood pellets are truly carbon-neutral.
    Please reconsider your opposition to wood pellets and other forms of biomass.

  2. D.L. Soucy says:

    Your comment about wood pellets is factually incorrect. If we replace some of our oil and coal consumption with wood pellets, we will vastly reduce our carbon emissions.
    Because fossil fuels are sequestered deep underground, they do not release carbon into the atmosphere unless they are burned, while wood products release the same amount of carbon whether they are burned or left to decay naturally. Wood pellets are truly carbon-neutral.
    Please reconsider your opposition to wood pellets and other forms of biomass.

    Actually, annon., my comments are factually correct. Carbon based fuel contributes to the level of CO2 in the atmosphere, no matter what the source is. You seem to have missed the point, and that is that we should be looking to reduce all pollustion in the atmosphere. CO2 is just one component, but far from the most hazardous. The big issue surrounding CO2 is the false assumptions by some that it is the cause of global warming, and its reduction will solve the problem.
    The process of heat relectivity in the upper atmosphere claimed to be caused by CO2 is actually caused by water vapor.

    But the bigger issue, again, is that we need to reduce all pollutants caused by combustion,and the only way to do that is through alternate energy sources, and the cleanest, and safest sources are hydrologic and wind power generation.

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