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Windmills stir up opposition

In many parts of the U.S. you can't simply put up a windmill to generate electricity for your own use.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor on

In many parts of the U.S. you can't simply put up a windmill to generate electricity for your own use. Grandpa may have used one to pump water out on the farm, but now it's NIMBY time. After all, one of them might topple over and kill the neighbor's cat. Can we get real? When was the last time somebody was killed by a falling windmill? How many thousands sicken and die from diseases directly or indirectly caused by the pollution and products directly linked to the fossil fuel industry? Just the current expose of polluted drinking water is reason enough to use more wind power.That said, we do need to pay attention to screening the devices so they don't slice and dice every creature that flies. LIAR! In fine Congressional fashion, I scream "liar" at the reporter who wrote the "Times" piece on windmills. It's a small point, but critical in popular misunderstanding of wind power. The piece says, "Wind turbines need to be at least 30 feet higher than anything within 500 feet, including trees, which often means a tower of 80 feet or more...The wind needs to blow at least 12 miles an hour for a turbine to generate electricity...." Wrong on both counts. Here's visual proof:

These two wind powered generators sit on a hops farm a few miles from my house. They are about thirty feet tall, total. Their total diameter is less than ten feet each. They will generate electricity with tiny breezes of less than five miles per hour. Here's the local paper piece on their construction. There's even a video. These turbines, clearly unknown to New York based media, are made by Mariah Power. They call their rotating turbines "Windpsire." Mariah's based in Reno, the equipment is manufactured in Minnesota. These units are specificalloy designed for home or rural use, not industrial apps, not with 100-foot towers. More cats are killed by cars than by windmills, you can look it up. DO THE NUMBERS Do the numbers, urges one talkback. "How much energy is recoverable, year in, year out, for vertical turbine blades? What percentage of the US' domestic energy usage does that amount to? This is very basic arithmetic." Because home wind doesn't scale to utility-size we ignore it? In some cities it is now illegal to hang your laungry outside to dry. Might lower somebody property values, if they have any left. We need to grow up. Boy, if I really thought all that mattered were some calculations and somebody's profit margin, then green tech is worthless. It's actually about what remains and what survives after we finish using all the resources we want and trashing everything we don't have any immediate use for. Even the direct psychological link between making some of your own electricity and thus becoming more aware and adept at NOT wasting power, is worth some investment. Now we flip a switch and let 'er rip. Most Amercian electric switches don't have timers, they just keep running. We don't even have off/on switches for our wall sockets. Those are standard many other places.

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