Wind Power: Because the Desert Blows
Trekking to the west coast of America a few weeks back, Rob and I were pleasantly surprised by how many wind turbines we saw. The only wind turbine that I can think of in the Dallas/Fort Worth area is located above a Wal-Mart and it barely spins, so my experience in seeing turbines hasn’t been a positive one. It was encouraging to see such progress on the energy front, with the turbines out west spinning at a pretty good clip.
I understand there is a debate over energy from some who believe that wind power still “pollutes” nature by having to put the turbines along our beautiful, majestic landscapes. While some may see this as a bad thing, after driving thousands of miles during this trip, the wind turbines were taking up a very small percentage of the scenery. When we did pass by them, they were awe-inspiring; seeing nature and technology working together to produce energy only gave me hope for the future.
Another argument against the wind turbines is that it kills birds. They do, yes, but not in an exorbitant amount. In fact, considering all the spinning they do, they have a pretty good track record compared to other man-made/owned things (stats provided by How Stuff Works):
- Feral and domestic cats – Hundreds of millions of bird deaths per year
- Power lines – 130 million to 174 million bird deaths per year
- Windows (residential and commercial) – 100 million to 1 billion bird deaths per year
- Pesticides – 70 million bird deaths per year
- Automobiles – 60 million to 80 million bird deaths each year
- Lighted communication towers 40 million — 50 million bird deaths each year
- Wind turbines – 10,000 — 40,000 bird deaths each year
And though each bird death caused by wind turbines is obviously sad, Audubon has come out in favor of wind power, stating:
Audubon strongly supports properly-sited wind power as a clean alternative energy source that reduces the threat of global warming. Wind power facilities should be planned, sited and operated to minimize negative impacts on bird and wildlife populations.
Seeing that wind turbines will help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, we’ll most likely save more birds because this will help prevent damage to our environment in the long run.
Wind turbines in the Pacific northwest have been producing so much energy that they find themselves with an over-abundance of power. What to do with that energy? Put it in the ground! National Geographic reports, “Recent research from scientists at BPA and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory suggests porous rocks deep in the Earth could store the wind’s intermittent power and make it possible to deploy renewable energy on command.” If they are able to store the wind power, the benefit of this would be during tremendous during months when winds may not be so blustery.
The turbines were something to behold after driving through those miles of barren deserts. Rob and I enjoyed seeing them and they put a smile on our faces when they graced us with their appearance.