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ETpro's avatar

Was Don Quixote right?

Asked by ETpro (34202 points ) July 10th, 2012

Imagine if Don Quixote traveled to this. The great Don’s worst nightmare, or is it more a nightmare to the Koch Brothers or Don Quixote? Are windmills dragons or harbingers of a cleaner, better future?

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10 Answers

downtide's avatar

I’d rather live near one of those than one of these

augustlan's avatar

Wind energy has its problems, but I sure would prefer it to the problems that come along with mainstream energy sources. The big question, to my mind, is can it replace enough of the current sources to make a significant difference? If so, stop tilting and start building!

flutherother's avatar

I do not like wind farms.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Wind energy does have its problems, but it is only one of the alternative fuel sources, & new wind turbines are being designed that have far less impact on the birds & bats, & they are much much quieter. And if we do not stop using fossil fuels soon, we are going to kill ourselves & the future of our children & our grand children. We should be using a combination of Wind & Solar & Geo-Thermal & Wave generated energy.

ETpro's avatar

@downtide Great Answer. Your story has touched my heart.

@augustlan Not the least of its problems are that the Chinese Communist government is heavily subsidizing their manufactures, allowing them to practice dumping worldwide till they drive all suppliers outside China out of business. Fortunately, the Obama administration finally took action with tariffs. The other big problem is the wind doesn’t always blow in any given location. But that can be resolved with a smart grid.

@flutherother Why? Would you prefer what @downtide linked to?

@Linda_Owl Aha. Yes. Wind turbines aren’t something our avian friends evolved to deal with.

funkdaddy's avatar

Is this a good time to point out that Texas produces the most wind power of any state, by a large margin?

For all the Texas bashing, I just have to point out the good whenever I can.

That said I don’t know if wind will ever be viable for the majority of our power. It feels like it will always be a supplement, maybe a worthwhile supplement, but never “the solution”.

There was a huge wind farm planned in the Texas panhandle, often attributed to Boone Pickens and his Pickens Plan unfortunately it got tied up in logistical issues of getting power from production to use and it was scaled way back a few years ago. Hopefully it was just before it’s time.

I’d love to see coastlines become prime energy production areas because they line up well with population centers. They grew up because of trade by sea, so this would make a happy coincidence going forward. The plan to use the midwest seems rooted in hopes for cheap real estate, and it feels like added complication.

Whatever the strategy I’m glad we’re finally seeing that harnessing natural resources without destroying them has to be the way forward.

Mariah's avatar

I’d say they’re slightly better than climate change, but that’s just my opinion.~

ETpro's avatar

@funkdaddy The whole energy problem revolves around a new, smart grid capable of pushing power where peak demand is, and recording who generated said power so they can be compensated.

funkdaddy's avatar

@ETpro – agreed and appreciated. I think we’re very much on the same page, but just to explain myself a bit.

My thinking is that a lot of times these things get bogged down because of the details. The goal is more sustainable energy sources. The problems are efficiency, storage, transport, and cost.

If you produce power locally then three of the four problems are greatly reduced and efficiency has been on a steady climb. It feels doable today rather than at some point once a few more breakthroughs come along. And those windmills will still produce electricity whether it’s used down the block or a superconducting smart grid takes it across the nation in 50 years.

No one paved the roads until there was enough traffic.

ETpro's avatar

@funkdaddy Google what Germany is doing. They are well along to being energy independent and mostly because every German family feels like they aren’t really True Germans if they have to rely on someone else to generate electrical power for them. Hence they invest motivated not by a 1 year payback, or a 2 year payback, but by a sense of personal pride.

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