Enviroweenies Proved Wrong...AGAIN
Enviromentalists are always touting wind power, solar power, etc etc, but when a viable wind power farm is set up, they yell that "the birds will die". Well, Writing in the Royal Society's journal Biology Letters, researchers say previous estimates of collision risk have been "over-inflated". Seems the birds are smarter than the enviromentalists and just bypass the wind farms.
I'm afraid Delftsman is on to something here. Anything we build to produce energy can conceivably have a negative effect on the environment. But energy has to come from somewhere and wind is an excellent source. If we look at our environmental policy in terms of realistic choices, wind comes out way ahead: it's completely sustainable, has minimal effects on the environment, doesn't produce pollution, and doesn't have the same disastrous effects on fish populations (although, hydro-electric power also has its advantages). Delftsman's post continues:
And the "experts" are forecasting the demise of caribou herds if Anwar is drilled for oil....these are the same "experts" that predicted the same thing when the Alaska Pipeline was being built...guess what? the herds have almost doubled in size around the pipeline area, because the pipeline heats the area and provides extra food and shelter....
This is where I disagree with Delftsman. Without getting into a debate on the immediate effect of drilling on particular wildlife, I'm extremely wary of these proposals to aggressively go after all the minerals and fossil fuels underfoot as a way to dig ourselves out of fuel shortages. The problem is that our fossil fuels will continue to decline so the costs, both economic and environmental, will continue to rise as we go after more remote resources. We can see the absurdity of such a policy in West Virginia where they're tearing down every mountain in sight to get at coal--a dirty, polluting energy source. If we consider the negative externalities associated with fossil fuel extraction and use, wind power comes out far ahead. And as Delftsman says, the birds will probably figure out a way to live with windmills.
Wired News recently had an excellent article on wind power's potential (excerpt below, bolding mine):
Wind power could generate enough electricity to support the world's energy needs several times over, according to a new map of global wind speeds that scientists say is the first of its kind. The map, compiled by researchers at Stanford University, shows wind speeds at more than 8,000 sites around the world. The researchers found that at least 13 percent of those sites experience winds fast enough to power a modern wind turbine. If turbines were set up in all these regions, they would generate 72 terawatts of electricity, according to the researchers.
That's more than five times the world's energy needs, which was roughly 14 terawatts in 2002, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The researchers readily admit that existing buildings, land rights and other obstacles would make it impossible to set up turbines in every single one of the identified regions. But they point out that even 20 percent of those sites could satisfy world energy consumption as it stands today. More importantly, the study shows that wind can be a feasible alternative to fossil fuels, said study co-author Cristina Archer.
According to the Sierra Club, a single modern wind turbine can produce enough power to meet the annual electricity needs of 500 average homes. And investment in the resource could lead to an economic boom--particularly in rural areas (are you rural Republicans reading this?)
As a growing power source, wind energy can become a major force for economic development. Wind development can save consumers money and bring construction jobs, leasing royalties, and increased tax revenues to local communities. Supplying even 5 percent of the country's electricity with wind power by 2020 would add $60 billion in capital investment in rural America, provide $1.2 billion in new income for farmers and rural landowners, and create 80,000 new jobs.