Retired Helper, Coming from an island nation like NZ, I can't understand why wind power isn't utilised as much as it should be here.
I mean, everytime I've ever been to the beach, fishing here, the wind is always blowing.
The turbines would be out of the way of the people that like complaining about "turbine noise" and "visual pollution". Oddly enough, these are usually the same people that complain about the price of thier latest electricity bill.
The writer, while hardly a disinterested observor, clearly makes the case for the efficiency and payback of the large-scale installations. If his numbers are accurate, it would seem to slam the lid on backyard wind turbines, with the exception of those mounted by well-to-do hobbyists. Whatever your opinion, you've gotta love his coining (?) BANANA: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.
The wind is here tonight in Maine, with gusts up to 40 mph. Unfortunately, the air temp is about 9 degrees F. I gotta figure it's a lot more pleasant in NZ right now.
If you want to see what happens when otherwise "green" people are faced with actually having a wind farm in their back yard look at the "Cape Wind" project. A significant number of the people who have been telling us how horrible fossil fuels are (John Kerry, Mitt Romney and the whole Kennedy clan) suddenly changed their tune when you could see it from their house. From what I have seen of small wind installations is they seem to be using them for load leveling. If you watch a while you will see them feathering and reloading the turbines. I assume they can tune this faster than a coal plant or maybe just more efficiently.
I am being courted by a solar company here. They have shaved the proposal and shaded the rebates to get me down to a 10 year pay off assuming everything works as planned. I seriously thinking about it. I still have some homework to do, like what brand of hardware am I getting and whether that is a good brand. I also want more of the technical info. I am most interested in the solar pool pump, since it is the simplest (just a collector array and a DC motor) and least critical in operation.
Turbulent times at present in the whole energy scenario. Putting aside whether Man Made Global Warming is real or a figment of mad scientists' imaginations [with the present fiddled data scandals in the UK], it seems to me that new natural gas finds and extraction technogies in the States and elsewhere will usher in a new era of cheap clean abundant fuel. If that proves to be the case, alternate energies like wind are likely to be a dead duck.
Gas-fired generation is the fastest & cheapest way to get electrickery on-line; it is ultra clean and the lowest in carbon of all fuels except uranium or faffing about cutting ducks in half with windmills.
Of course there are other sources of fossil fuel, that is why the greenies had to invent the CO2 scare. I am old enough to remember when the goal was to make car exhaust nothing but water vapor and CO2 "the harmless gas in soda pop". (and then they showed a soft drink being poured). We are approaching that, so the car haters needed to do something. The problem is, they have created inevitable doomsday with their predictions. The goal of 350ppm is behind us (~380 now). If you look at the research, the rise of CO2 tracks population growth and to get back to 350 ppm we would have to reduce the population by about 2 billion. I suppose the nuclear war after the destruction of the global economy with this carbon tax would do it.
Shrewd plan huh?
A am not sure what is most arrogant, thinking man changed the climate or thinking we can stop the change by throwing a Hummer in the volcano. The history of man is a history of mass migrations because of global climate change. Why are we so arrogant as to think we can change that?