Nantucket NIMBYs* Mocked On “The Daily Show”

Ra-ther!

Haven’t you been warned?

Now, this is “The Daily Show,” and their satire is relatively benign.  It makes fun of the rich, some of whom happen to be environmentalists or Kennedys.  But what it only glancingly hits is the destructive hypocrisy on display.  Why should a farming community or a rural town put up with the admitted blight of a wind farm if the these people won’t put up with the minimal intrusion of Cape Wind?

Are we serious about global warming or not?  Seems like too many advocates are more focused on trying to convince the bitter-enders that the phenomenon is real (see this week’s Newsweek cover), and not focused enough on pushing past the special-interest opposition to getting vital projects like Cape Wind built.

*NIMBY = Not In My Back Yard

4 thoughts on “Nantucket NIMBYs* Mocked On “The Daily Show”

  1. It is more than ironic that in one post you bemoan the loss of the river dolphin, then espouse the virtues of “big wind”. Industrial scale wind farms are killers of large numbers of birds and bats, but these adverse ecological effects tend to be ignored by “environmentalists” who think global warming is the only peril facing the planet. We are also in the midst of an extinction crisis if you didn’t notice from your last post. Environmentalists should not have a knee-jerk support for industrial wind simply because it does not emit CO2. It has significant — and inhumane — impacts on wildlife that will only increase with the size and scope of these massive projects. Rather, you should support distributed wind and solar projects that pose no such dangers and democratize energy production.

  2. 1. Can distributed wind projects ever be cost-effective?

    2. How do you know that distributed wind power will kill any fewer birds and bats than industrial-scale?

    It would seem to me that centralized projects are more efficient, meaning fewer blades per kwh. In addition, bigger projects can also do more to mitigate the damage, which can be done.

    There are trade-offs in every alternative power scenario, environmental and economic. That’s why I keep using the refrain, “if we’re serious.” If we’re serious, if global warming is the most critical environmental issue facing our world, then we have to stop pretending there is an environmental Big Rock Candy Mountain out there.

  3. Second question first. There is absolutely no evidence that small, distributed wind and solar installations kill birds or bats at all. This results from a number of factors. Distributed wind projects are built next to the user and not out in the middle of habitat or on ridgelines that might be migratory pathways for birds. The turbines are much smaller and shorter and many designs are available that have no risk to birds and bats (e.g., vertical axis turbines).

    Small scale, roof and barn-top turbines do not create the impacts that would need to be mitigated so being small is no disadvantage. Smaller projects don’t always create a scaled down version of the impacts of larger project. The relationship between size and impacts is not always linear, but a threshold function. And avoiding impacts is always better than mitigating them.

    As to your first question. Yes. And if you want to talk about cost-effective, let’s remove all the subsidies from the system and see what is cost-effective. The economics of energy production is profoundly distorted by public investment. We need only re-focus the public subsidies in the direction of these technologies for them to be “cost-effective”.

    There are certainly trade-offs in energy production, it is just disappointing that environmentalists are always willing to sell out other species without a second thought. Unless your compassion for other species starts and stops with river dolphins, you ought to be pushing for small-scale wind and solar instead of these mega-wind projects.

  4. Solar power is the obvious source of future energy. Wind is fine and may have some good uses but the sun is powerful beyond imagination. In less time than it takes to reads this post the sun will have delivered more power to the earth than we could use in a year. The efficiency of solar panels is steadily improving too. One report said that a 100 by 100 square mile solar collection farm in Nevada (about 10% of that state) would be enough to power all of America’s power needs. No, that’s not a liberal, American-hating fantasy. It’s from our own government http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/myths.html You don’t need a nuclear scientist to see the potential. In fact, you don’t need nuclear or coal or natural gas period. You could cover Yucca Mountain’s planned nuclear repository and the enormous Wyoming coal pits with with solar panels. Pumping water uphill into large reservoirs during the day (to use one just solution for storage of power) allows 24/7 electrical generation from solar. Of course that 100 miles square of panels need not cover part of Nevada or Wyoming alone. It could be distributed on rooftops and smaller solar farms in every state of the union. Oh, and yes, you can generate plenty of solar power in Maine. Visit http://www.solarhouse.com/ The fact is that solar is the “Big Rock Candy Mountain” of sustainable, renewable, safe and clean power and the technology is here today. The only thing that isn’t here today is the political will. The fossil fuel energy industry has spent many millions to convinced you and your law makers otherwise. But the expense and practicality of solar is a lot less than you’d think, especially when compared to subsidized oil, coal and natural gas, not to mention the serious health costs of fossil fuel burning and the enormous upcoming costs of global warming. And, how about that threat of terrorism that so dominates our lives? It’s unlikely that a terrorist would ever attack a solar farm. Of course, there’s more good news. If we generated all the electricity we needed at home from solar, we probably wouldn’t be fighting endless wars over there. What’s that worth?

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