Monday, January 26, 2009

Comments re: Wind and Power Blowhards

Comments or parts thereof from the thread of Wind and Power Blowhards are in italics.

My responses are in plain

Cks said . . .

The greenies are all in favor of green technology as long as the accouterments necessary to bring about the green revolution do not impinge on their surroundings - it is ok, however if the lower orders have their views from their windows obscured[.]

Absolutely! There's no point being a high-powered greenie if you have to live near a wind farm.

BTW - Did you know most liberal scholars now agree there were at least 5 species of unicorns but no wind farms in Camelot?

JohnO @ 7:55 - - -

One fact is sure, there will no longer be a "business as usual" approach to energy policy. America's current energy grid can not be sustained.

There is so much graft and political influence in energy politics – green and fossil both. Can we really get at least partially free of our energy-politics-as-usual practices? I hope so.

Anon @ 8:07 - - -

They should probably put all the wind farms in "flyover" country. Who cares if the hicks out in Oklahoma have these things messing up their landscape?

I know your tongue's in your cheek but most of the “stick the wind farms in Kansas, not in Teddy's oceanfront” crowd don’t understand there are costs associated with transporting energy to densely populated areas; those costs including energy loss as it travels from source to user.

drew said.- - -

John, I am perhaps one of those you describe as using "summer" as a verb - I have a place on Nantucket, and try to get there at least a couple of weeks each summer.

It was the WSJ editorialists who described people as using “summer” as a verb.

For the rest of the summer, it's an investment property; in the other three seasons, it's a substantial chore and a significant expense.

In my rather limited perspective, it seems that the people most opposed to Cape Wind are "mainlanders"; i.e., the folks who are concerned about their views of the sound, or the impact on other very local infrastructure. For Nantucketers, the impact would largely be negligible.

Everything on the island (apart from fog and wind) needs to be imported over the water. That includes gasoline, food, drinking water (sometimes), toilet paper and the like. To get to the island, these goods travel by ferry - the Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Steamship Authority.

And guess who essentially controls the Steamship Authority? The Kennedy family largely selects the Authority members, and pushes their appointments through the political process.

Travel to the islands is not inexpensive - taking the car to Nantucket is over $400 each season, which is why many people just leave an old car on the island year-round if they have a place to stash it in the off-season and someone to keep the battery charged.

But the economic incentive to the islanders from Cape Wind is diminished somewhat - some years ago, the islands were successful in getting an undersea electrical cable installed, and all electricity is now brought from the Cape to the islands by cable. Previously, it was generated locally on the island using fuel oil.

As a frame of reference, understand that gasoline was over $6 a gallon this past summer on Nantucket (remember, it's based on mainland prices plus the cost of bringing it over the Sound. Imagine what the cost of fuel oil would have been - although the "old" generators used bunker fuel (the type used in ships' boilers), the cost of electricity would have probably been 5-6 times what it cost on the mainland this past summer.

So the "island locals" don't benefit much from Cape Wind, except for any host benefits or other government-rigged emoluments that might ensue.

You should also understand that Nantucket Sound is a very large body of water - putting in windmills (while locally disruptive to views from any direction) would not "plug up" the ability to use the water for recreation or fishing.

In fact, the windmills would likely create an in increase in pleasure boat traffic to Nantucket - the island cannot be seen from the mainland (it's over the horizon visually), and the waters are prone to fog.

With a series of windmill towers as a guide, even smaller craft without serious navigation systems could actually make the 30-mile trip and find Nantucket over the horizon.

What most of this brouhaha boils down to is hubris and politics (like many other things do). The Kennedys want to sound and look like they're environmentalists, but they don't want to actually do anything about it, so they pull their considerable strings to make certain that it doesn't come to pass.

Personally, I'd rather see the Gitmo detainees put on a prison ship anchored right off Hyannisport, so that Ted and the clan can see what he has wrought in the Senate. Perhaps with that as an alternative, the calls to close Gitmo will calm down almost overnight, and the Kennedys will let the "bad people" stay in Cuba.

It could be a win/win for all of us.

Drew, how about this: The Gitmo bad guys and the Kennedys get Nantucket all to themselves with a Navy blockade of the island. You and the other Nantucket people get all the Kennedy properties and Gitmo to divide among yourselves?

Wait! Wait! That’s not all.

The Constitution is amended to add 2 Senate and 4 House seats to the Congress; with clauses stating the 6 seats must always be held by people who vacated Nantucket and their direct descendants who are also the only ones eligible to vote in elections for those seats.

Think about it.

And thank you all four for your comments.



drew said...

John, I **suspect** you're only kidding with the extra bonus of House and Senate seats (why do I think that I should be getting a ShamWow along with these?), but part of what you're suggesting has a rather old, but "true" ring to them.

There was a time (IIRC, in the late 1970s) that Nantucketers were completely fed up with the state government in Boston, as well as the federal rules and regulations that were seen (to them) as needless intrusions into their way of life.

Their solution - they would declare independence from the United States, declare war, and lose! Then they would expect to see a Marshall Plan-type rehabilitation of the island's infrastructure, while still maintaining their purported "rights" as a defeated sovereign nation. A flag was selected for the new nation (it still flies over many Nantucket homes and businesses - a silhouette of a whale coupled with a rope border), and the locals had more than a few adult beverages discussing their plans.

Maybe they should have done it after all.......

Anonymous said...

Much of this was based on "The Mouse That Roared" where the Grand Duchy of Fenwick declared war on the United Stated, but sued for peace before a shot was fired. The plan was to live on Foreign Aid.
Key West declared itself The Conch Republic many years ago and every year the locals hold a ceremonial "battle" with US Coast Guard cutters off the Keys.
Despite the unpleasantness of 1861-65, there is nothing in the US Constitution preventing secession. Perhaps the time has come again.
Tarheel Hawkeye