Climate Race: Wind Rabbit & Nuclear Tortoise


We have some more wind power myths to tend to below the fold. But we'd like to frame them, first, with the increased plausibility of an oncoming climate emergency. Here are the future drivers for the single scenario we'll look at. Per capita power consumption is increasing in many nations, but especially in US with high levels of immigration, homes full of appliances, and all things digital. To mitigate a coming climate crisis, we have a decade or less in which to begin a serious transition to lifestyles which are less carbon intensive. What mix of new electricity generation capacities will we build and why?A new nuclear plant needs around a decade to get up and running, from concept to completion. Possibly less time would be needed if all goes well; or more if the public hearings get dicey or if government runs out of incentive money. A majority of the US population senses that dramatic climate changes are underway; yet, only a small minority believes that cultural sources are the primary cause. We don't think a responsive and aware majority will arise in time to get a large number of new nuclear generation plants under construction withing the next 10 years. See where this is heading?

Nuclear is not going to satisfy the growing demand in the near term. What else can? A wind farm takes 1 or 2 years to complete from the get-go. Again, some will drag on, such as the Cape Wind Project, and others will pop up like mushrooms on a rainy August night. On the average, lets go with 3 years.

Kind of a "no brainer" as we US folk like to say. Wind fills the short term demand growth. And Generation II nuclear plants complete with "dirty coal" for the long term Federal subsidies. As existing baseline plants reach end of design life new nuclear and/or new coal plants will go in to balance the supply. If the needed cultural changes come, then to total new capacity investments can be lowered.

In areas where new nuclear capacity is not provided, for whatever reason, traditions can change to make survival more fun. What say you we abandon the concept of the weekend off work and substitute windless days off work?

Hear Ye All Climate Skeptics: the scenario described above would work just as nicely even if the "climate crisis" does not materialize. A decision that works under multiple scenarios is the best kind, we think.

As for the myths that most need to be demolished, here they are:

  • Wind Turbines are a Nuisance
  • Turbine Lighting is Excessive
  • Nearby Residences Will be Affected by Shadow Flicker
  • Turbines Interfere with Television and Other Communications Signals
  • Turbines are Ugly
  • Wind Turbines Do Not Benefit Local Communities
  • Wind Projects Depress Tourism
  • Wind Projects Don't Contribute to the Local Tax Base
  • Wind Turbines aren't Safe
  • Blades Cause Dangerous Ice Throw
  • Turbines May Throw Blades or Collapse
  • Wind Turbines are Expensive and Unreliable

For the de-mythologizing pdf please look here.