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Letter From Your Country Cousin

Letter From Your Country Cousin

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Published by ztower
An entertaining look at industrial wind as it impacts our environment.
An entertaining look at industrial wind as it impacts our environment.

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Published by: ztower on Sep 24, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/24/2011

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Dear City Cousin,I know you’re a big fan of those windmills that you see from the interstate highway. I mean thereally big ones, not the ones that do work to pump water. And since I know you don’t have anysuch a thing in the city where you live, I thought I’d write to tell you about what I’ve beenstudying.Sometimes we don’t appreciate all thehard work and sacrifice that goes intobringing a new patch of windmills intothe unproductive mountains we callhome. There’s trees to cut and rocksto be blasted and roads dozed not tomention lots of engineering to be done.The engineering’s probably the mostimportant part because our mountainsdon’t seem to have a lot of wind to offeralthough the developers say the wind’sgreat. Placing those monster windturbines so they don’t steal eachother’s wind is a complicated task on rough ground.Being lucky enough to have the luxury of experiencing several of thosewind turbines located outside my window has given me a rare andspecial opportunity. I guess I never noticed how many directions thewind blows from in the course of a week. You’d think that it would be outof the west, but we get days at a time when it blows from the east.I guess it’s just one of those many things I’ve never thought about.As often as not, the wind blows along the ridge line from the north or south and that brings aquestion to mind. How good did those turbine engineers plan their turbine spacing for thosedays when the first turbine blocks the second the second the third and etcetera, etcetera,etcetera - to quote Yul Brynner. Those engineers must be pretty good though, they’ve got away to make the windmills turn even when the air is perfectly still. And that’s not all. I find itamazing how, even when they’re turned off, the windmills keep changing where they face. Aways back, I hired an airplane and a fella to fly it. We flew over our mountain and, from the air, itseems to me that it was Mother Nature that did the picking of where the turbines might belocated rather than the engineers.I sure hope it wasn’t, because I’m aware of the huge cost of each of those giant structures.Some say it’s around three million just for the hardware, not to mention all the peripherals likeexcavating, wiring, transportation, concrete and of course legal fees to keep those NIMBYs,who get in the way trying to protect their health, safety and property values, at bay. That don’t
 
come cheap. We sure wouldn’t want the investors(that’s us U.S. citizens) to not be getting theirmoney’s worth. With that in my mind, I took it uponme to go across America and find out just what allthe wind power fuss was about. I saw a lot and oneof the first things I learned was a new appreciationfor our Allegheny Mountains, at least those thatdon’t have the windmills yet. When it comes to theUSA, well, most of it’s flat. Flat seems to be thepreferred location for wind farms. I took to callingthose locations “Wind fields” like our “coal fields” orthe Southwest’s, “oil fields”.Those “fields” really bring home the point that the Allegheny Mountains don’t have many places
 
suitable for putting up a windturbine. We have wind plantsthat number in the dozens of turbines while other placeshave ones that number in thehundreds. I was at one inTexas a couple of monthsago. Horse Hollow they calledit. Largest wind farm in theworld, the sign said. Went on,six or eight turbines deep, forforty miles or so as Iremember. They were havinga drought at the time whichmade me wonder if all thatscrub, cactus covered groundhad ever been as rich andproductive as our cool, moistAllegheny hills. They hadsome of those noisy, hatch banging GE turbines there too. Just like the ones I saw in Iowa andNorth Dakota that make an appearance in that video, Test of Time, we’ve all seen at thatAllegheny Treasures computer blog. I took a snapshot there of a wind mill sitting between a rowof wind turbines to show a size comparison. I guess if I’m going to sound like an intelligentperson, I’m going to have to stop calling the turbines “windmills”.

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