I’ve been spending a lot of time reading about wind power, partly because I teach a course in Technology Education that includes a unit of alternative energy, partly because there’s interest in my town in putting up a wind turbine. I’ve also been reading a lot about plans to put up wind turbines in various places. The governor of Maine just came back from a trip to Europe, drumming up interest in building an offshore wind farm. Meanwhile, the proposed wind farm off Cape Cod continues to make the news. This time the Wampanoag tribe has decided it will interfere with some of their sunrise services, and so they have now announced their opposition to it. The proposal has been on the table for several years. I’m not sure how it happens they just realized this would be a terrible intrusion. A lot of well-heeled and politically connected people have expensive summer places on the Cape. They’re the ones that have been leading the charge against Cape Wind. The Wampanoags have been looking for political support for building a resort casino in Massachusetts. I’m cynical enough to think that there’s a quid pro quo somewhere in there.

In another case, a developer in western Maine announced he was abandoning his plans for a wind farm because the location he was considering was too windy. Then I had a conversation with a woman whose husband is a consultant to the nuclear industry. She tried to make the argument that wind energy was more expensive than nuclear energy, after you factor in the cost of mining and processing the materials, the carbon-use in the manufacturing process, etc. Nuclear power, she argued, was virtually free. She claimed it wasn’t fair to count the cost of construction, operation and maintenance, of the plants, and the cost of disposal of spent fuel into the cost of generating nuclear power.

Another acquaintance in the nuclear industry claimed that wind farms were a blight on the landscape. That may be. But then I don’t find nuclear power plants aesthetically pleasing either.

There’s so much more to say, but as any reader can probably tell, I’m trying to find an underlying theme here. For now, I’m happy that these plans are on the drawing boards, and that people are discussing them. That has to be a good thing.

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