Thursday, January 12, 2006

Effort to blow away global warming with good wind

LOS ANGELES -- I spent Tuesday and Wednesday at Debs Park, seen in the photo, with about 60 other ecologists, lawyers, energy officials, lobbyists, planners, and wind company officers. It was windy, not outside, but inside the Audubon Center, where the future of wind energy was the topic.

Birds and bats have been being killed by the thousands at wind farms, especially at Altamont Pass CA, east of the SF Bay Area. The main message at this session was 'how to avoid another Altamont'.

To be sure, America and the world needs more wind energy now, and less coal. Global warming pollution is a giant threat to the future of life on earth as we know it. Smart people are trying to deal with it, including me and others at this meeting.

A major issue is where to locate wind farms to avoid or minimize impacts to birds, bats and wildlife. Ecologists, the wind industry, and natural resource agencies are working on this. Some projects have been poorly planned and located, and too many birds and bats are getting killed in the blades. We are learning more and need to adjust siting. More research is needed in many areas to better determine solutions.

Visionaries at the wind future session suggested more focus on 'energy independence' wind turbines and rooftop solar panels in urban areas, bringing clean energy production close to transmission lines and power demand centers. That is a great and important idea that I think millions of Americans will embrace, if they are helped and can afford to make the investment. Why leave all the energy in the hands of corporate monopolys when we can generate it ourselves with rooftop solar and small wind? As I looked around LA (and Tucson) I see many sites that could work, even some scattered around that could host a big turbine or two.

It is a must to cut per capita energy use now through better energy conservation in buildings and vehicles. I hope to work on better 'green building' energy standards through the Tucson Planning Commission.

Certainly to solve our energy problems and reduce global warming pollution we will need more wind energy facilities. Investors are starting to pour money into wind and it is coming in a bigger way to the USA. The spirit of smarts and cooperation between all parties this week in LA is promising for the future, but only if it continues.


LiberalismIsAMentalDisorder said...

Way to go man, glad you attended the conference.

When I lived in the bay area in California the windmill turbines were a glorious site to see spinning, especially knowing that it was energy without pollution. The problem of the birds and bats was being addressed as I was headed out of the state, what ideas do they have for reducing or eliminating the risk to wildlife?

laura said...

Thanks Daniel,

I'm sure everyone appreciates your efforts. I certainly do. My question: Was there enough wind created in this gathering to keep momentem going? HHHMMMMMMM now I am thinking of solar paels for this house......... its a great investment.... that I cannot afford not to make.

DRP said...

Big fed tax credits this year only for home solar. Get on it soon.

laura said...

I looked into it, here in NJ. The feds are willing to pick up like 60 percent! All's I have to do now is purchase my home( wich I have been trying to do... the owner is dragging his whole body... for like 6 months now GGGRRRRR ) and I am ready to roll. I have a flat roof... all day exposure, the perfect setting indeed.

Eli Blake said...

This is the silliest debate ever.

You could solve it easily, cheaply and effectively with chicken wire.

It would be a very cheap solution to put up steel poles a little higher than the turbines and surrounding them, put chainlink or chicken wire on that, and then leave it alone. Chicken wire or chainlink would hardly decrease the wind energy hitting the turbines at all, but would prevent birds from getting in. Some electric transformer stations do this already to prevent birds from flying into the transformer stations.