Monday, October 11, 2010

Blown Away by Noise

The drive for clean and green energy has led to the construction of thousands of windmills all over the US. As I travel around I have passed windmill parts on the freeway. Passing one of the blades is a pretty incredible site.

Piece by piece, we see these giant structures hauled to some distant place. A couple of years ago, one of the generators rolled off a truck in an under pass. It took weeks for them to figure out how to pick it up and move it out. These things are big.

There has been a huge push all over the world to put these babies up and get the power flowing. And in classic liberal excitement and fashion, they forgot to fully test the idea. Just like the Compact Florescent Light bulb (CFL) was going to save the world, and now we realize far to late, that they may cause more environmental harm them the incandescent they replaced.

The windmills are doing their share of damage with noise pollution. They make this choppy noise that drives people crazy. Some scientists have even suggested that the waves coming off them may cause physical harm over the long haul. Then there is the many disasters where these things simply blow up from too great a rotation. Some have suggested that the tips break the sound barrier and unbalance and destroy the whole structure.

To combat the noise citizens have turned to the courts. In at least one case the turbines have been ordered off between 10pm and 7am. This greatly cuts into the output time of the turbines and increases there cost.

With all the potential harm that results from these huge structures, they are still building them at a record pace. Why are we so focused on such an archaic system when cheaper quieter and more efficient systems are readily available? In June of 2008, I pointed to the future of wind energy with Meglev generators. Here we are over two years later and every one pushing for greener and better and we are still stuck in the past. If we want real progress why aren't we promoting designs like this?

We are already working on overturning the CFL laws. The government has been proven to be poor pickers in the business winner and loser categories. In the case of CFLs, Americans are loosing jobs and increasing pollution with this once considered green product. The Chinese couldn't be happier with our new laws.

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