Wednesday, February 4, 2015
I Hated Wind Farms, When Hating Wind Farms Wasn't Cool
By Mel Carriere
Oh Barbara Mandrell where are you now? Even though I didn't like country music even a little bit when she was popular in the 80s, I had late adolescent fantasies about that woman that have absolutely nothing to do with this article except for the title of one of her most popular songs, which I have absconded with and reworked to serve as the title for this blog post. She still looks lovely thirty years later, by the way.
I received a message via Twitter just a few moments ago, and after a frustrating day of scanning through current news items trying to find a topic I felt passionate enough to write about for THE TRUTH BOMB, this tweet finally piqued my interest enough to get my butt in front of the computer to hack out a few lines.
The tweet, from a Twitter account called "Stop These Things" (meaning, I presume Wind Farms, and not adolescent fantasies, which I still suffer from at the age of 51), read as follows:
"Intermittent wind energy kills birds, bats, doesn't reduce CO2, increases power prices & causes deep community chaos..."
I believe the part about the birds and the bats, and since I am a passionate defender of both of these creatures I'll go along with that. The other parts I am not certain about, especially the deep community chaos, which seems like a bit of hyperbole, but I will go along with the program of "stopping these things" just to save the birds and the bats.
The point I am trying to make is that I didn't need this tweet, or any of the rising tide of tweets, blogs, editorials, sound bites, or even the resulting deep community chaos to make me dislike the wind farms. I disliked them from the very beginning, when disliking wind farms wasn't even cool, like it is now.
I remember at one time Wind Farms were a very fashionable thing, de rigueur if you want to use a very snooty term for fashionability. All the liberals were on board with wind energy when Obama breezed into office in 2008, and I remember Wind Farms and the so-called "renewable energy" they provide were a key component of his energy platform.
But I haven't liked these hulking, bladed monstrosities since I first saw them somewhere around Livermore in the Bay Area of California. This was back in the mid-90s, when my Barbara Mandrell fueled fantasies were a little fresher than they are now, and even then I didn't think they were cool. At that time I wasn't the fan of birds as I am at present, but I still couldn't help but think, as I drove past dozens, maybe hundreds of the towering spinning blade machines, that they needed a modern day Don Quixote to tilt with them and bring these unsightly dragons down. The problem from my point of view is that they took up so much damn space. They were a blight on the landscape from horizon to horizon. In plain talk, they were just ugly. Surely, I asked myself, that can't be an efficient way to crank out a few watts just to run the toaster and the television set?
Little by little I was vindicated in my view of the Wind Farms. The ornithologists and their pals were the first ones to jump on board, when they made it known that those horrible white blades covering the hillsides killed raptors such as hawks when they attempted to perch on them. Little by little the views of the naturalists gained steam and now the hard core libs at last are starting to backpedal away from the idea of Wind Farms. The politicians aren't so vociferous about them anymore either.
Oops! Too late guys. Now you've set up these eyesores everywhere. They've built a whole slew of them east of my town of San Diego, at a place called The Tecate Divide. And as if the Wind Farms weren't bad enough, the Solar Farms have joined in with the fun of consuming acres upon acres of fragile desert ecosystem at very little bang for the buck. Keep driving down that Interstate 8 from San Diego, past the Tecate Divide and eventually into Arizona, and sooner or later you will come across an enormous Solar Farm sitting on the left side of the road. It looks impressive and very high tech, but now we are being told that these Solar Farms, in addition to providing renewable energy at an enormous investment in acreage, also fry birds to a crackly crunch as they try to fly past overhead.
Maybe one of the key components of renewable energy should be that if it takes up half the county to run your refrigerator it probably isn't any good. But I could have told you that a couple of decades ago, before the evidence from the naturalists and the anthropologists investigating the phenomenon of windmill-induced "social chaos" came pouring in. I knew it back when those wicked thoughts of Barbara Mandrell, playing the fiddle in that tight little sequined dress of hers, were still spinning the blades of my dirty little mind...
The above image is attributed to: "Shepherds Flat Wind Farm 2011" by Steve Wilson from Orpington, UK - flickr: More Windmills....... Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shepherds_Flat_Wind_Farm_2011.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Shepherds_Flat_Wind_Farm_2011.jpg