By Rody Johnson
Over the last few a long time, the vexing difficulties of weather swap and finite assets have ignited contentious international debates approximately substitute strength applied sciences. during this lucid, balanced publication, Rody Johnson investigates the improvement and deployment of 1 such technology--wind power--and, specifically, the ways that a heated conflict over that strength resource performed out in an Appalachian neighborhood. Johnson's wide-ranging account examines the heritage of wind strength; its skill and output compared to such resources as fossil fuels, different renewables, and nuclear power; the infrastructural demanding situations of transmitting electrical energy from wind farms to finish clients; worldwide efforts to decrease carbon emissions, together with the Kyoto treaty; the function of public coverage, executive subsidies, and tax breaks; and the diversities and similarities among wind energy regimes within the usa and Europe. Interwoven all through this dialogue is the compelling narrative of ways, starting in 2005, the proposed building of a wind farm alongside mountain ridges in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, pitted locals opposed to each one other--a tale that places a human face at the arguments approximately wind power's promise of unpolluted, renewable power and its almost certainly unwanted effects, together with fowl and bat kills, a disfigured normal panorama, and noise toxins. Drawing on numerous hours he spent attending public conferences and interviewing these on either side of the difficulty, Johnson not just photos the Greenbrier County fight in illuminating aspect but in addition makes precious comparisons among it and equally pitched battles in one other West Virginia county, the place a wind farm had already been outfitted, and in Florida, the place plans to erect beachside wind generators subsequent to a nuclear plant faltered. Concluding with a considerate, lifelike evaluation of a 2012 examine suggesting that the rustic has the potential of receiving eighty percentage of its electric iteration from renewables by means of 2050, "Chasing the Wind" makes an important contribution to the continuing discussion relating to America's power demanding situations and what's most likely required to satisfy them.
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Additional resources for Chasing the Wind: Inside the Alternative Energy Battle
Even the legitimate investment community was participating. 9 For the investors, the tax incentives began in 1981 and lasted for four glorious years. By 1985 over twelve thousand wind turbines were in place at the San Gorgonio, Tehachapi, and Altamont sites. With the failure of NASA and the Department of Energy to develop huge wind turbines in the 1970s, most of the units installed in California were small—in the 50- to 100-kilowatt range. Overall capacity for these thousands of units by 1988 reached almost 1,400 megawatts, 90 percent of the global total.
At one point there were 150 anti–wind farm organizations in the country, all objecting to the conversion of rural landscapes into industrial landscapes. The Campaign for Rural England encouraged placing wind farms offshore. The anti-wind groups raised the usual arguments in addition to viewshed—the noise, the threat to birds, the expense—and argued that energy conservation was more effective. The British government changed its renewable strategy plan to more easily put turbines onshore. To reduce carbon emissions by 34 percent by 2020 would require 26,000 megawatts of capacity, totaling ten thousand turbines with four thousand offshore.
However, the cost of the units and the Depression of the 1930s limited their full market potential. The 1936 passage of the Rural Electrification Act brought electricity to rural areas, and over the next twenty years, the need for farm windmills decreased. ”4 The Jacobs Wind Electric Company, in hopes of continuing in business, proposed in the 1950s what would have been the first wind farm concept in the United States—one thousand windmills, one mile apart, strung along the power line system that ran from Montana to Minnesota.