A mighty wind | Arkansas Blog

Friday, November 23, 2007

A mighty wind

Posted By on Fri, Nov 23, 2007 at 8:16 AM

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Since Little Rock is now part of the alternative energy industry with its publicly subsidized windmill blade plant, readers might be interested in an article in today's NY Times indicating a bit of the bloom is off the wind business. (Thanks to Brian Chilson for a Kansas wind farm photo.)

Yet Sweden’s gleaming wind park is entering service at a time when wind energy is coming under sharper scrutiny, not just from hostile neighbors, who complain that the towers are a blot on the landscape, but from energy experts who question its reliability as a source of power.

For starters, the wind does not blow all the time. When it does, it does not necessarily do so during periods of high demand for electricity. That makes wind a shaky replacement for more dependable, if polluting, energy sources like oil, coal and natural gas. Moreover, to capture the best breezes, wind farms are often built far from where the demand for electricity is highest. The power they generate must then be carried over long distances on high-voltage lines, which in Germany and other countries are strained and prone to breakdowns.

In the United States, one of the areas most suited for wind turbines is the central part of the country, stretching from Texas through the northern Great Plains — far from the coastal population centers that need the most electricity.

Again a reminder that LR had much to offer -- a transportation system, cheap labor (plenty of people willing to work for $11/hr.) and proximity to areas of need -- when it decided to open up the corporate welfare bank to the Danish enterprise.

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