Friday, November 05, 2004

The Fall and the Wind

WindmillThe Fall is my favorite time of the year. Crisp, cool weather replaces the hot, humid New York Summer. Today was a beautiful Fall day. It had rained hard yesterday but today was clear windy day with temps in the mid 50's. The wind was blowing the leaves off the trees and now there is a pile of crunchy leaves in front of my door. The Fall brings perfect weather but it also brings wonderful fresh fruit and vegetables. I bought some NY Macoun apples today but it also the time of fresh local grapes and fall squash.

All this wind (plus a post about alternative energy sources by Helen Thomas on JavaRanch) has reminded me of the Long Island Offshore Wind Initiative that has been in planning for a couple of years. The plan is to build windmills about five miles offshore where the wind blows almost constantly. If all the windmills that are planned are built, the windmills would provide 5,200 megawatts of power and supply 77% of Long Island's power needs. We would have cheap, pollution free power and eliminate most of our need on foreign imports. If we used Canadian hydroelectric or solar power for our remaining needs, we could eliminate virtually all polluting energy sources for Long Island's power.

Of course, a proposal like this doesn't come without critics. The main criticism seems to be aesthetics. The windmills will be visible on a clear day from our beautiful beaches. Some people have complained that they will be an ugly eyesore against our previously pristine views. Here is a simulated picture of the windmills. I wonder if the builders of windmills in Holland received the same complaints from those who didn't want to ruin the views of tulip fields. There is also the question of cost and cost effectiveness. To determine the practicality of windmills on Long Island, a small wind farm of between 25 and 50 windmills will be built. They will produce about 100 megawatts of power, enough power for 100,000 homes. It is estimated that the wind farm would be complete by the end of 2007.

4 comments:

Elblog said...

Having lived in CT for two years, I feel that I have the perfect right to comment (grin). I think Fall is the most beautiful time of year there, too. There is a static-electric energy that is hard to describe. It's the time of year that I was recruited to move back there from CA, I'm pretty sure now that I wouldn't have done so if I'd seen the place in January . . .
As to the windmills, I personally think that they are pretty cool looking on the hills outside Palm Springs, CA. To my mind, any aesthetic damage is more than offset by the images that they replace - fuel burning power plants. Out here in the expansive West, if you don't like the windmills, then drive for another half hour, the next hills are bare. . . of course, they're not in my back yard, either. I think it's a proper solution for our time and technology.

Helen said...

I was looking for horrible constructions sticking out of the sea not realising it was those tiny white splodges on the horizon.

MB said...

Hey...what if it's not a given that us Canucks want to export our power to you? :)

Tom P. said...

Long Island gets a significant amount of its power from hydroelectric sources in Quebec today.