This is more my current views on the subject.
First off, Climate Change is very real, but that does not mean that what we are doing is the right way to deal with it. On the overall policy level we do need to lower our carbon footprint, there is no disagreement on that point. Where there is a disagreement is in the how.
In my county we have invested heavily in industrial wind facilities. Ok, so what is wrong with industrial wind? First off, it is the same paradigm of production the utilities have used for over a hundred years. You have a plant. transmission lines and it is distributed from a central place. The place of production is what changes, from oil and coal to wind and sun. This is the way it’s been and this is the way American Utilities want to keep it. Why they are fighting tooth and nail rooftop solar, for example.
They are not wrong either, from the point of view of their business model, and they are seeing what is happening in Europe, where one of the largest utilities is having to adapt to this new environment or die.
According to the documents, RWE wants to move away from simply being a developer and owner of centralized power plants and instead help use its expertise to help manage and integrate renewables into the grid.
“The guiding principle is ‘from volume to value’ with technologies ranging from large-scale offshore wind and hydro to onshore wind or photovoltaic. But we will no longer pursue volume or percentage targets in renewables. We will rather leverage our skill set by taking a ‘capital-light’ approach. Based on funds sourced largely from third parties, we will position ourselves as a project enabler and operator, and [as a] system integrator of renewables,” read the documents published by Energy Post.
So in the meantime, back in my back yard, we have had two major incidents at two major wind farms this year. First we had the Ocotillo Express project lose a blade. Thankfully it did not do much more than just fall to the ground. Then a wind turbine in front of the Golden Acorn Casino burned. It also started a small brush fire, and we were lucky it wasn’t at the height of a Santa Anna. Yes, it could have been far worst, and we were lucky.
So while we have the board of supers approve more industrial wind, there is another way. We should look at Germany, which has a lot less sun than we do. Yes, I want my local utility to evolve and adapt to a new world, where we are all our own generating power station.
Yet, for voicing these views some people call me an enemy of green tech. Ok guys, continue with your fantasy and go hug a turbine.
Oh and here my two closeups of the burned nacelle.