Windfarm finale (?)

Subject: Windfarm finale (?)
From: "Evan Beaver" <>
Date: Wed, 17 May 2006 10:14:20 +1000
I hate myself for biting here, but to be honest, my future career depends on
the public perception of wind farms so I can't help myself.

Yes Australian coal is subsidised, in the form of tariffs and other things I
don't clearly understand. The Government is also investing massive amounts
in "Clean Coal technology", a misnomer if there ever was one. The fact is
that it is in Australia's best economic interest to keep digging up coal and
burning it or selling it. It's that simple, and a massive reason for the
robust economy our virtuous Government has steered us towards.

Yes, Global Warming has the potential to be a disaster. But a subtle one.
It's very difficult to measure the many small changes to an environment that
occur with rising temperature. The odd Grade 5 Cyclone (as we've been seeing
recently), should knock people out of their complacency.

The difference wind farms can make is NOT inconsequential. There was a paper
written in the 90's evaluating the world wide wind resource. Using only the
fields that were then economically viable in terms of wind speed (technology
has improved), and only land resources, there was enough wind power to cover
ALL of the worlds energy needs, including transport and electricity. Note
that Wind is just a different version of solar energy, but thermal gradients
rather than radiation gradients.

Currently a wind turbine is NOT viable on the roof of your house. Unless you
live somewhere really windy, with average roof top speeds in excess of 5m/s.
Urban environments are too 'rough' for good wind flow, hence the need for
siting on ridges.

I find the aesthetic argument complete nonsense. Compare a couple of
turbines dotted on old farming land, that could still be used, to a 25Ha
coal power plant and the associated mining degredation.

Nuclear, specifically fission, is not a solution in Australia, nor many
other places for that matter. There was an article released last week
stating that if Australia decided this afternoon to start building the 40
nuclear plants required to cover our power needs it would take 40-50 years
before we saw any CO2 benifits, due to the massive amounts of energy
required to build such a plant. Wind on the other hand is relatively CO2
cheap. Solar panels less so. The waste associated with Nuclear makes it a
non-issue as well. We've been using Nukes for nearly 60 years and the waste
isn't getting any better. It is also by far the most expensive in terms of

If you want to do something good, invest $40k in your own solar plant,
insulate your house, buy energy saving appliances (a fridge makes a big
difference) and watch birds. It'll take 15-20 years at current prices to
re-coup your investment, but chances are that utilities are going to go up
over the next few years.

Sorry for the rant.

On 5/17/06, michael hunter <> wrote:

        Coal is subsidised in Australia?

        My position on windfarms is that global warming will be, on the
basis of present knowledge, an overwhelming environmental disaster over
coming decades.
         The difference windfarms can make is inconsequential, and that
there is no point in visually polluting the existing attractive landscapes
with turbines. If rooftop turbines are a realistic answer I'll install
          The only real solution, heretical though it may be, is safe
nuclear power, which is inevitable. Unfortunately it will probably be too
little too late for many habitats and species.

Evan Beaver
Lapstone, Blue Mountains, NSW
lat=-33.77, lon=150.64

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