Sunday, April 25, 2010

Coming soon to a location near you...whether you like it or not!

I drove Monk to a swim meet in southwest Texas this weekend and was very saddened by what I saw. I know many of you, like Big D, will be quick to remind me that Texas is not a beautiful state. I'm sure the beaurocrats in Washington don't care if my state fills up with wind farms. But, I do. Texas is my state and I love it. What little beauty we have is now being ruined.

And it's all in the name of progress. Wind energy has gained the reputation of being "green" or environmentally friendly. I'm so glad the federal government has my best interests at heart, and the best interests of the planet. I could really rest safely knowing I'm in their honest, competent hands, except that the facts declare otherwise.
Did you know that wind turbines kill bats? Birds, too, but mainly bats because bats rely on echolocation. They die of something called barotrauma, which means a sudden change in air pressure. In other words, they don't have to actually make contact with the wind turbines for their close encounter to prove fatal. Oh well, other than the book Stellaluna, I've never been partial to bats. Who cares if we rid our state of bats? Unfortunately, the nasty little creatures eat things like mosquitos that we'd rather not be overrun by. I guess we'll just have to up our insecticide spraying efforts. (I'm sorry, but I just conjured up an image of a bunch of environmentalist protestors carrying signs of cute, fuzzy little bats like Stellaluna. Sounds just adorable, doesn't it? Hey, where are they when you need them? The protestors, I mean, not the bats.)

If you don't live in ugly windy portions of the state (or soon country as the plan is to eventually turn the midwest from Texas up to Canada into a giant wind farm), you may be able to avoid having your view polluted by wind turbines, but don't think you've escaped unscathed. These lovely little power lines (note the teeny tiny person for perspective) are necessary to carry the electricity from the wind turbines to the power plant substations. And by the way, the electricity generated by wind turbines is "dirty" electricity. This means its radio wave forms are electrically polluting. Overexposure to high frequencies has been shown to cause all kinds of sicknesses from headaches to increased risk of cancer to decreased milk production in dairy cows.
Does wind energy still seem "green"? The Canadian researchers did suggest that it's possible for wind energy to be less environmentally polluting if the following measures are carefully observed. "In order to eliminate the electrical pollution problem wreaking havoc on the health of people living in proximity to wind farms, the inverters need to be properly filtered at each wind turbine and all collection lines from the wind turbines to the substation should be buried. At the substation the electricity must also be filtered before being allowed on the power grid. There also needs to be a proper neutral system installed to handle the high frequency return current." (from the above link entitled "Modern wind turbines generate dangerously "dirty" electricity.") I also read that bat death by wind turbines can be reduced by up to 60%. You know how? I find this funny. By turning off the wind turbines when they aren't generating electricity, anyway. You know, on the non-windy days. As my 9 year old daughter would say, like duh. Am I the only one wondering why they weren't already doing that? So basically, as long as the wind turbines are off, they pose no risk to bats. Gotta love that it took research to establish that.
Oh, and guess what? You don't get to vote on the placement of these power lines. A public utility company with a federal contract is going to take these power lines across our ranch in Palo Duro Canyon. Way to trash one of our only jewels in the state of Texas, not to mention our personal property. That's sad, isn't it? It doesn't sound like the Texas I've known and loved my whole life. It doesn't sound like the "land of the free" either, come to think of it.
I agree that wind energy is all about going green, but not the kind of green they'd have you think. Somebody's getting a lot of green in the form of federal incentives. I found the Department of Energy wind and hydro fact sheet quite informative. So far I've uncovered the following incentives for wind power, all of them green, as in greenbacks.
1. $2.3 billion in advanced energy manufacturing tax credits-
2. Department of Energy loan guarantee program- "Successful applicants receive government guarantee on their project loans."
3. $500 million Department of Labor funds for "reseach, labor exchange, and job training projects that prepare workers for careers in energy efficiency and renewable energy"-
4. Deparment of Energy small business innovation research grants- "past solicitation have included topics related to wind equipment manufacturing processes and improvements"-
5. Expansion of industrial development bonds-
The party line for wind energy advocates is that "Support for wind enhances national energy independence, promotes rural economic development, contributes to energy price stability, and helps address global climate change." (
If it's all about energy independence, economic development, price stability, and the environment, then what's wrong with clean coal technology? What about natural gas? What about drilling for oil- here in our country and off our coasts? Call me cynical, but this stinks of good old fashioned greed and politicking to me.
What have all these incentives bought us? Is wind energy solving our energy problems? The most recent stat I've seen is that wind farms in Texas provide for ~5% of our energy usage in Texas. Miles and miles of wind farms for 5% of our energy. Can turning the midwest into a wind farm provide 10% of the energy for our country? It doesn't sound like it to me. So, if we have to continue using the other methods (like evil oil and gas and toxic coal), anyway, is all this money really an investment in our future? Why not invest in clean coal technology? Or natural gas which is clean and abundant?
We have a saying here in Texas that we use to spur one another on to fight the battles worth fighting, even when doing so requires great sacrifice. "Remember the Alamo." Those were the days of a few good men who were willing to die for the cause of freedom. Where are those men today? Have they all sold out? My dad hasn't. He's willing to fight, even though he realizes he's playing the roll of David against the Goliath of our government. I'm proud that he's willing to spend his hard-earned money fighting against this injustice brought about by self-serving politicians and back-room business deals. I only wish there were more men out there like my dad. If I have to stand on the edge of the canyon someday with my grandchildren and explain to them why we can't hike in the vicinity of the mammoth power lines, I'm glad I can also tell them about their great grandfather and that he didn't just stand idly by and watch the canyon polluted without putting up a fight. That will at least be some consolation.


  1. Thank you for the information. We just moved away from northwest Missouri where the wind farms have sprung up everywhere the eye can see. In addition to the environmental problems, there are a number of practical problems...not the least is which is the fact that the turbine blades simply do not hold up to the fierce Missouri winds (and they cost a fortune to replace). My dear hubby says that if it were profitable and safe, someone would already be doing it for money. Leave it to the government to buy into something that's a loss both environmentally and financially.

  2. Totally interesting. wow, I had no idea at all this was all going on. You have an interesting perspective on it all too, since you are so personally involved. Thanks so much for all the info. It's fun when you get all feisty :)

  3. I've been out of Texas way too long. I had no idea they were doing that!
    And yeah, the government only cares about the kind of "green" that they line their pockets with.

  4. You should see what the Columbia Gorge looks like now. In Oregon and Washington there is nothing but windmills. Everytime I drive up the Gorge, there are more added. It is becoming quite disturbing. I can see why people are passionate about it.

    Our community college even has a job program for windmills.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog!



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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.