ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Downer wants to get rid of even more Illinois Jobs

You'd think DownLeft doesn't like the state he lives in or something. He's got a post proclaiming the terrible nature of Coal powered electricity and the saving grace for Illinois should be... wait for it... WIND!

Wind farms, in combination with ethanol plants, would put central Illinois on the cutting edge of establishing clean, renewable energy sources. That will not only keep local citizens healthier over the years, but will also benefit the local economy. The old polluter's line that it always costs jobs and raises prices to keep the environment clean just isn't true anymore.

Well it won't benefit the local economy that provide the mines. According to the state government, "Illinois has the largest reported bituminous coal resource of any state in the United States." Or is Downer only for shutting down the Coal plants in his own state, and selling all that nasty coal to the other states just fine.

Bituminous coal is the low carbon, high-efficiency kind too, making it possible to generate more electricity with less fuel (and less particulate matter).

It is mined in 12 Illinois counties, and is nearly a Billion (yeah thats a Billion with a B) dollar industry in Illinois.

I agree that it looks like wind power is becoming more efficient, and it appears that that big bugaboo of Downer, "Private Industry," is the one bringing the power of the market to bear by researching potential deployment of wind farms. But there are several points not mentioned in the article Downer cites:

  1. The plans are all preliminary. It mentions that the energy companies have to do many studies to determine if wind power is sufficient for a given area. North Dakota is seen as the best state in the land with regards to sustainability of wind and wind speed.
  2. Wind power will require a LOT of land. Unless downer is for mowing down the National Forests in Illinois, it will take farmers allowing the use of those wind generation on their land. I'm sure Downer will be the first to volunteer to live beneath a Wind Turbine and the high power lines that will be required. Plans like these always seem to have problems when it becomes your back yard they are putting that 400 foot tower in.
  3. All those birds that will die when they go into the turbine blades. I hope Downer won't be there 10 years from now talking about how terrible it is that those nasty power companies aren't providing bird warning devices to save the speckled, spotted, North American twinkle toed goose.
  4. Wind power does not provide the "base load" required of an electrical grid. Wind power is intermittent, since the wind does not always blow or at the same speed. As such, those nasty coal plants will still be needed... Or some other fuel burning plant (oil, natural gas, *shudder* nuclear power!)

thought I'd contribute with this graphic:

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian