Wind Farms

Alan Zendell, September 15, 2022

Of all the issues critical to our future that have been taken hostage by political extremists, climate change may be the most serious, depending on whether you believe the long-term health of our planet or the survival of American democracy is more important. Considering the world our grandchildren will inherit, I’d call it a tie. That makes today’s announcement monumental.

Talk about hypocrisy! Have you ever met a nuclear power advocate who wanted a reactor in his neighborhood, or a law-and-order hard-liner who supported a high-security prison in his town? In 2007, a far-thinking project known as Cape Wind was nearing the end of a six-year battle to build America’s first wind turbine farm off the southern coast of Cape Cod. Engineering studies estimated that it would supply 79% of all the power consumed on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. It had been approved by state regulators and awaited only federal approval.

Except that a powerful Senator, Edward Kennedy, happened to live in Hyannisport, from which the 440-foot tall turbines would have been visible. Kennedy, who claimed strong support for environmental causes, thought they were an eye sore, and killed the project, effectively saying, “Not in My Backyard.” Consequently, while offshore wind farms have been sprouting up along coastlines around the world, fifteen years later, the United States has only one small facility near Block Island, Rhode Island.

Projects are currently on the books for larger wind farms off the coasts of Connecticut, New York, (Long Island,) New Jersey, and Maryland, but none have received the necessary approvals to begin construction. That makes the Biden administration’s announcement that it is committing itself to wind turbine farms off the coast of California absolutely epic. It’s not only the right thing to do for our future, but it’s perfectly timed for the midterm election campaigns.

A majority of Americans, and a super-majority of environmental scientists believe reducing carbon emissions, to zero if possible, is the only way to avoid a catastrophe for future generations. Wind turbines produce the greenest energy possible, with virtually no carbon footprint. You might hear idiotic arguments like interrupting the natural flow of wind might confuse migratory birds, but there is no rational opposition to Biden’s plan. Anyone who speaks out against it is undoubtedly motivated by greed or politics.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says the California projects and those planned for the Oregon and Maine coastlines are capable of generating twice as much electricity as the entire country presently consumes. That’s a huge statement, coming on the heels of the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which included $369 billion to mitigate the effects of climate change, and it keeps one of President Biden’s most important campaign promises. Imagine that! Achieving a political objective while improving the future for billions of people.

This won’t happen overnight, but consider what the future might hold. Meeting America’s electricity needs with wind and hydropower accomplishes many other things as well. Combined with new initiatives to produce electric and hydrogen powered motor vehicles, we will finally achieve energy independence without the need to burn coal, and with far less consumption of oil. We can now envision a future in which oil-rich nations can no longer hold oil production hostage when it suits their needs. Moreover, energy dependence is one of the most serious threats to national security and the stability of the world order.

Vladimir Putin could not have risked invading Ukraine if Europe weren’t dependent on Russian oil and natural gas. Russian natural gas was the single greatest obstacle Biden had to overcome in getting NATO and the EU solidly aligned in the defense of Ukraine. What if, the next time a misguided Russian president sets his sights on his western neighbors, the entire North Sea has been turned into a giant wind farm, imitating Denmark’s example? What if the English Channel was one long line of wind turbines, and it became fashionable to have a wind farm in your backyard along the Spanish, French, and Italian Riviera coastlines?

No one would be able extort diplomatic or military concessions from countries that now import oil and natural gas. We will reduce the amount of gases that trap heat in our atmosphere, the global average temperature will begin to drop, and our remaining ice caps will be secure for the future. Air pollution and acid rain will cease to be threats to our nation’s health, and we’ll be able to see the stars again.

I’m not exaggerating. The Biden wind farm initiative has the potential to change everything about the future.

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