A commentary in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader this week makes an interesting point on the infrastructure required for wind energy:
Wind power has, among other faults, two major drawbacks: Most wind power will be generated in the middle of the country although most of the power is needed in the more densely populated areas near the coasts. This requires long transmission lines. Engineers tell us that normal transmission lines of 138 kilovolts or 345 kV lose 10 to 15 percent of their wattage over 1,000 miles. Therefore, a completely new and very expensive system of 765 kV transmission lines that will not lose power over long distances will be needed.
There’s that. And then there’s this: Wind energy is a spectacular blight on America’s landscape. I noticed this most recently while flying into Denver a few weeks ago. Colorado has a lot of windmills.
So does Minnesota and, as the blog, Perfect Duluth Day found recently, so does Iowa.
A short distance over the state line, we saw windmills in the distance. They were far away but could be seen clearly. You could tell they were enormous. Scary big.
I kept saying things like, “They’re freaking me out!” and “Those are so scary!” Of course, I said, too, “Those make a lot more sense than digging up coal to burn it,” but mostly, I was freaked out.
Perhaps we headed down this road with our reliance on cellphones. There are few scenic vistas left that don’t include a tower. And, let’s face it, we city slickers don’t much care about what’s out on the prairie until we actually go there. But is there any way to utilize wind and still have an America that’s beautiful?