Wind doesn't turn this reader's crank

  I’m having a hard time getting too enthused about wind energy (HCN, 5/02/05: The Winds of Change). The idea of solving our energy woes by harnessing wind sounds wonderful, but the reality is less appealing. The California Energy Commission lists wind power as 1.5 percent of its total electricity production for 2003. The sprawl of wind turbines from this 1.5 percent in places such as Tehachapi and San Gorgonio is enormous. California’s total energy consumption — from diesel trucks to hair dryers — is more than double its electricity use alone.

If anything holds promise and is deserving of research dollars, it’s photovoltaics. From a rooftop, they would have no additional impact on open spaces. They are expensive at the moment. But when I think of how many solar panels could be purchased for the price of a smart bomb, I just shake my head.

Americans are consuming enormous amounts of energy, and the trajectory is exponential. Most of the talk about solving energy problems revolves around how to get more per capita and more for an ever-increasing population. Our thinking has to change if we’re to have any chance at long-term sustainability.

Steven Walker
Logan, Utah