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Wind energy not a panacea

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The article "Forget Idealism" talks of the benefits of transitioning our energy supply from fossil fuels to renewable sources such as wind and solar (HCN, 12/12/05: Forget Idealism). As in many discussions previous to this one, the author fails to address the environmental impacts of wind-power fields. The photo associated with this article says it all for me — an open plain littered with turbines. I hope I’m not alone in my worry about the proliferation of wind farms across the West.

As a native of Colorado, I have traveled to all corners of this state and many other Western states. Each time I see the horizon of what was, just a few years ago, an open vista, now broken by forests of these white giants, I am disheartened by the direction of renewable energy. I can’t imagine how many of these things would have to be erected in the next 20 years to replace the energy generated by gas-fired power plants, but I for one am not certain the trade-off is the environmental panacea it is touted to be.

To be sure, we are at a crossroads in energy and need all kinds of ideas to supply the enormous demand that is now filled by fossil fuels; however, I’m not ready to surrender the last open prairies to this version of energy independence.

Marc Oliver
Fort Collins, Colorado

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