The environmental impact of the alternatives seem to make the burning of fossil fuels the better alternative. Recently, we drove from Mountain Home to San Diego, Calif. Traffic was easily negotiated, allowing for cruising speeds of 70 to 75 mph most of the way, and except for a few places (with series of huge ugly billboards) views of the expansive western landscape were impressive.
But from the Texas panhandle, across New Mexico and Arizona these once-impressive vistas began to be blighted by huge ugly wind turbines visible for many miles on the horizon in several directions. Yet these were nothing compared to what we saw in the once-beautiful Pal Desert area of California. That area (especially from Indio to Riverside) is literally covered with these huge wind turbines that blight the environment and the once-special area of Pal Springs is nothing but a forest of these wind farms.
Considering the impact on the environment compared to energy produced wind seems to be the least useful, least productive, most expensive and most environmentally unsightly of all sources of energy in the U.S., creating great profits for General Electric but with seemingly little value to anyone else.
According to Department of Energy figures, electric energy produced currently comes from: 39 percent petroleum; 24 percent natural gas; 23 percent coal; 8 percent nuclear; and only 6 percent of our electric energy production comes from all renewable sources.
Within that tiny 6 percent of renewable energy is solar, biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric and wind. And of that 6 percent taken as a whole (100 percent of renewable sources), it breaks down to 1 percent solar, 47 percent biomass, 5 percent geothermal, 45 percent hydroelectric and a minuscule 2 percent wind.
If my math is correct then, by blighting the environment with these huge ugly wind farms the payoff is currently 0.0012 percent (12/1000th of 1 percent) of total energy production. At that rate, the number of wind turbines and the resultant visual blight required to produce even 1 percent of our total electric energy is ridiculous.
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