10 Comments

  • The biggest negative effect of today’s silicon based photo-voltaic solar panels is they take enormous amounts of energy to manufacture (more than they will ever produce) hence actually increase your fossil fuel consumption.

  • The biggest problems are that the most well suited places to put them are not usually where the need for the power is greatest.

    I live out in West Texas just below the pan-handle. There are “wind farms” all over here, because the wind blows all the time. Other than a small city (Midland/Odessa) there is very little industry nearby. It’s 250 miles to Dallas/Fort Worth or El Paso and farther still to Oklahoma City, Houston or Austin. , Transmission of the power over distances is an engineering problem that still doesn’t have a good solution.

    Similarly, we have some sunshine almost every day of the year. Solar works here, but where do we send it? Areas like Chicago and Boston need the power, but don’t have the sunshine as reliably.

    Still, on a local level, we get a lot of our power from alternative sources. I feel good about that.

    Edit specifically for Johnnie B – There is blessed little that stops the wind in west Texas. It slows some at sundown, but rarely stops. Maybe in East Texas, but that’s 400 miles from here.

    Edit for asker – I’m not sure if my original answer was what you meant by “negative effects,” though. There are reports of large numbers of birds being killed by collision with the blades of a wind turbine, but that hasn’t proven to be true here. Some find the towers unsightly. I think they are rather elegant. As far as the “not in my back yard” argument – well, I’ve heard that the power company pays rent on the land for each tower of about $10,000 per year. I could get to like the guaranteed income. 5 towers, and I’d make more than my full-time teaching job paid. There are few other “negative” effects. Solar and wind power generation do not cause noise or air pollution, no mystery radiation source, no ground water contamination. They are two of the “cleanest” sources of power available.

  • The biggest drawback to wind turbines is reliability. Because the wind is variable, it is necessary to have spinning reserves from other power stations ready to take up the load at a moment’s notice when the wind dies down, so fuel is being burned without producing any power.

  • Like said above. Cost.
    Windmills can’t be put just anywhere due to local building codes and the availability of Wind. Some consider them to be unsightly.
    Solar panels are not highly efficient yet but there’s new technology that will be on the market soon that will make them more efficient than current solar panels.

  • Wind turbines suffer from the NIMBY effect (Not In My Back Yard) Most people love the idea, few want them to be next to THEIR property. Until we get more comfortable with this idea they will face resistance from the ‘neighbors’ and relegate them to rural, distant, areas that may not be the best suited for the purpose.

  • It’s one of those things that seems to good to be true. But the only bad thing about them is when they stop working. Like when theres no sunlight or wind.

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