SPANISH WIND POWER TOPS 50% OF DEMAND

Is it tilting at windmills to think we might do likewise? And with big, job-generating contracts to our underutilized manufacturing sector? (See the end of last Friday’s column, where the President highlights some encouraging wind-tech news.)

As you’ve surely heard by now, we’re buying wind turbines from China (which is lending us the money to buy them) – a 36,000-acre wind farm in Texas generating current sufficient to power 180,000 homes. (Or 360,000 homes once those homes are twice as energy efficient. So . . . ten homes per acre of windmills. Not bad.*) Time to start producing these things in the U.S.?

*I have it on good authority that Montana alone has 93 million acres of land mass, much of it windy. There are transmission and storage issues, of course. And you’d need to carve out 20,000 acres for Bozeman. I’m not being entirely literal here; just trying to give a sense of the scale: at 10 homes per acre, that would be 930 million homes. Once you plug in your car in at night, figure five homes an acre – or even two? At just two homes served by each acre of wind farm, Montana would would more than cover the whole country for residential and automotive use. And far below those mighty blades, wheat and flaxseed would grow just as it does now.

WHY NOT NUCLEAR

If you think nuclear is part of the answer, as some at the Department of Energy do – and has thus far worked nicely for France – Amory Lovins, suggests your thinking is . . . unclear.

(Get it? UN-clear? NU-clear? I’ve been playing too much Word Warp.)

The recipient of ten honorary doctorates, Amory writes mainly for scientists and engineers. His paper is a little dense for us layfolk – but navigable. This effort (by a blogger who goes by “nirsnet,” as in Nuclear Information And Resource Service) is a breezy list of 10 reasons nuclear is not a good idea.

And speaking of nuclear . . .

IS THAT A BRIGHT NOTE, OR JUST GLOWING RADIOACTIVITY?

Richard Reiss: “At a point when we seem beset by intractable problems, it’s reassuring to see how the worst problem turned out (so far, anyway). Also fascinating: how quickly good news essentially becomes…boring? For full appreciation of this story, rent ‘Dr. Strangelove’ and watch on flat-screen TV 10% powered by recycled nuclear weapons (‘…about 10 percent of electricity in the United States [is generated from] fuel from dismantled nuclear bombs, including Russian ones.’)”

☞ If Iran gets the bomb, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Emirates will soon start packing, too, so we’re hardly out of the woods. But I love Richard’s perspective – and grab any chance to plug ‘Dr. Strangelove,’ one of the 10 best motion pictures of all time. (‘Dr. Zhivago’ is another of them. And then ‘Casablanca,’ of course, ‘Gone With the Wind,’ ‘The Ten Commandments,’ ‘Moonstruck,’ ‘Princess Bride,’ ‘Z,’ ‘King Kong,’ and ‘The Maltese Falcon.’ Now you know.)

(Well, and ‘Fight Club’ – but the first rule of ‘Fight Club’ is, you don’t talk about Fight Club.)

(And the 1938 ‘A Christmas Carol’ and ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’)

(And ‘2001’ and ‘Star Wars.’)

(And ‘The Godfather,’ obviously.)

 

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