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The damage to the environment is clearly in the eye of the beholder --
thosewhere the beholder lives. There are many who eagerly await a longer
growing season for example. MY greatest fear is that we end up with
unlessugly windmills on every hill -- with a whomp whomp whomp whomp as I go to
Now if we can get H2 from a solar induced reaction, that is good --
of course CO or CO2 is produced at the same time.
My feeling is that in the long run there is no way around the Second Law.
I'm curious--have you been close enough to hear one of those
windmills? I live not far from a fairly large windfarm, on the
Altamont Pass east of Livermore, CA. There are some ranchers who
live near them, and who I guess are too few in number to have the
political clout to prevent the windmills from being built. I
understand that they absolutely HATE the noise that the windmills
make (haven't been close enough myself to hear them).
Another unexpected problem that they've found is that the windmills
kill an alarming number of raptors (I forget the exact numbers).
Hawks and eagles like to fly along the ridge line to catch exactly
the same currents that make it a good place for windmills. When they
were put up, it was apparently believed that the birds would see them
and fly around them. Evidently, the birds' are looking elsewhere. I
notice that they have stripes on the blades of some new generators,
which I assume is to catch the birds' attention, but haven't heard
what kind of affect they've had. Another idea I've heard them
discuss is to put noise makers on the blades. I can only imagine the
neighbors' reactions to that one.
The bird kill is presumably not such an issue in Denmark and other
relatively flat places. With less reason for the birds to congregate
you're less likely to create a "killing zone."
Stephen D. Murray
Physicist, A Division
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Phone: (925) 423-9382
FAX: (925) 423-0925