Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bent Mountain Wind Power and Eldon Karr's Argument

My friend Eldon Karr (above) called me this morning while I was out hiking with my grandgirl, Madeline, and, fortunately, the God of AT&T Cell Phone Failure was working today and the reception wasn't good enough to interrupt the walk.

I did get in touch with him later, though, knowing this was about those 18 wind turbines that are planned for Bent Mountain and knowing that Eldon was going to go into a rant about them. I like Eldon, respect him and think that probably he has some very good points in his argument against the wind farm (which he calls "industrial," given its size). I do not believe this is simply a NIMBY ploy on his part. Eldon is as strong an environmentalist as I know and his considerations--and his research--are real.

But, frankly, I don't have time for them. I am strongly in favor of alternative sources of power for our country and our world and wind looks pretty good to me. I am also realistic enough to believe that none of these alternatives will work unless there is a strong profit motive in it for the developers. That's the country we live in and the system we have built, so when Eldon castigates the money changers, I sympathize, but I don't see an alternative that is altruistic. Money and profit are never altruistic.

I don't want to get into an argument with Eldon's facts because he's smarter than I am and he's better read on this topic. I will grant that everything he says has more truth in it than the arguments against him I've heard because, frankly, Eldon is more honest than the money people.

Still, though, there's this: if not wind, then what? And if we continue to shoot down alternatives as they come up, where do we get? Eldon's favorite is geo-thermal, but I've heard some strong arguments against it and against solar and water and bio and everything else that sits in opposition to the dangerous and choking and environment-killing fossil fuels.

Take a look at Eldon's Heart of Roanoke Facebook page and see what he's talking about here. Link to him and keep up with it because his research is good. Make up your own mind. Eldon says that all he's asking is that people be educated and make rational decisions. I said, "Good luck with that, Eldon. That would mean a sea change in the American psyche."


  1. Dan,
    I am worried about my old trivial pursuits partner! Did you get into the Journalism Hall of Fame by NOT doing the reading on background? The problem with industrial wind is that it runs off the grid to maintain itself and puts little new energy back into the grid. It is a "derivatives" type scam for RPS credits that are traded on the Chicago Energy Exchange so companies meet the 5% renewable energy criteria Va. requires for corporate incentives. Let the big money decide? That's how we let the Gulf coast be lost! There is a real need for some first do no harm thinking here. Please reconsider.
    Annie Krochalis

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  3. Annie: One of the problems I'm having these days is that I'm considering far too many things--myself not usually among them--and I'm getting tired. I need to concentrate on a few projects (like the novel I'm desperately trying to find time to write) that are truly meaningful to me, things I can impact in a positive way. I can't do anything about wind power. I can help a writer.

    I simply can't do all the reading on all the issues that I'm being asked to do. First, I'm a slow reader. Second, I don't understand the technical end of this stuff anyway, so I have to stick with the basic philosophy of alternative energy. Sorry, but I'll have to watch this one from the sideline.

  4. Annie: By the way, I didn't get into the HOF because of issues like this (I'm not a particularly good journalist). I got in because some lovely soul stuffed the ballot box.

  5. Dan,

    Your diplomacy is refreshing. Thanks for that.

    And you've successfully boiled down the detail and obfuscation to the relevant nugget:
    Energy is energy.
    Wind - yes
    Geothermal - yes
    Solar - yes
    Biogas -yes
    We need it all, and soon.