Barack Obama is the candidate of change. How do I know? Because he says so, right? Who would question anything that Barack says. While viewing a recent Obama speech, I saw “CHANGE” in large letters on the front of the podium as well as in three places positioned like the points of the fleur de lys on a screen behind him, presumably symbolic of the heir apparent to the presidency … simply waiting for the coronation.
Obama says he is going to make the United States energy independent by pursuing wind and solar energy. How is he going to do this and bring about change while hanging his star on the likes of Ted Kennedy who is the epitome of back room politics, special interests and, probably worst of all, unbridled self interest.
Ted Kennedy has been the one person who has blocked the development of a wind farm in Nantucket Sound … so he won’t have to view it from his Cape Cod home, reiterating that well worn environmentalist cliche, to preserve a pristine area in our country. If I hear one more politician, including John McCain use that phrase, I’m going to puke. Ted Kennedy wasn’t concerned about anything pristine or environmental or even sanitary when he order his boat crew to pump out the bilge of his sailboat in Nantucket Sound … just one more fat, fat cat politician who will do whatever he can get away with such as running his car into the marshes and destroying natural habitat, not to mention killing people.
Unfortunately, even brain surgery can’t apparently provide Senator Kennedy the epiphany that quite possibly function is beauty. What can be more pristine or beautiful than a wind farm, preferrably the first of many in the Cape Cod area, which can make this country less dependent on fossil fuels and foreign oil.
Wind will power our future
Energy experts are predicting that as much as 20% of the U.S. energy requirements can be met by wind power by 2030. Because of powerful individuals like Senator Kennedy I was careful to use the word, “can”, in the previous sentence.
Upon reviewing a wind resource map of the contiguous United States, it becomes very apparent that there are only three primary areas in the eastern United States that are most suitable for the most cost effective, efficient and reliable energy production. They include a very narrow stip of mountain ridges in New Hampshire and Maine, A very short strip of mountain ridges in the extreme western part of Northe Carolina in the Great Smoky Mountains … and the Cape Cod area. Of these, the Cape Cod area has the most reliable sustained winds with the greatest average wind speeds.
The following is a map of the continental United States showing average annual wind resource estimates. The blue areas have the highest estimates with the estimates increasing from light to dark.
Map 2-6 Annual average wind resource estimates in the contiguous United States
Wind resource estimates are rated on a scale from 1 to 7. With current technology it takes a sustained wind speed greater than 6 miles per hour for wind turbines to have enough speed to produce electricity. This wind speed has to be sustainable for the turbine to be cost effective and efficient. It, therefore, requires an area to have a wind resource estimate of 3 or greater for that area to be minimally efficient.
The following map of the Massachusetts area reveals that in the Nantucket Sound/ Cape Cod area the wind resource estimates range from 3 to 6 with the sound randing from 4 to 6 and the Cape Cod peninsula having a rating exclusively of 6.
3-21 Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island annual average wind power
By comparison, the Cape Hatteras area of North Carolina has ratings which range from 2 to 3 with the Outer Banks only meeting the absolute minimum requirements. This map also shows that the only area in North Carolina that truly meets the requirements for efficient and cost effective wind power production is in the Great Smoky Mountains section of the Appalachian Mountains on the North Carolina/ Tennessee border. This is the only area in the Southeast that actually exceeds minimum requirements.
3-30 North Carolina annual average wind power
The other section of the eastern United States is in the mountains in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine with the coastal area of Maine having a rating of 4.
3-23 New Hampshire and Vermont annual average wind power
3-22 Maine annual average wind power
All of these areas are “pristine”. To reach the goal of having 20% of national energy requirements being met by wind energy by 2030, there are going to have to be some concessions made and a little adjustment in what people consider pristine.
People need to start seeing beauty in function. What could be more beautiful that a machine that produces electrical energy from the wind, reducing our country’s dependence on imported oil or reducing our need to burn fossil fuels to produce that same electricity?
One might ask, “Why not just put the wind farms in the less populated West and build power lines to bring the electricity back to the East? The West has many larger areas with adequate wind resources.”
Today, I heard that the electrical infrastructure of the United States is going to require trillions of dollars in new investment to upgrade it to handle future requirements. People need to consider where all of that electricity to power their electric cars is going to come from. Various power grids in this country are already interconnected to shift electricity through high voltage lines among the grids to handle changes in energy requirements among the various grids. Everyone should know the results when this function fails.
Each section of the country should be willing to shoulder its share of the responsibility of maximizing its capacity to utilize wind power rather than throwing that responsibility onto someone else’s shoulders. Senator Kennedy is a good example of what a person shouldn’t be like, selfish and hedonistic.
If Senator Kennedy were truly dedicated to the betterment of the nation and the interests of his constituency, he would introduce a bill in the Senate condemning all the property on Cape Cod under eminent domain and raze all the homes on that peninsula. The federal government could then lease the land to power companies to build wind farms on the peninsula with areas such as beaches set aside for public use and enjoyment not simply the playground of the idle rich. It’s easy enough for the government to condemn the property of the poor or less fortunate to provide land for a real estate developer to exploit the commercial value of property for the developer’s personal benefit in the name of eminent domain. Why shouldn’t the government do the same to rich people when it truly and actually does benefit the common good?
Can Barack Obama actually add some meat to his populist message rather than some vague hypothetical lip service? If Barack Obama were truly a candidate of change, he would make the above recommendation one of his highest priorities. It’s time for less empty rhetoric and some definitive action. It’s easy to talk a populist message about windfall profit taxes for oil companies which are perceived to be impersonal behemoths rather than the employers of tens of thousands of Americans and the property of millions of stock holders whether they be individual investors or have an interest in the oil companies through their pensions or retirement plans. How will the candidate of change handle the national interest in the face of a relatively few fat cat politicians who happen to be his political cronies and supporters? Obama definitely doesn’t need the added burden of lobbyists. He has enough millstones hanging around his neck in the form of political endorsements from the likes of Ted Kennedy and other political hacks.
Filed under: News | Tagged: Barack Obama, Cape Cod, Nantucket Sound, Ted Kennedy, wind power | 15 Comments »