Monday, May 03, 2010

Disastrous Oil Slick Must Stir A Mighty Wind

For anyone trying to minimize the effects of the spill British Petroleum and Halliburton are responsible for, try this one on for size. Or this. Or that. Seriously, it's huge.

Now imagine that instead of having these impossible events occurring every few years (actually every month or so), we could fuel our planet from the wind that naturally blows across the surface of the ocean. A meteorlogist can explain it better than I, but basically at the coasts the temperatures differ between a moderate ocean and a warmer or cooler landmass, which propagates wind. The question is, why do some of us scream "Drill, Baby, Drill!" when we could have something much better.

From The NY Times:

The United States does not have a single offshore wind turbine, though there are more than 800 off the coast of nine European countries. So what do the wind gauges outside New York Harbor tell us?

“There is a lot of power out there,” said Brian A. Colle, a professor at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at Stony Brook University. “We are in a pretty nice location for the winter and for the warm seasons.”

The city and Long Island are now speaking to manufacturers and developers about building a wind park in the ocean about 13 miles from Rockaway, producing enough energy to power 250,000 homes.

This tragic event might just contain a silver lining to jump start an off-shore wind industry in America. The problem up until now is that the oil industry has dominated and the federal government has done next to nothing for decades to change our nation's energy equation. Critics will contend, and rightly so, that wind is erratic and never blows at a consistent rate, even in the best locations. However, with a system advocated for within the article referenced above that places turbines up and down the coast, the wind will be harnessed on a level that has never been seen before. On top of that, oil boosters conveniently leave out the fact that the price of oil is far greater than what the New York Stock Exchange claims it to be. Not only will there tab in the tens of billions for this one oil spill, but the U.S. taxpayer pays in more ways than they are generally aware.

The reality is, it is time for a new direction and President Obama should switch gears by letting go of trying to love oil and wholeheartedly embrace renewable energy.....bipartisanship be damned.