Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The American people are hypocrites I think. More exact, the people of Central Pennsylvania are hypocrites. Of course I'm just making a generalization here. Forgive me if I have incorrectly included you in my generalization, but for now you'll have to deal with it. Why do I think this way? It's simple really. People complain until the cows come home about energy costs and pollution, but when given the option of switching to clean, renewable energy, these same people go ape poop! Let me give you an example. Within the last few years Wind Power has become quite popular here in Central PA. We're in a prime location for it! Thanks to our geographic location, The Appalachian mountains, and U.S. weather patterns, the wind nearly blows constantly at many locations in this Commonwealth. Why not harness that naturally generated power? Years ago 6 giant wind turbines were built in Somerset County to generate power for countless people across this state (and possibly other states). In fact, one of my college professors paid extra per month to get that power pumped out to his home in Grantham, PA (because, unlike even Heaven, you know you can pick your energy provider here in PA, at least that's what the commercials used to portray) simply because it was clean, renewable energy. Within the last year, nearly 100 wind turbines were constructed on a mountain ridge not more than 20 miles from my home. In fact, on a clear, crisp evening you can see their tiny, distant silhouettes against the bright orange sky. It's really quite a site to see

In case you're new to this term, Renewable Energy, I'll explain it because it's simple really. Renewable Energy is energy that can be generated without harmful emissions, and frankly, will never cease to be generated by losing its source. Current energy technologies such as burning coal, and nuclear power all have ends in site. When we run out of nuclear fuels, or fossil fuels, we are out of power and out of luck. Who knows how many years we have left of that stuff, but I can tell you, it ain't long. Sure maybe our kids' kids will still use that power, but probably not much further than that. Enter Renewable Energy! Like its name states, it's renewable. Examples of this type of energy are solar cells, wind turbines, and water turbines. Obviously even these sources of energy have an end too, but the human race won't be around anymore to see the end of our Sun or water. Water turbines have been used for decades to generate electricity. The best example of these are dams like the Hoover Dam. There the natural flow of water turns giant turbines, generating electric current. Newer hydro-electric generation technologies are coming in the form of harnessing the power of oceanic waves, and hi-tech (and so far highly expensive) hydrogen extraction of water. Solar cells have also been around for years, but are still pretty expensive and rather inefficient. This brings us to wind energy. Pressure differences across the planet will aways exist causing the phenomenon we have all come to know as wind. Using the natural occurrence of atmospheric pressure differentials, we are able to spin giant turbines, some of which the wings easily stretch the length of an entire football field, to generate a whole crap load of electricity. The cost of these units is quite minuscule compared to a giant electric plant, and maintenance costs to keep the turbines functional are minimal as well.

So what do people have against these renewable forms of energy? Really stupid stuff like appearance, damage to the surrounding environment, and possible noise solution. In reality what it is coming down to is people not knowing enough about renewable energies in our environment, yet still trying to make decisions. Sort of sounds like your workplaces doesn't it? Well guess what, the whole country seems to operate this way! Unfortunately decisions aren't made based off fact, education and long term benefits, but are "more importantly" based off money, personal interest, and possibilities of instant gratifications. Thanks to the American people's decision making process wind turbine farm proposals across Bedford and Blair counties are being shut down because of our inability to base decisions off of fact. We just assume that since these are big machines, and near crucial water supplies that they will destroy said water supplies. So we hire expensive environmental engineers and consultants only to refuse to listen to them because of what they know is too different than what we think we know.

What point am I trying to make here? Support any local renewable energy plans that are proposed to your communities. Okay, so maybe a 100 wind turbine farm does not express beauty the same way as trees do, but they are quiet, and sort of have their own beauty. Plus if the government wants to build them on your property, they'll pay you for many many years to come. More importantly though is the fact that you'll be involved in the generation of clean, renewable energy that even your kids' kids' kids will be able to experience (that's your great grand kids by the way, and if you plan on being around to see them, you better start thinking of how to make this planet better for them and not how you, yourself can profit from it).

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