Of Bandwagons and Windmills

Not long ago a friend and blogger wrote a piece about the tendency people have to jump on the bandwagon. In many cases, they clamber aboard with no clear understanding of where the darn thing is headed. Of course, it is sometimes difficult to know with certainty where the wagon is going if the driver has no clear-cut destination in mind, or is intentionally misleading recruits. For example, this same friend shared a news story recently about the dilemma faced by those riding the wind-generated electricity bandwagon.

If you missed the news on this issue, so did most of the world. As far as I could determine the only major, to use the term loosely, outlet discussing the matter was NPR. The rest of the coverage was limited to online publications most people would not consult in a million years. Of course, that is somewhat understandable as the terms wind-generated electricity, wind turbines, and ecological impact put most people to sleep more effectively than Ambien.

So, here is the problem in a nutshell. This oh, so efficient and effective source of electricity has a major flaw. This flaw makes the decimation of the California Condor1 a footnote at best, and it creates an environmental, sort of, problem that will last for a few centuries. What is that problem you ask; recycling.

As with some of the other “green” energy ideas, wind turbines have a recycling problem. Those blades that spin so slowly and magnificently when the wind blows have a limited life span. As with almost anything one can think of structural material degrades over time. In the case of the highly sophisticated turbine blades, they reportedly have a life span of around two decades, give or take.

Once they begin to become structurally unsound, they must be replaced. The problem then is what does one do with a multi-ton, 110-155 foot composite blade. As it turns out, you pay someone to cut the sucker up and create new landfill mountains where it, and thousands of others, can rest in peace for future generations to excavate and wonder what were those ancient people thinking.

Yes, the green energy bandwagon has hit a significant bump in the road that makes many wonder what we’ve gotten ourselves into. Of course, as with any passion or delusion, we often see what we wish to see. Take the great windmill tilter of literary history, Don Quixote. He saw challenges and danger in everything from windmills to members of the clergy. Quixote’s view of reality was entirely obscured by his thirst for times past and heroic deeds.

Today, our tilters see monsters in board rooms determined to destroy the world in chase of the almighty dollar. They see giants of industry as highwaymen stealing from the poor to give to their cronies. They suspect a CEO will follow a path that will end the world in a few years if he or she can make a killing in the stock market this year, and like the man of La Mancha, they can find a truth that fits the view of those on their bandwagon where none exists.

Consider some of the objections made by those on the wind power bandwagon when confronted with the reality of the situation. One cried, “There must be some way to reuse these blades. Can’t they be polished or refinished in some way?” Undoubtedly, someone who avoided science or engineering classes during his school days, he had no idea there was such a thing as structural failure, and could only see the blade retirement problem as an attack on “the most efficient and cost-effective” form of renewable energy.

Other objections, as noted below, took more scholarly aim at supporting windmill farms. Of course, wind turbines are not the only renewable energy sources touted by those who see our carbon footprint as a death warrant for the eco-system. Those individuals find ways to see the world from the bed of a bandwagon that has a blind spot for the environmental and human costs associated with the production and recycling of high energy batteries for electric vehicles and other uses.

Admittedly, some may argue this writer is on the bandwagon of fossil fuels and capitalistic excesses that make my vision of their vision skewed. They certainly have a right to their opinion, and there is always the possibility they are correct. With that said, it is much more likely those pushing the green deal thinking, are not simply trying to be better stewards of the environment. Rather, they see a way to make money and grab power by forcing the pseudo-science claims of impending disaster due to man-made climate change on a poorly educated public.

If, and it is a big if, the doomsday predictions have any truth in them at all, the way those behind these movements are campaigning is despicable. They are in essence using the tactics of failed regimes of the past attempting to force their views on the rest of us. From masked goons attempting to silence any sort of debate, on any issue, to exploiting the fears of a teenage girl, they have joined the ranks of despots, totalitarians, and mustachioed supremacists from the past in their efforts to force the world into a future, they hope to control.

  1. I know! Researchers have gone out of their way to support what some call the condor Cuisinart power source by citing how few birds are killed by wind turbines compared to the number of Sparrows eaten by the neighbor’s kitty every year, and I am certain tens of thousands of tax dollars were spent on research to support those claims. Still, the Condors were not endangered by the turbines until green energy became the cause cé·lè·bre for the elites.

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1 Response to Of Bandwagons and Windmills

  1. Lane Westbrook says:

    That’s beautiful Eric!

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