Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Alternative Energy Snake Oil

How would you like 10 or 15 of these modular wind turbine strapped to the side of your house? It would look cool. Your friends would ask you about it, and you could get mega-smug about how you feel a connection with Gaia and blather on about how they probably aren't enlightened enough to appreciate the earth. Unless I was one of your friends.

Because I'd ask you how you turn the house to face into the wind. And I'd wonder if maybe the wind speed is slowed a little seeing as there's a BIG FREAKING HOUSE IN ITS WAY. Plus, isn't there more wind a little bit above your house?

I mean, people look at this stuff and think "Oh it's true, we really could be energy independent. We just aren't making the investment." Because it's pretty and a neat looking, people think it's actually useful.

It's not. Take the not-facing-into-the-wind-problem. These "bolt on" turbines don't turn into the wind, which is a feature the cowboys had. Windmills swivel for a purpose, they're up in the air for a purpose, they aren't bolted to a house for a purpose.

Better are the concepts that everyone can see are bunk. You can look at the above and intuitively know that you aren't going to go for a walk just to charge your cell phone. You want a teaspoon of energy. You don't need to move your entire body around the countryside to get it.

Not surprising we have Reno, NV, where $416,000 worth of turbines have netted the city $2,800 in energy savings.

Or this, Solyndra 2:

Solar Trust for America received $2.1 billion in conditional loan guarantees from the Department of Energy -- "the largest amount ever offered to a solar project," according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu -- for a project near Blythe, Calif., but declared bankruptcy within a year. It is unclear how much of the guarantee, if any, was actually awarded.

I will be so happy when adults are back in charge and the visionaries can waste their own money on silly eco-fluff like this.