Wonders about wind
I am truly amazed by the excitement generated due to the development of wind generation in Nebraska.
As a small child I remember the 32-volt wind generators and the large bank of storage batteries we had on the farm. If we were conservative we had lights in the house, milk house, outbuildings, and power to run the radio even if the wind didn't blow for several days. Yes, those big batteries and the wind charger itself required maintenance, but that was as good as it got back in those days. Then the REA (Rural Electrification Administration) came to our farm in the late 1940s.
It was a great thing when dad eliminated the little gas engine that was on top of mom's ringer type washing machine and replaced it with an electric motor.
We could run the lights whenever we wanted, we got an outside yard light, and a brand new Kelvinator refrigerator that would even make ice cubes in the top section! By having the real full time electricity from the REA it eliminated the need for dad to spend valuable time maintaining wind generation equipment and use that time to do the farming, the care of the livestock, and making a living for the family.
The wind generation that is currently being developed all across the Midwest is interesting and definitely politically correct and for the moment is creating a lot of jobs.
In a recent news telecast they reported that 70 percent of Obama's stimulus money for wind generation was going to foreign countries where a lot of the equipment for our wind chargers was being manufactured. I am not opposed to some wind generation, but I do feel that a lot of people have been led to believe that the wind is free. So, how can you go wrong? I would compare wind generation to an outside swimming pool in Nebraska. It creates jobs constructing the pool and maintaining the pool and then you can use it about 35 percent of the year.
I would hope that 30 years down the road these big wind towers supporting the generating units are not just standing there useless and obsolete just like the big purple glass lined Harvestores that dot the Midwest country side since the 1960s. Construction of wind generation will continue but I truly wish that some of the millions of dollars being spent on wind generation could be used to build nuclear and new clean coal generation plants that are constant and proven to be dependable long term. The need for these types of power plants will never go away.
At the present time Nebraska Public Power District is positioned with excess generation, but with the present base load generation dating back 40 to 50 years, it is time to get serious about replacing them before the wind doesn't blow and the lights go out in Nebraska. Most plants would take many years to license, get approved, and then constructed.
The main benefactors of the wind units will be the landowner who receives the annual land lease payment, the manufacturers (some foreign), the employees hired to maintain the wind units, but definitely not the rate payers of Nebraska!
If we continue to try and satisfy the Obama regime and Al Gore in dealing with the politically correct "GREEN" and "CLIMATE CHANGE" everyone will probably be spending a lot of evenings in the future sitting in the dark.
I have been associated with the electrical industry for 47 years as an employee, manager and now a board member of one of the larger rural power districts in Nebraska. Every day there is another hurdle out there in the electrical industry.
So it's time to apply a little conservative common sense.
The above comments are my opinion and are not meant to represent anyone or any organization.