We should oppose the Wind PTC, but for much different reasons than those put forward by its traditional opponents. The bottom line is that wind energy does not meet even a modest "green" standard, and we should be putting our money to much more sustainable energy generators. Our energy choices (mistakes?) so far have ensured that we will feel the effects of climate change for hundreds of years -- rushing to deploy a destructive and subpar "bridge" technology will only cost us more in the long run and have only a marginal benefit for our climate compared to other technologies already available. Here are the top five reasons I think we should let the PTC for wind energy expire, and double down on investments in greener alternatives, such as energy efficiency, and solar on rooftops and already-disturbed lands.
|Photo courtesy Friends of Mojave|
actively lobbied the White House, Congress, and Department of Interior to weaken wildlife protections, and they have even co-opted some environmental groups to speak against wildlife protections. The Chokecherry/ Sierra Madre wind energy project in Wyoming is an excellent example of the wind industry's disregard for wildlife. The project is expected to be one of the most deadly to raptors and bats, but the wind industry refuses to find a better location. Solar panels on homes and businesses, on the other hand, pose a collision threat to inner-city wildlife, but it is unlikely that rooftop solar panels will kill off a local population of golden eagles, or decimate a bat roost.
|Cement foundation for wind turbine.|
|Solar over a parking lot in California.|
|Transmission lines in the Mojave.|
Those that disagree will argue vehemently that wind energy is much cleaner than coal, and the wind industry is on pace to displace coal. They are correct, and they probably argued the same for natural gas. But they will also twist and gloss over facts to defend the wind industry's environmental impacts, adamant that we have to stand firm behind the wind industry because it is a fast bridge from fossil fuels. Climate change is a serious and present threat to our wildlands and our communities, but the carbon emissions we have already generated have locked us into a spiral of impacts that will be felt for centuries, even if we miraculously cut all emissions today, according to climate expert Bill McKibben in his book Eaarth. It is imperative that we reverse our emissions quickly, but advocating for the destruction of thousands of square miles of wildlands and the potential extirpation of wildlife to cross the "bridge" is ludicrous when we have a more efficient and economically feasible alternative that can lay a much more sustainable energy foundation.
|A promotional image for Danny Kennedy's Rooftop Revolution book that neatly summarizes the vast difference between our old energy paradigm, and the new path available to us.|