Wind energy has both pros and cons, like any other form of energy. Perhaps its biggest plus is that it provides a never-ending source of energy, particularly on these Great Plains, where the wind always seems to blow. Its biggest negative may be its visibility and audibility in the landscape (to name two, flicker effect […]
Wind energy has both pros and cons, like any other form of energy. Perhaps its biggest plus is that it provides a never-ending source of energy, particularly on these Great Plains, where the wind always seems to blow. Its biggest negative may be its visibility and audibility in the landscape (to name two, flicker effect and the noise that funnels into the homes of some people living near windmills).
Unless we as Americans are willing to reduce, substantially, our energy consumption, then, I believe, wind energy (as well as solar) should continue to play a vital role in helping our country to meet its energy demands. In the long run, hopefully, wind and solar will reduce the demand for oil and other extractive energy sources.
Fracking has increased the potential yield of domestic oil, but the question of 'at what cost' remains unanswered. Studies and opinions abound, and contradict each other, regarding whether or not the fluids used in fracking contaminate groundwater. It is likely that surface water is being contaminated by accidental spills of fracking fluids, which are frequent according to one study (see https://nicholas.duke.edu/about/news/west-virginia-groundwater-not-affected-fracking-surface-water). I don't know about you, but I am more concerned about my groundwater being contaminated by fracking then I am about the audible and visual irritations produced by a wind farm.
Water is the source of all life, and anything that potentially threatens this source should give us pause to reflect: what is most important here?
As a non-landowner in the proposed windmill farm area of southwest Pratt County, I have nothing to gain (i.e. payments from the wind company) or lose (i.e. loss of quiet and the rural landscape) from its construction. So, this is my purely personal take on the existing wind farm in southeast Pratt County. I often ride my bicycle among these windmills. I enjoy seeing the blades turning, knowing that wind is being converted to energy. The Pratt County nighttime landscape definitely appears different, and I'm not sure how I feel about this. Also, it can be a little unnerving when you suddenly hear this whoosh, whoosh, whoosh sound as you come upon a windmill close to a dirt road in the black of night. Whatever wind energy's down side, however, I realize that modern society has increasing energy demands, and I would prefer that this energy come from a renewable source, like wind or solar.
My biggest concern about the wind farm is its impact upon migrating birds, which can be killed as they inadvertently fly into one of the windmill blades. I know that studies are completed before wind farm construction begins in order to mitigate this impact. A former employee of NextEra told me a couple years ago that the wind industry has been working on making the blades more visible to birds in flight. I hope that this effort yields positive results.
Overall, wind energy is a win for Pratt County, a win for Kansas, and a win for the United States. Here is a virtually limitless potential (true, on some days there isn't much wind) to produce energy. This is an energy supply which does not impact our critical groundwater supplies and also one which does not produce a byproduct whose disposal may cause earthquakes. As far as I'm concerned, the good that wind energy brings outweighs its negative impacts.