On the Windmills


There is something I’ve been wanting to say since the winter blast that hit the country in early February. Particularly hard hit were the southern states not used to such cold temperatures in the negative numbers.

One of the biggest problems was the strain put on the power grids of Oklahoma and Texas, because neither state was prepared for it. Why would they be? I’m 57 years old, and have in lived in both states. I have no memory of it ever being that cold before and certainly not for that length of time. It fell to -12F degrees in Oklahoma, and stayed below zero for ten days or more.

Some feel the fault lies with the windmills in Oklahoma and Texas which failed because of the cold. They had not been properly winterized. Again, why would they be? This cold was unheard of until now. Fans of the oil and gas industry used this situation to further their staunch agendas by describing the windmills (all alternative fuel sources, for that matter), as bogus, part of a left-wing political agenda, and completely useless. They seemed to actually enjoy the fact that the windmills failed, in spite of the fact that people were going without power. It was a tragedy. Yet they smugly posted “told ya so’s” all over social medial. They believe that the windmills are useless, in spite of the fact that they have been producing energy just fine until these historically low cold temperatures. This is “throw the baby out with the bath water” thinking. The windmills aren’t useless. Alternative fuel sources have not been negated because Texas and Oklahoma failed to foresee a problem that has never happened before. The windmills in the northern part of the country worked just fine, because they were aptly winterized.

It is ridiculous to negate alternative fuel sources because this year these windmills failed. How many attempts at flight, how many airplanes were built, before we came to what we have now. When the first airplane prototype went off the cliff and crashed, did inventors shrug their shoulders with an “I guess we’re not supposed to fly,” and leave it at that? Of course not! How many improvements have been made to the automobile? Space travel would not even be a thing, had scientists stopped at the first or even the 50th fail.

Failure rarely requires the scrapping of an idea. Failure invites us to begin again with even more innovation. The windmills in Texas and Oklahoma simply need improving based on what we know now. That is all. There is no need to throw them all out.

I am a fan of alternative fuel sources. I freely admit it. I am in the middle of making plans to build a home that will use both wind and solar. If I could figure out how to use chicken poop to heat my house, I’d do it.

Now, before my beloved oil and gas friends get all up in my business about this, hear me out. I not saying we just put the brakes on the oil and gas industry immediately. I do not agree that one should trump the other, at least not right now. But, we WILL eventually run out of fossil fuels. You have to be completely delusional to think otherwise. It is a finite resource and one day there be any left to drill. Doesn’t it make sense then, to start the process of weaning ourselves from dependence on oil and gas? Even if you don’t believe that we are running out of fossil fuels, the oil and gas industry has become too political and the wrong people are in control of it all. But mostly, the question that keeps coming back to me is “Do we continue to destroy our environment drilling and fracking (not to mention the pollution caused by the very thing we are drilling) or do we become beholden to other countries to provide it to us?”

But wait! There is a third option. No one owns the sun and no one owns the wind. To use either, we neither tear up our environment nor are we obligated to other countries. It is there, outside, free for the taking. Plus, if we ever run out of sunshine, it won’t matter anyway.

The times they are a changing, my friends. I truly believe that oil, gas, wind and sun can easily work together. If I were an oil and gas company, I would create a solar and wind division to supplement and enhance what I already offer to the consumer. That is simply smart business.

No phone company would have survived the last generation had they been wed entirely to land lines. Car companies are creating cars that run on alternative fuels. Conversely, Blockbuster Video failed due to its refusal to give up its late fees and move on to digital. Doesn’t it make sense that an energy company would want to diversify to keep up with not only the changes in our environment but the change in consumer thinking?

I believe, if we could all get past what our political party tells us to think, and start looking at what is possible, this world would be a much better place to live. I say, Save the Windmills.

02 comments on “On the Windmills

  • JOYCE TRITTIPO , Direct link to comment

    Absolutely right, Diane!
    My son has been involved in the alternative energy field since 2008. The first company he worked for, Virent Energy Systems was a start-up that developed a plant-based fuel (not ethanol) that could be directly used in a gasoline engine car!
    All the big oil companies are heavily investing in alternative energy projects. BP, Shell, Chevron, Total, Eni, Marathon and Exxon all have invested billions.
    When big oil doesn’t dismiss the alternative energy possibilities, I really can’t understand why they do not publicize these investments and educate the public of their potential.
    My son now is involved in carbon recapture technology. Not only does this technology lessen pollution, it converts the carbon waste into other forms of energy, creating a circular carbon economy. A steel mill, for example, would make lightweight steel for parts of a plane, and then use production emissions to make fuel for that plane as well as chemicals to produce the synthetic fibers, plastics and rubbers needed for the body and cabin of the aircraft. This is the circular economy in action: waste mitigation, resource efficiency and value add through carbon reductions.
    It’s exciting stuff!

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