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welcome, paul!

your thought piece is great, and should be on obama's desk, if i had my druthers.
One Million Megawatts of Wind Capacity for the USA

Theoretically, it can be done. There's more than ample land area in the US for such a large number of wind turbines.(6) Even with a very open spacing, for example 8 rotor diameters by 10 rotor diameters apart, ~1 million MW would require little more than 3% of the land area of the lower 48 states.(7) And of this land, the wind turbines would only use about 5% for roads and ancillary facilities.

Moreover, the US has the manufacturing capacity to build such a large number of machines within less than two decades.

Every year America manufacturer's of heavy trucks churn out ~300,000 vehicles.(8) Each heavy truck is the equivalent of a ½ MW wind turbine. Thus, heavy truck manufacturers alone build the equivalent of ~150,000 MW/yr.

If two-thirds of truck production were diverted to manufacturing wind turbines, the industry could build ~100,000MW/yr. Thus, it is theoretically possible that the American heavy truck industry could provide 1,000,000 MW in about one decade.

Clearly one million MW of wind capacity in the United States alone is an ambitious target, but it's a target worthy of a great nation.

it's all right there!

when i read about the big three bailout, this idea was screaming in my head too. they have the tooling industry, supply lines for raw materials, real estate, willing workers, where's the problem?

obviously retooling dozens, nay hundreds, of factories is not a piece of cake, but it is so feasible, and when i see how much tech and human energy, not to mention precious resources like water, it takes to produce another SUV, and the hundreds and thousands of unsold ones lining the docks world wide, it increasingly seems like a no-brainer.

once the bullet was firmly bit, it would have the same positive influence on industry , unemployment and the economy, both at local and federal levels, as the marshall plan did for europe.

the real obstacle, i think, is that you can't sell a wind turbine to consumers as as status fetish, upgrading every two years, like you could till recently with SUV's...

now that the texas oil and roads mafia lobby bush madministration has helicoptered off to plan their next raid, perhaps the general public (plumbers with sixpacks?) will glom on to the blindingly obvious, eg that decentralising energy will have as big a social effect as rolling out broadband, especially when twinned with it.

and that means many, many tollbooths are going to get circumvented.

at the head and foot of every valley here in the umbrian appennines, there is a ruined fortification, where travellers had to pay for the privilege of trading, or even merely passing through. nice work if you can get it!

of course we are taxed in much subtler ways now, and the burdens are probably heavier in that and many other ways too ( back then we weren't frying our planet, fr'example), but they serve as grim reminders of a darker age, and as i drive by their impressive masses, it always makes me wonder how many other tolling mechanisms are going to end up as useless relics.

as we continue to mature as a species, it should follow that we should seek ever less top down, centralised, heirarchical solutions to our problems. the old way takes too much of a toll, in capital rent.

too many valves in the pipes, flow slows and shuts down, too many parasitic intermediaries in the food chain, less healthy the ecology, too many centralised energy companies, higher prices and systemic stress, federalise smart grid, decentralise as much as possible energy inputs, so many coal mines could shut down, so much gas could be used for other better purposes than creating electricity, and people could use the monthly capital bleed of energy bills they'd save financially to invest in other parts of the economy.

/rant


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jan 23rd, 2009 at 06:37:27 AM EST
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