Bob's Links and Rants

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Monday, May 19, 2003

The Daily Dystopian links to an article about General Electric getting into the wind power business, and thinks that might be good news. Daily Dystopian should recall what happened to mass transit when General Motors got into the mass transit business in Los Angeles. (In the twenties and thirties, GM bought streetcar and bus lines in Los Angeles, and then shut them down.) GE's purchase of NBC didn't improve the media situation; don't expect their involvement in wind power to have any positive impact, either.

Personally, I wonder if wind power is such a great idea. If done on a massive-enough scale to put a big dent in US energy needs, wouldn't there be some side effects? Weather patterns could change, and the purifying effect of wind could be reduced. Our already over-cluttered landscape would be cluttered further. The real key, IMHO, is to cut way back on energy consumption. Hydro power was once claimed to be cheap and clean, but most of our rivers have been largely destroyed by hydro dams. Solar power seems free, but how much land area are we going to devote to it, and how will that impact the environment? Our sprawling, glittering cities and lifestyles are predicated on abundant cheap energy, and are unsustainable no matter where the energy comes from. And it's certainly not good news that companies like GE and BP-Amoco, who have profited greatly from the current mess, and positioning themselves to profit from the next one as well.