Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wind turbines too controversial?

While some southern Minnesota counties have literally hundreds of wind turbines dotting the corn and soybean-filled landscape, another south-central county has basically banned them. Nicollet County, just outside of Mankato, has just made it nearly impossible (h/t) to build the clean energy-generating windmills.

By requiring a one-half mile setback from any dwelling/residence, Nicollet County has effectively stifled any hopes of wind energy spurring a monetary infusion into the county and it's also crushed the hopes of Gustavus Adolphus whose college campus in the city of St. Peter wanted to erect a wind turbine both as a symbolic measure of their commitment to the environment and as a working model that a large business can make strides to be self-sustained.
Oh, sure, cities use the argument that wind turbines can be an eyesore and are unpleasant to see in a city's skyline. Well, in case most cities haven't noticed - especially in the suburbs - their skylines are defined by water towers and cell phone antennas. Those aren't exactly landmarks when every damn city looks like its neighbor. Maybe these head-up-their-ass elected officials need to look to the future instead of their oh-so-pristine skylines and think about the next generation because if every kilowatt continues to come from coal, the skies could be so dirty that you wouldn't be able to see your water towers and cell phone antennas.

MinnPics is also on board with the majestic coolness of wind turbines dotting Minnesota's farmscapes because they look awesome in photos.


Bill Roehl said...

And some communities, like those in West Central Minnesota like Lake Benton have completely embraced the technology as a positive addition to their economy and tourism.

As we were driving US-14 on Sunday during a trip home from a 3.5 day adventure through MN, IA, SD, and NE one of the highlights was seeing the sheer volume of turbines slicing through the air and appearing as if they were changing color (from white to gray and back as we got closer and then further away).

The highlight of St Peter was the realization that we had finally cleared the terrible traffic created by the construction along 169 and the knowledge that no one broke out of the hospital for the criminally insane and attempted to carjack us as we headed north.

Jacki said...

I agree...and having lived and traveled extensively in Denmark, where I think there are more windmills than people, I don't consider them an eyesore at all. I'd rather look at windmills than huge billboards and neon signs.

Jeff said...

I got a chuckle at the people in Galveston who complained that the wind turbines out in the Gulf of Mexico were an eyesore. They were so far offshore that they were barely visible on the horizon on a clear day and they looked like they were only about 1/2" tall. Whatever.