As I recall, during the 10 years I lived in Texas, it was scorching heat rather than freezing cold that made life difficult.
But then a few days ago climate change kicked in and, in open defiance of Greta Asperger, the change went in the wrong direction. Things got a lot colder and – again seemingly to spite Greta – the wind turbines froze and died of hypothermia.
Since, following Greta’s orders, wind farms now supply almost a quarter of the state’s energy, thousands of people in West Texas lost their electricity and suffered the fate I used as my title. The Yankees up north must be grinning with Schadenfreude. In fact, they may feel that justice was done.
Many years ago, New York experienced several grid breakdowns, except then practically all energy came from hydrocarbons, of which Texas was a major supplier. To thaw those shivering northerners the government tried to plunder Texas’s emergency reserves, but the locals were dead set against it.
With an astonishing speed their pickup trucks began to sport bumper stickers saying “Let’em freeze in the dark”. Well, what goes around…
Yet there I was, thinking that wind farms provide an inexhaustible supply of clean, planet-friendly energy bearing Greta’s seal of approval. Turns out those turbines can be pretty fickle.
If there’s too little wind, they don’t work. If there’s too much, they break. If it gets cold, they freeze. If it’s too hot, they may catch fire, as they did in Scotland a few years ago. Seriously, Greta must have a heart-to-heart with God and demand in her customary shrill voice that he guarantee just the right weather for ecologically responsible energy – or else.
But even when the weather is ideally conducive to producing green energy, ‘our planet’ still groans from abuse, and it’s wind turbines that are some of the culprits. For, though it pains me to say so, those turbines are machines and sooner or later all machines go zonk.
This raises the problem of disposal, and so far no solution has been found, nor indeed sought. Recycling only works for the steel that goes into the construction of the blades, but not for the equally present fiberglass.
Now that the first generation of turbines have reached their expiry date, tens of thousands of blades are being dumped into landfills, and soon there will be hundreds of thousands. Considering that the blades are the size of Boeing 747 wings, an ecological disaster looms.
The staunch environmentalist in me feels that too much plastic in the soil can’t possibly be good for ‘the planet’. That looks like a problem, but this once I can’t offer a solution.
All I can think of are strictly palliative measures, such as turning some of the blades into conceptual sculptures, bearing names like ‘Green Earth’, ‘Bursting with Energy’ or, for that matter, ‘Greta’. However, even if every self-respecting museum exhibits one or two, that will only scratch the surface.
Whoever came up with the idea of wind farms in the first place must have been thinking in broad strokes, without being unduly bothered with trivial details. Such as too much or too little wind, a weather too hot or too cold, and fiberglass landfills covering ‘our planet’ more and more densely.
As a big-picture man myself, I can relate to that. And I’m looking forward to the time wind farms provide most of our energy. Or don’t, as the case may be.