This week, legislators in California approved a bill that, if passed, could be a huge step forward for renewable energy. This bill would mandate that energy companies
receive at least 33% of their power from wind, solar
and other renewable sources, with a compliance deadline of less than 10 years.With
the ever-growing price and scarcity of fossil fuels, as well as fears
about the safety of nuclear power, Americans are turning more and more
to alternative, renewable energy sources. If the California law passes, it is expected that many other states will follow suit. One of the obstacles to the widespread growth of wind farms, utilizing windmills or wind turbines to generate power, has been the alleged expense. Many critics claim that wind power is too expensive to generate, store, and transmit to homes and businesses. Surprisingly, wind farms are generally about 35% cheaper to operate than nuclear power plants, and that figure doesn't even take into account the tremendous expense that the cleanup of a nuclear accident would cost, not to mention the human toll in lives and health, lost business, farming, and public assets in the surrounding area, and lost productivity.
Some critics of wind power have alleged that the turbines are unsightly or make too much noise, and have taken a Not In My Back Yard stance to the entire concept of windpower. But when weighed against the risks posed by a nuclear power plant, and with attention paid to the pollution caused by fossil fuel power plants as well as dwindling natural resources, surely these dubious drawbacks of wind energy seem negligible in comparison.