Discussion of Relative Dangers of Energy Sources Verges on the Ridiculous
An article last week in Renewable Energy World.com discusses the dangers of different types of energy generation. The recent earthquake and tsunami that trashed the fishing and nuclear power industries in Japan also hit the wind farms in the area. While the region’s power infrastructure fell to its knees, the wind turbines — designed with both earthquakes and tsunamis in mind — withstood the impact unscathed. The Komiso wind farm was especially interesting to note, as it sits in a few feet of water right on the coast of Japan just 200 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter. The wind farm suffered zero damage.
Ironically, due to the massive grid failure, the electric company asked wind farm owners to shut down the wind turbines while the initial repairs were made on the grid. Once the initial fires were put out, the wind farm owners have been asked to increase production to help keep the lights on.
Now, the stock price of Japan Wind Development Company has risen sharply while the Tokyo Stock Market has plummeted.
The article goes on to discuss the relatively minor dangers, in comparison to nuclear meltdown, of wind turbines falling over and solar panels getting blown off a roof. While well written, and compelling in the modern energy discussion, the difference in the safety of solar and wind compared to nuclear is laughable. The end of the article reads a little like a feature in the fake newspaper, The Onion, discussing the relative danger of getting hit on the head with an apple versus a hand grenade.
Unfortunately, in today’s energy culture, this kind of article explaining the painfully obvious modern energy quagmire is highly relevant. It is important to realize that ever time we turn on our lights, put a piece of bread in the toaster, or fire up a power tool that we are casting a vote for the future of energy. At the least, sign up for a clean energy program from a your local utility like Xcel’s Windsource program that pays for our domestic energy production to be drawn from clean energy sources. Better yet, install a photovoltaic system on your house and start selling electricity back to the grid. The only dangerous thing you can do is to do nothing at all.