Monday, August 16, 2010
Wind turbines on Lake Pontchartrain
Though I've spent the last few years living in Massachusetts, don't think I'm opposed to wind power. I'm for it and I think a wind farm located off Nantucket is the best thing since oil was discovered in Pennsylvania shale. A critique of the opposition to the Cape Wind Farm is located here courtesy of the Daily Show.
The Times-Picayune reports today that wind turbines are being considered for the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. The original proposal is to power the toll booth at the northern end. That's small beer. I drove the Causeway the other day. It's a straight shot suspended over the water, not much to look at and windy as all get out. My Little Ninja motorcycle was buffeted to and fro along the lane and I turned around after seven miles out of the twenty-four that it takes to go from end to end. There wasn't much to see besides water and there wasn't much to do but go forward and stay upright. I did see some flying pelicans and that was worthwhile but otherwise there wasn't much scenery to enjoy.
Since the causeway's supports are solid, they've sustained no damage from hurricanes, they make an ideal support for wind turbines. I understand a test project needs to be done but generating enough electricity to power a toll plaza seems a bit unimaginative. I suspect that when all is said and done, years in the future, turbines will spin at regular intervals along the causeway to provide power to all of greater New Orleans. As we've learned from the recent BP debacle, oil comes with its costs. What's the worst damage a turbine could do? Topple over?
The wind over Lake Pontchartrain is a relatively benign, untapped resource. Besides being a petroleum producing state, Louisiana could be a leader in renewable energy sources. Food for thought as the first decade of the latest century comes to a close. The infrastructure is already there to build off. No one can complain a line of towering turbines is any uglier than the causeway itself.