Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day - Is the Answer, My Friend, Blowing in the Wind? .....

Today is Blog Action Day, an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Blog Action Day 2009 will be one of the largest-ever social change events on the web. The focus this year is on Climate Change.

Do changes addressing the creation of greenhouse gases in energy productions - whether in industry, or government - have to move at the glacial speed? Or, could they perhaps move with the speed and force of a West Texas wind?

In an August 24 article at, Sean Casten, President and CEO of Recycled Energy Development, suggests that the national debate on climate change legislation "continues to be based on a false assumption: that any major reforms will inevitably take decades to make a serious dent in greenhouse gas pollution."

Casten cites examples of renewable energy production under development - or already at work! - in New England. But I'm thinking the rapid development of wind energy in West Texas - a 21st-century adaptation of a centuries-old technology - could also provide some evidence in support of his thesis.
(Photo from

So, how does wind stack up on greenhouse gas emissions ... especially when the "total fuel cycle" (including manufacture of equipment, plant construction, etc.) is considered?

According to the American Wind Energy Institute, "the claim is sometimes made that manufacturing wind turbines and building wind plants creates large emissions of carbon dioxide. This is false. Studies have found that even when these operations are included, wind energy's CO2 emissions are quite small — on the order of 1% of coal or 2% of natural gas per unit of electricity generated. Or in other words, using wind instead of coal reduces CO2 emissions by 99%, using wind instead of gas by 98%."

Here's another take on wind energy in West Texas, from CBS News ...


miggs said...

Nice to see the shout out to Sean Casten of Recycled Energy Development ( I'm associated with that company, and yes, with the right incentives, greenhouse gas emissions could be cut pretty quickly. Unfortunately, policymakers have low expectations, largely because they're thinking about which technologies to invest in (and hand out goodies to) rather than setting goals for efficient power generation and then rewarding anyone who meets them (a la Denmark).

Jeff said...

Miggs, my pleasure. Contributions such as Sean's are need to open up the dialogue, and get things moving forward.