JACKSBORO, Texas, July 25, 2012 — If you’re a landscape painter, and if you’re looking in Texas for pastoral scenes to paint, you’d better paint them now. The landscape in changing rapidly.
If on the other hand you’re looking to paint wind farms, you’ve come to the right place. It seems as if just about every hill has one, or two, or even three — as many as can be crammed onto that particular hill.
They rise up from the ground like giant eggbeaters. They’re enormous, and they dominate what was once a vast landscape of flowers and tall prairie grasses as far as the eye could see. No more.
In the hill country where I live, there was a time when you could enjoy the blue haze from the distant hills, maybe set up a canvas to paint the sun setting behind them or just sit and watch while the color washed over them at dusk. Now those hills are dotted with wind generators churning out electricity. This pastoral scene looks nothing like the Texas kids imagined when they imagined cowboys and cattle drives.
In Texas there are over 10,377 of these wind towers in over 40 projects and counting. In 2010, the Rosco project had 627 towers; now there are 781 and growing. Just to the west of me, the Gamesa company is in the process of dotting the surrounding hills with possibly 150 of these towering monstrosities.
The federal government is planning to invest 150 billion of our dollars over the next ten years into this wind farm business. Don’t they remember the money we lost to Solyndra?
Over the years we have all heard of global warming. Now a study, conducted by Anjuli Bamzai of the National Science foundation, shows that the wind Farms may be contributing to local warming and climate change. From 2003 to 2011, the nighttime temperatures over the wind farms rose at a rate of 0.72 degrees Celsius per decade. The study suggests that the turbines act like fans, which pull warmer near-surface air down towards the ground.
But as we all know, nothing is conclusive; next year they may find that these fans cool the air.
Grand schemes like these wind farms were designed to propel American into the future, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, to create well-paying jobs for American citizens, and to reduce greenhouse gasses, but I wonder, are we just throwing our butter and egg money into the wind?
On Wednesday, the Obama Administration acknowledged a wide-ranging definition of “green jobs,” including such wonderful careers as bike repair shop clerk, hybrid-bus driver, and any school bus driver who fuels up that hybrid bus. Bureau of Labor Statistics acting commissioner John Galvin went on to say that oil lobbyist qualified as a green job.
Let’s not forget, if you sweep the floor of a company that makes solar panels, you have a green job. All those green jobs will make America great again.
What these expansive views and definitions of “green jobs” really do is mislead the American public into thinking that the stimulus package is working, and green jobs are just popping up all over, like wind farms. “Green jobs” sounds so much better than “janitors” and “bus drivers,” so much more professional. We know that new green-collar jobs worth writing home about aren’t so plentiful.
I’m trying to figure out, as I sit here at my computer typing, am I holding down a green job? If my electricity comes from a wind farm…
And getting back to wind farms, I honestly hope they have a bright future, because if they don’t, I can’t begin to think what we’ll do with rusty, worn down wind generators strewn across the Texas landscape. Maybe farmers could use them to stack hay….
Buy the way, because my computer runs on electricity, I’m certain that I have a green job. It sure make me feel good!
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