Friday, October 03, 2008

Florida: We don't want oil drilling. What about offshore wind?

Here's an item from today's NY Times (or the blog, anyway): New Jersey regulators approve building a big offshore wind-power generating field. Not oil field. Wind field.

A few weekends back the NY Times Sunday magazine had an article on how Delaware is going full-blast into electricity from wind. So is Rhode Island, according to the Times.

If this is a time of change, what about Florida and its pretty beach views? Are we going to be picky about what we can see from our sandy shores? Or might we accept something standing out there and producing energy?

Your blogger is in the minority in the Sunshine State. Hardly anyone is willing to risk oil drilling off our beaches. To me, the burgeoning world population is going to suck every drop of oil out of the earth, either quickly or slowly, and we should figure out how to do it -- clean and safe. If there's oil off our shores, exploiting it should be part of our spectrum of how to deal with the energy future. Sticking our heads in the beach sand is not a wise tactic.

Your blogger would welcome a strategy of placing oil fields and wind fields in a checkerboard along our beaches. If there's no oil, fine. There will be wind, and there's also the Gulf Stream kicking along at 3-5 knots bearing north. Could it turn turbines and make electricity? Maybe. If not, I read in Wikipedia that the Gulf Stream "transports about 1.4 petawatts of heat, equivalent to 100 times the world energy demand." Well, there's a statistic. What's a petawatt? It's a watt times 10 to the 15th power. Beyond mega-, giga-, and tera- lies the peta-. A truly big number. We oughta get at it.

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