Sobriety Test

... kill birds 

... need wind 
 ... are costly 

... need land 

... are noisy

If cocaine is God's way of saying we've got too much money, California's windmills at Altamont Pass are God's way of saying we've got too many birds --- especially bald eagles.  Some 39 bald eagles per year have been killed by the windmills --- out of a total of only 500 breeding pairs [1]. 

Windmills don't necessarily have to be built on mountain passes, of course.  The only thing they require is wind.  The reason for choosing passes, however, it that such sites have much more wind than other sites.  Remember --- a doubling of the wind velocity increases power output by a factor of 8. 

Here are some sobering realities from [1] below: If you are paying less than 10 cents per kWh, electricity from your own windmill will cost you more.  

But you also need to be in a location where the average windspeed is 10 miles per hour or better.  You need at least an acre of land to support a tower of 80 to 100 feet.  

Noise levels about half that of a lawn mower can be expected. 

[1] See: Robert L. Bradley, "Renewable Energy: Not Cheap, Not Green," Policy Analysis 280, Aug. 27, 1997.

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