Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Not In My Back Yard. That old saying applies to power generation as much as anything. Communities in Connecticut and Massachusetts don’t want to see wind generators off the coast. Instead, we have them here in northern New Hampshire.

Personally, I don’t mind wind generators all that much. They have a fairly small footprint. What else are we going to do? Put in more coal plants? As it is, the local trout are contaminated by mercury that comes from coal plants in the Midwest. If windmills are the price shutting down more coal plants, so be it. The existing infrastructure can handle a wind project or two.

There’s a power transmission project that’s supposed to bring electricity from Canada down to places south of New Hampshire. We won’t use any of that power here, but the huge power towers would slice right through some wild and beautiful areas. It’d be like a 6 lane highway going through the woods. Screw that. If those places want to use electricity, they can generate it where they use it. People have got to learn that electricity doesn’t come from plugs in their wall.
Just because New Hampshire’s North Country is sparsely populated and economically depressed, they think they can run roughshod over the locals. Then again, they often have in the past. Money, population, and political power go hand in hand.

I opposed the big hydro projects when they were being contemplated years ago. Of course, it’s in Canada, so it’s not like I could do much about it. (not that average people have much power in this country right now either) The massive hydro projects messed up the environment and displaced native peoples. While I couldn’t do much about them building the dams, I can protest them transmitting it across my County.

Thats on the macro level. On the local level, NIMBY also rules. My off the grid buddy just told me that his town just put in a whole series of onerous regulations for windmills. He was looking at putting in a small 400 - 600 watt wind genny to supplement his solar panels. Now the town wants him to jump through hoops like he was a utility putting in massive commercial wind farms.

He’s contemplating two options. Option one, he puts up the windmill without a permit anyway. He owns a fair piece of land, and is Redneck enough that the Yuppie Scum in town are a bit afraid of him. They might just choose to look the other way.

His other option is to quietly put in a micro-hydro plant before the town even thinks about regulating them.

The really weird thing is that the town can’t do anything at all if he wants to supplement his power with a noisy, smelly, gasoline generator. You’d think they’d be happy he wants to put in a small windmill.

Those who don’t want power generation in their backyards also don’t want to think about conservation. They want cheap power and they want it to come from someplace out of sight.

Well, maybe in the end they’ll regret not having their power generation local, where they can keep an eye on it. Insulators on those big power towers are great target practice for Redneck deer rifles. Those metal towers and all that wire might be worth a fortune at the scrap dealers.

Are you sure you want your electricity to come from the backyards of Rednecks?



  1. Very interesting post. I would love to see some of our power come from wind generators.

  2. Good thinking here as always, local seems to make so much sense to me. There is a lot of complaint here too in Oregon about the wind generators, true, it makes things look different, but I'd rather see that than a strip-mine, or a drowned valley!

    Tho' I live in the city, I dearly wish that there were tiny home wind generators we could put up on our roof. The windy season is in the winter, when extra power is most needed.

  3. I read a bit once about some heeby-jeeby anti-social farmer types who objected to transmission towers running across their land. Somehow... the big nuts securing the towers to their foundations kept getting torched off, and strong winds would send the towers toppling over. What a pity.

    We have a HUGE wind farm just across the bay, and another down south on the Kennedy Ranch. I think they're kinda cool, but I'm with you; point of use generation is so much better. It eliminates all the inefficiency of "the grid"...

  4. Hi Becky: there are all kinds of sustainable power options these days.

    Alison: I don't think most people have any idea where their power comes from. They might be surprised.

    Craig: yeah, stuff happens. Local power is power is best.

  5. Your buddy should put up his windmill, but make it retro or like a piece of art. No, that isn't a windmill, that's a reproduction of a windmill like great-grandpappy had. No, that's a piece of modern art! Then it becomes a first amendment issue.

  6. Isn't energy transmission over long distances inefficient? When does cost/benefit analysis enter this equation? Can't their energy be offered for cheaper if it's made in their own backyard and transmitted closer to home?

    I really don't understand people's NIMBY-ness.