Here in Taos, NM, there is a small company called Taos Wind Power that has been trying to get their wind farm up and running on some local land. Since they started planning for it, they have been met with a lot of resistance from some locals near the land, who are concerned about the blinking lights on top of the turbines, the interruption of our beautiful views, and the possibility of any hum or vibration that these things create. The company has plans for a 40-turbine farm spread out over 40-50 acres, and have recently gotten exception from county height restrictions to make them about 400 feet tall. They are now proceeding with more wind tests and permitting, and they hope to start building the turbines next year. If they succeed, they will bring an estimated 100 megawatts of wind power to the area, which they will sell to local utility companies. From what I have seen, 1 MW generates enough power for 1,000 homes, so we are talking about a very general estimate of enough clean power for 100,000 homes – way more than we have here in our county.
Photo by jack_spellingbacon
Now, on to the debate that is brewing – would you want to look at these towers out your window? The place where they are putting them is pretty far out from town (they have to be reasonably close though to a grid tie, otherwise you would lose so much energy in the transmission), but it is near a sustainable and off-grid community – who want nothing to do with these turbines. They are afraid of the light that might ruin their dark skies and any vibrations that the turbines might create in the ground. But at the same time that I understand their concern, these people are living in a community that prides itself on it’s ecological sensitivity – so where do you draw the line? Turbines can provide clean energy, but they could disrupt your life in several ways. Quite a conundrum if you ask me. To be perfectly honest, I am not sure I would want them right out my window either. I enjoy having a dark, quiet night out by my house – it’s one of the things that makes this place so special. But I also want more development of alternative energy sources like wind and solar, and it’s investments like this proposed farm that can make that possible.
So what do you think? Would you exchange some blinking lights in the night sky near your house to know that all your energy was coming from a clean, renewable source like wind power? I am a much bigger fan of solar energy, and think every single house and building in New Mexico should be powered by it, but we have to consider wind as well. But would it be worth it to have turbines in your line of sight? Let everyone know in the comments!