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Wind Power
updated: Jun 21, 2013, 12:18 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Wind power: atop a tall Portland building are wind turbines. Interesting idea. How do locals feel about implementing this in Santa Barbara?

Send this picture as a postcard

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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 423135 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 12:25 PM

Better than body bags and smog. Yes they are ugly; put one in my backyard please.(IMBY)


 COMMENT 423138 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 12:35 PM

Me too. Better than a Veneco tower 175' tall dominating the entire Carpinteria valley. Offshore too! Better than a cruise ship. Seems like an ideal spot for these towers in the photo nothing else could go there. Wind art.


 COMMENT 423139 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 12:37 PM

Why not solar on all roofs? Less of an environmental impact on birds that migrate. It could be done. We wouldn't need wind power.


 COMMENT 423140 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 12:40 PM

Wind not strong and steady enough here to make these cost-effective.


 COMMENT 423141 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 12:44 PM

My understanding is that it's actually very loud. There were stories of ranchers losing huge amounts of their stock because the animals couldn't sleep. Look up wind farms and animal sleep deprivation.


 COMMENT 423142P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 12:44 PM

Lots more wind in Lompoc. Lots more sun here. Use what you got.


 COMMENT 423146 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 12:56 PM

Dangerous for the birds. They are not evolved to avoid fast moving sharp blades so the kill rate is very high, especially for raptors gliding in these high wind areas.

If they could figure out how to protect the birds, I'd be more supportive. They used to have those ones that rotated in a horizontal plane, but I haven't seen those recently. Must not be as efficient.

All of the green technologies, solar panels, wind farms, etc, have negative aspects to their fabrication and use. But I guess it is better than burning coal or building nukes plants.


 COMMENT 423148 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 01:02 PM

I love wind power for my boat. My home will stay powered by fossil fuels. The winds are generally too light for it to be productive.


 COMMENT 423150P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 01:07 PM

Wind power has failed to deliver anything close to its promises. Dead end. The only real alternate energy source of any merit is hydro-electric but enviros don't want any more dams and to tear down ones we already have.

Individual solar is the only way for home use, but watch out for the current "financing" schemes getting huckstered now -sell cheap solar units and stick it to you in exorbinate finance charges.

However, until you solve the energy needs for transportation at all levels - land, air and sea - you are only the beatings of hummingbirds against a 5 force hurricane.

Which may well mean you learn to love burning coal to keep your electric car going. Or fracking for domestic oil. But wind is not going to power transportation needs, which is the nine ton elephant in the room.


 COMMENT 423157 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 01:15 PM

ugly, inefficient, and dangerous for birds


 COMMENT 423164 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 01:23 PM

Not for SB. The conditions are not ideal enough to justify the environmental impact. Solar is a far, far better alternative!


 COMMENT 423165 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 01:27 PM

I'd use it but it keeps breaking. Get it? Breaking wind? Juvenile. Confirmed.


 COMMENT 423166 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 01:27 PM

Natural gas. It is cheap, plentiful, distributed almost everywhere in the lower 48, and has a low impact on the environment when burned. Natural gas power stations to generate electricity, natural gas ovens to cook and heat, and natural gas conversions to power your vehicle. The economics are 100s of time better than wind or solar with no subsidies.


 COMMENT 423170 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 01:35 PM

The argument that wind turbines slaughter birds is as out-dated as the antique wind turbines that sparked that urban myth. Some FACTS:

Man-made structure/technology
Associated bird deaths per year (U.S.)
Feral and domestic cats
Hundreds of millions [source: AWEA]
Power lines
130 million -- 174 million [source: AWEA]
Windows (residential and commercial)
100 million -- 1 billion [source: TreeHugger]
70 million [source: AWEA]
60 million -- 80 million [source: AWEA]
Lighted communication towers
40 million -- 50 million [source: AWEA]
Wind turbines
10,000 -- 40,000 [source: ABC]
So, windows kill up to a BILLION birds every year-why no outcry against them?


 COMMENT 423176 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 01:50 PM

146 - Smog is dangerous for bird too. The difference is that when a bird hits a wind turbine the consequences are obvious, while smog kills them slowly and you do not see the consequences.

We should put some wind turbines in the Gaviota area where it always seem to be windy.


 COMMENT 423182 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 02:01 PM

Natural gas & "Tides power." Easy, Problem solved. Give it private industry and get government (the problem) out of the way. Besides you can't believe anything government says anyway.


 COMMENT 423184P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 02:02 PM

Why no outcry, 170? Because windows are essentials in buildings and there are efforts made, materials available to cut down on the reflections that cause the bird deaths. As for wind energy, there is a non-fossil fuel alternative, solar. I happen to think that wind mills are beautiful, but most don't, would not want the tall spinning blade machine near them.

Wind turbines are protected by this administration (and the past) and so the bird deaths are hushed up. Offenders are given a freehand compared with fossil fuel companies. See Huffington Post of May 14, 2013.

As for your numbers, here's the (peer-reviewed) March, 2013 Wildlife Society Bulletin : more than 573,000 birds are killed by the country's wind farms each year, including 83,000 hunting birds such as hawks, falcons and eagles.


 COMMENT 423185 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 02:03 PM

I don't like killing birds.


 COMMENT 423188 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 02:08 PM

Congrats 165, for being the only "confirmed" comment to ever make me crack a smile!
Yes, the bird issues concern me, as well. I don't care quite so much about the eyesore (it's not like solar roofs, oil derricks, nuke plants, etc are pretty), but the other down sides seem more than enough to say they aren't ideal for this area. Solar really does seem like the best option in SB. I would love to do it once I buy a home.


 COMMENT 423194 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 02:23 PM

423170, I looked up AWEA. 'A lobbying force for wind development and voice for wind manufacturers in the United States. Includes wind energy information.'
They might be a slightly prejudiced source, you think?


 COMMENT 423197 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 02:40 PM

You can't solve our energy demand with only one solution. There will have to be many energy sources, and there will be up-front costs to develop these technologies.

The ratios of energy yield per energy invested of alternative sources will be less than the fossil fuels we have exploited in the past, because we never paid for the Earth's process that took millions of years to concentrate energy into gas and oil, nor do we have millions of years to let it renew itself again.

Based on reserves and current demand, conventional oil will run out in about thirty years. Plus burning fossil fuels has huge environmental costs we haven't anticipated, so we need alternatives.

This should be our highest priority, and it will require a Manhattan style program to replace the 10 - 14 Terawatts of energy that us 7 billion earthlings currently consume. And keep in mind our population is still rising.

There is no higher priority, or we humans won't have a future.


 COMMENT 423199 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 02:52 PM

If they can figure out a way to do it with ZERO noise pollution, then if it's cost effective, I have no problem with it. But I've heard about communities (not just livestock, but people that live in nearby homes) that are being ruined by the noise created by these wind farms.


 COMMENT 423200 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 03:01 PM

197, many of us trust private enterprise versus the government to solve our problems. Why have one Manhattan Project paid for with tax payer dollars when we can have 100s paid for with private equity?


 COMMENT 423201 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 03:05 PM

I am also against cats killing birds, and pesticides, and other reasons for their deaths. But personally I've never found a dead bird outside of my window so until I do, I will keep the ones I have. Anyway, it would be easy enough to put screens or mesh over all of my windows to prevent the birds from flying into them.

I guess in the protection of birds, is it easier to fight against:
-Established pesticide manufacturers?
-Cat owners?
Or a relatively young industry like wind turbines?

Maybe we're just picking on the easiest target.


 COMMENT 423206 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 03:13 PM

The Danes have developed far superior wind turbine technology with safe offshore wind farms. Denmark has years of experience in environmentally conscious alternative energy sources and as a result is light years ahead of us in energy efficiency and green building techniques.


 COMMENT 423218 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 03:29 PM

I think wind power is great, as is solar power (a better option maybe in our area and less invasive in terms of the views and people's property.)

Now, you didn't ask....but shall I tell you my feelings on the term "Santa Barbarians?"


 COMMENT 423221 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 03:41 PM

As a "Barbarian", my opinion on this and every other topic is, by definition, barbaric.


 COMMENT 423229 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 04:11 PM

I'm for wave power. Too many birds killed by wind power.


 COMMENT 423247 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 04:47 PM

Natural Gas Is NOT abundant. We have gone from a net exporter to a net importer of natural gas. Many of the investment schemes are bogus, but decentralized wind power makes sense for some windy places. The larger the propeller diameter, the slower the RPM and the less danger to avian life. The small high speed 30 footers like Altamont pass are avian cuissinarts.


 COMMENT 423248P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 04:48 PM

Yes to wind power if it's cost effective, maybe in the part of the county that receives more wind.


 COMMENT 423249 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 04:49 PM

You can't trust private enterprise to do anything that doesn't quickly turn a profit. Long term solutions need government support, or it degenerates into a massive "tragedy of the commons."

Private enterprise didn't solve the smog problem. It took the government to force car makers to design in smog equipment, and State DMV to keep it working.

Private enterprise didn't solve the banking crisis. It took government involvement to keep us from crashing into a mess that would make 1929 look pale in comparison.

Private enterprise didn't solve food safety problems. There would be no FDA without the government.

Private enterprise doesn't provide public roads, Fire Departments, Police and many other services that are more efficient when done on a large scale.

Private enterprise doesn't look after the greater common good, it only looks after itself.


 COMMENT 423256P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 05:00 PM

It's easy to visualize the Granada or Balboa buildings with turbine wind antlers. Wouldn't want them atop our historic, cultural treasures however.


 COMMENT 423260P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 05:14 PM

We wouldn't need so much more power if we'd just fix the source problem -- have fewer babies. The earth is grossly over-populated with humans and their over-sized impacts.


 COMMENT 423280 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 06:10 PM

260, we needed that advice about 40 years ago. And that would also mean there would be fewer of us reading this.


 YIN YANG agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 06:34 PM

thanks 206. No opinion, I think like the poster who said sun here, wind in Lompoc. But Denmark was my first thought.


 YIN YANG agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 06:36 PM

Yes, we humans need to stop breeding! That's my bottom line and basic belief too.


 COMMENT 423300P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 06:54 PM

Not one mention here of bat deaths caused by wind turbines. Scientific American has a good article on how it's the wind pressure, not the blades, that kill 1,000s of bats each year, at wind farms.

The wind pressure causes lung vessels to burst in the bats' lungs. What a way to go. And why would we make use of a technology that harms one of our top insect eaters and known pollinators?

@260P: Yes. Completely agree.


 COMMENT 423309 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 07:40 PM

@000 People don't realize that bats comprise 30% of mammals. Hardly any mentions of support for wave power. For those who think waves can't turn a turbine, should really allow private industry to unleash it. New concepts of technology that really does work.


 COMMENT 423312 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 07:47 PM

Bats Ducks Geese - as long as the current administration is in office - the slaughter will continue -


 COMMENT 423318 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 08:24 PM

The best idea I've heard so far is to position wind turbines near City Hall and the State Capitol buildings, in order to capture the max amount of wind emanating from within. We could power up most major cities in California.

How about an army of stationary bicycles, connected to a generator. Every gym becomes a small scale power plant. People can get fit and contribute to the energy pool. We can eliminate obesity and power up our town at the same time. Hours on the bike for tax credits.


 COMMENT 423347P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-21 11:02 PM

Why can't wind farms use vertical-axis turbines? I have seen them in windy locations on rooftops and in parking lots from Texas to Tasmania. They seem efficient, and each one takes up little space. Why is current industrial wind power technology wedded to long spinning blades that slice & dice birds and bats?


 COMMENT 423359P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-22 06:56 AM

Check out the products at www. aerotecture.com - they have wind and solar generators for rooftops and urban settings. Because the blades are inside a frame, it is a safer option for birds. They are way cool - most in the Midwest but some in the Bay Area here.


 MACSCIDOR agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-22 07:58 AM

359P_Thanks for the info! Wow, different design, for sure (from their website) "Wind turbines designed for urban settings. Invented by University of Illinois industrial design professor, Bil Becker, Aeroturbines are a new development in wind turbine technology. Aeroturbines can be installed on existing rooftops or built into the architecture of new buildings to provide clean renewable electricity at its site of consumption. Aeroturbines are uniquely suited to urban environments:
Noise and vibration-free
Safe for birds
Able to utilize multi-directional and gusting winds
Self-regulating (no overspeed protection required)
Low maintenance
Made from low-cost and readily available materials"


 COMMENT 423372 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-22 08:14 AM

My dad lives in a farm town in Illinois. When I went to visit was actually saddened that the beautiful landscape was overtaken by these monsterous beasts. They were everywhere! Some big company comes to struggling farm town offering $ to put them on their land. And they themselves don't even benefit from the power they produce. Was actually really sad to see.


 COMMENT 423378P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-22 08:48 AM

Danes ride bikes and have permanently lousy weather. Wind works for them. They are a very small, compact country.

Until you provide sufficient transportation energy you are only blowing more hot air, if you rely on a system that provides only variable power for domestic use like wind or solar.

Solve how you are going to power your car (trucks, ships, planes) that move you and the nation's industrial products, if you are serious about energy production, use and conservation.

That will take solid engineering, not easy eco-talk and parlor tricks. Who is raising the rocket scientists of tomorrow who are up to this task?


 COMMENT 423379P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-22 08:50 AM

Debating dead birds shows no one is really interested in this important topic.


 COMMENT 423390 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-22 09:26 AM

Im all for wind power, but SB is not a windy place...for most of the year, a gentle breeze or near calm is the usual state of the wind.

However.... we get sunshine. Lots of it.... as does the entire SW. If every roof in the Southwest were made of solar panels instead of wasting all that dead space generating nothing.... our energy bill would be slashed.

Ah! Perhaps thats why there's such paranoia against solar on the part of traditionalists and fossil fuel industry supporters. After all, the Sun has been giving out reliable, clean, free energy for 4 billion years, and its only half way through its lifecycle.


 COMMENT 423412 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-22 10:09 AM

OP - instead of asking how people "feel", wouldn't it make more sense to first consider whether the idea makes sense technically and economically?

Wind represents a great amount of power, but capturing it and using it well can be tricky. That's why steam ships replaced tall ships so quickly. The problems remain the same today. Wind is hard to handle when its at its strongest and not able to produce much power when it is weak. There is an intermediate range of wind speeds where it is easy and efficient to capture wind power.

It makes a lot of sense to build some wind farms in areas that commonly have winds in this "sweet spot", especially if they tend to come during peak electrical demand times. Santa Barbara is not such an area.

Storing power for later on is very expensive.


 COMMENT 423428 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-22 10:43 AM

I went over your list 249 and I did not see anything on there that government or bureacratic agencies ever solved either. The difference is private industry was either a success or a failure at the expense of the investors who risked their money. The government agencies who attempt to solve the same problems you listed do so at the taxpayers expense with little or no supervision leading not only to waste and inefficiency but wages, retirements and other benefits funded by those same taxpayers. There is nothing better than bleeding the taxpayers in the name of doing "good" or rather more often, in claiming to be doing good because in the mind of many government employees, the ends justifies the means no matter how much it cost the taxpayers, just ask Al Gore.


 COMMENT 423431 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-22 10:50 AM

A Scientific American article a few years ago talked about converting to solar power and the availability of sun in the desert southwest. All that was needed was pave with panels an area greater than the size of California! I don't know if that included the roads etc necessary.
They had the gall to say that most of that land was unproductive anyway.
Sure, wind and solar are part of the solution. But they are ugly. Look at the wind farms in the desert. Solar arrays on most roofs are totally unaesthetic, as is the array on the hills north of the freeway between Patterson and El Sueno.
Our fear of nuclear is based upon thinking derived from 1950's movies.
We are not serious about energy until we do something about the population (and we are about to make 40M more people Americans in the stroke of a pen).
I am all for environmental impact reports before anyone can get a permit to have a baby. He he.


 COMMENT 423478 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-22 12:19 PM

Post 431 it is ultimately more than 40 million. The result of the 1986 illegal alien amnesty given was that those people went on to have families considerably larger than other ethnic group averages which run roughly at sustainablilty. That is two children per family of one mother and one father. In addition the politics of immigration law (which the Democrats see as an adjunct voter registration drive) make the policies within the INS which create what they call equities. So if someone from a country South of the United States is given amnesty to remain here legally then they have "equity" to bring their children and extended families too. The liberal/progressives then use this unwillingness in human nature to divide families to prevent enforcement of illegal immigration laws. i.e. You can't split up families and deport the chldren or the rest of the family if one member can legally stay here!


 COMMENT 423495 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-22 02:09 PM

Good comment 478 and correct except that you left out the antiquated Constitutional anachronism that any child born in the United States, even to parents who are foreigners or illegal aliens, automatically becomes an American citizen. Therefore the liberal left would scream if you suggested that the "American citizen" child could remain but the illegal parents should be deported. The Constitution should be amended, in this day and age of world travel, so that children born of foreign parents in the United States or it's territories should have the citizenship of their parents. This is how it works for Americans. A child born to U.S. Service personnel, business employees or American travelers in foreign countries are not citizens of the country they are born in, they are Americans!


 COMMENT 423509P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-06-22 03:48 PM

Earl Warren Showgrounds put solar panels on the stall roofs. I've never seen that mentioned. Guess it means people don't notice them. We don't need to pave CA with panels, just start with solar as an adjunct power source.


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