Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wind Power

New York's Mayor Bloomberg must be drinking the same stuff T. Boone Pickens is. According to the NY Times:

In a plan that would drastically remake New York City’s skyline and shores, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is seeking to put wind turbines on the city’s bridges and skyscrapers and in its waters as part of a wide-ranging push to develop renewable energy.

The plan, while still in its early stages, appears to be the boldest environmental proposal to date from the mayor, who has made energy efficiency a cornerstone of his administration.

Mr. Bloomberg said he would ask private companies and investors to study how windmills can be built across the city, with the aim of weaning it off the nation’s overtaxed power grid, which has produced several crippling blackouts in New York over the last decade.

Is Bloomberg nuts? Maybe not. Take a look at this map:

Click on the map for a better view with legible explanations and legends. The map rates the wind resource potential of different parts of the country. Down the middle of the country is what T. Boone Pickens calls "one of the best wind corridors in the world." And maybe it is. But according to this map, the corridor ranks mostly Fair to Good. That's the gold and purple.

But along both coasts, and in the Great Lakes, are pretty good-sized red and blue, or Outstanding to Superb, wind resource areas.

In fact, the United States has some of the best wind power potential in the world. Take a look at the evaluation of global wind power here. The writers summarize:

Areas with strong wind power potential were found in Northern Europe along the North Sea, the southern tip of the South American continent, the island of Tasmania in Australia, the Great Lakes region, and the northeastern and western coasts of Canada and the United States.

A tip of the hat to NY Times columnist Charles M. Blow, who linked to these maps in one of his blog posts.

Should we build a windmill on top of the Empire State Building? No, thank you. But it's encouraging to see a couple of billionaires get excited about saving our necks.

Later thought: How long, do you think, before we see a picture of the Statue of Liberty with a propeller cap on?

Update: To heck with it, I did it myself.

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