chasing the wind inside the alternative energy battle first edition pdf

Arriving like a summer storm, wind energy became an issue both where I live in Florida and where I spend my summers in West Virginia. In the winter of 2006, I began to notice a series of letters to the editor in the weekly newspaper serving Greenbrier County, West Virginia. The letters objected to plans to install a huge wind farm on nearby mountain ridges. My first exposure to wind energy had come years earlier, upon seeing the conglomeration of windmills in a desert valley while driving east from Los Angeles.

It was an interesting sight, rather unique, but in my mind just one of those California things. I was amazed to learn that a wind farm already existed in West Virginia and even more so that wind turbines might appear on Florida beaches. In Lewisburg, West Virginia, I found a battle that was tearing a community apart. The situation dominated the local news. I talked with people for and against the wind farm, went to meetings and hearings, and visited the heads of the opposition groups. In time, I made contact with the wind farm developer to get his perspective. Initially I developed biases against wind energy based on the local situation, since it seemed to do little good for the community and was so divisive. The local politics added to the conflict.

Meanwhile, with Al Gore leading the way, the climate change issue became popular, though I wasn’t sure I believed in all that was being said. I wanted to get an understanding of that situation as well. Then wind energy surfaced as an issue near my home in Florida. NextEra Energy (formerly FPL Group), a corporation that owned a vast percentage of the wind energy capacity in the United States, planned to place turbines on the beach near one of its nuclear power plants. Thus another battle began.

As I expanded my research, I learned about the history of wind power, sought out the experiences that were being had in other parts of the United States, and studied what was going on in Europe—the early world leader in the use of renewable resources. My thinking about wind began to broaden.Wind had
its place.