Friday, August 22, 2008

Alternative energy meets reality in NYC

Like many dreamy-eyed liberals, New York's mayor Bloomberg went to a conference on "clean energy" and talked about the glorious future of windmills: he proposed putting them on NYC buildings and bridges. By the time he returned to NYC, as the AP reports, everyone, including the environmentalists, had already objected:
NEW YORK (AP) - Mayor Michael Bloomberg is backing off his suggestion to put windmills on city bridges and rooftops after newspapers mocked the idea with photo illustrations of turbines on the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building.

"There are aesthetic considerations," Bloomberg said. "No. 2, I have absolutely no idea whether that makes any sense from a scientific, from a practical point of view."

Bloomberg sought to dial back his windmill proposal while speaking to reporters on Wednesday after returning from Las Vegas, where he gave a speech at the National Clean Energy Summit imagining, among other things, harnessing wind power with turbines on bridges and skyscrapers. ....

David Carr, of the Alternative Energy Institute, in Canyon, Texas, said mounting turbines high above the city is "not very feasible."

"I don't think this was very well thought out," he said.

Among the complications are turbulence and vibrations the buildings would have to endure, plus the relatively small amount of wind the turbines would be able to harness in a city where other buildings and trees stand in the way, Carr said. Also, skyscrapers typically are not built to withstand the load of turbines.

"If you want it for art and decoration, that's fine, but for achieving any kind of power that's useful, it's not a very good idea, and I don't know of anywhere that's done it very successfully," Carr said.

It is also difficult to imagine residents would welcome spinning turbines outside their windows in a city where a proposal to install a cell phone tower on a building on Manhattan's Upper West Side generates protests and interference from local elected officials.
Earlier this year, Sen. Ted Kennedy, the lion of liberalism, worked on blocking windmills in Massachusetts.


Paul said...

With the technology advancing so fast today, I think that his plan would be feasible. There are many types of wind turbines with leave a small footprint on a building and would be ideal for the wind that is generated from the close tall buildings.

John said...

Any windmill mounted on a building would, as you say, have to be "small."

That doesn't contradict the AP article. Rather, that is the point of it: To be feasible, urban windmills have to be so small enough that they would be irrelevant compared to a city's power needs.

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