Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wind Shadows

Shadow Shot Sunday
May 1, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday is the fabulously popular weekly meme started by Tracy in Brisbane. Here in the USA, we post on Saturdays as it is already Sunday in Australia. If you’d like to see more Shadow Shots and find out how to participate, see the Hey Harriet Blog. In the meantime, Gabba Gabba Hey!

My Shadow Shot Sunday submissions are long range telephoto shots of wind turbine blades, taken at a wind farm in rural Minnesota. I love the small shadow on the left side blade in the first photo. In the second, the third blade is submersed in shadow and almost invisible.
I’ve included a couple of photos below that I took while driving through the Palm Springs area of California a few months ago. What do you think? Do these monstrous wind turbines create an ugly landscape? Would you concede their ugliness in your neighborhood to save fossil fuel expenditure and sunsequent pollution and global climate changes?
Wind turbines along Interstate Highway 10 in Southern California, USA
Here in the USA we have plenty of them, but there are more in Europe than America. They produce around 10% of America’s electrical power these days. Some folks say they are ugly and ruin the view of the landscape or the waterfront. But they harness the wind, which is stilll free, or at least blows for free, and they don’t burn coal, oil, natural gas or create nuclear waste to generate electrical power. 
Pardon the glare in the windshield, non professional photographer at work!
But what about the manufacturing and shipping costs involved? How much does it cost to manufacture the parts needed to make one wind generator of the type in the photos? How much energy is used to make one and ship it across the ocean and Continents? How about just dragging it across the country from a United States manufacturer?
The trucking rig alone, that’s the specialized truck needed to haul one of the large specialized pieces, is over $350,000 US dollars. Seven rigs are needed to haul one complete wind turbine. And how about those complete wind turbine towers with blades made in China, bought by American companies with Chinese financed yuan, and set up to generate and sell power for the masses?
Electrical power usage might be out of control by some

Interesting stuff, to be sure. Wave of the future? Maybe so. The industry has grown steadily since the 1990’s. But I wonder how it would be if we all just had our own old fashioned windmill and generated our own power.



Jeannie said...

I find that the turbines unsettle me. Creep me out. I can't say why. Although before seeing a forest of them, I was all for them. I think I'd like an old fashioned windmill. There are Mennonites around here that use them for power for their farms. Of course the women must labour manually.

Gemma Wiseman said...

It's strange how I have never heard the old fashioned windmills being labelled ugly! I find them fascinating! A wind farm I find creepy too! The silent rhythms of blades seem to generate a sense of secret power that I find unsettling! Great photos!

Sarah said...

Interesting shots-they look quite delicate though I know they are not. We have two at our local supermarket-a different shape-upright closed spirals. They were whipping round today. There is always lots of debate about them here. I think they are impressive and obviously useful and green, but can spoil a landscape as they are so unnatural looking and also the noise of them. It depends where they are put I suppose. We have some off the Kent coast and they look fine-quite a landmark really.

Paula Scott Molokai Girl Studio said...

Food for thought, for sure. It's funny how the masses are not interested in hearing that everyone should conserve. It would've helped if we had the foresight to look down the road many years ago and created more public transportation systems. Now, we are so deeply entrenched in our over consumptive ways that there seems to be no end to this dependence.
Don't a lot of birds get taken out by those turbines? I've heard they do...

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

I know those wind turbines along I-10 in SoCal very well!

Chubskulit Rose said...

Gorgeous shadow shots!

My Shadow Shots, have a blessed Sunday!

Sue said...

I don't mind wind farms, they're far better than coal power stations. There's so much complexity to these things, far more than meets the eye at first. No easy answer, except that ignoring the problem won't work! There have been some very interesting programmes here discussing alternatives, but our govt seems hell bent on coal - it brings out the cynic in me.

Very understated, elegant shadows. Take care Spadoman. Sue

Hootin' Anni said...

We have those on the other side of the ship channel here in south Texas. They are most fascinating. Ohhhhhhhh, love the 'old windmill' at the last of your post.

My Link:
Sand, Surf, and Shadows

Have a glorious Sunday. Hope to have you as a visitor today when you find time.

A Wild Thing said...

Now we're talking my ultimate very own working windmill...northern Iowa has many windmills, it gives an eery view into the future, too bad they will be owned by the same corrupt corporations that rob us blind today. We just need to learn to live with less, it's a scary world out there today, I think I need to grow more tree rows to hide me away...I think I need to go to my medicine wheel and think happy thoughts...have a wonderful Sunday travelin' man and hope all is well with you as well!


Anonymous said...

I think the turbines are a blot on the landscape. There is more and more data being published that shows that the turbines are very inefficient and unreliable. There are other better ways to produce electricity, without damaging the landscape. (As an aside - a question for the promoters of electric cars as being 'green' .... where does the electricity come from?)
Anyway, the turbines did make a good subject for your shadow shots!!

Lisa's RetroStyle said...

Haha...I do love those old windmills. I wish I thought that I could get enough wind to keep my computer powered up where I live...I'd be all for that. I love the wind turbines. I see them as hope for the future. Very silly they are not 100% US made...very, very silly. And yes I would gladly welcome the silent giants on some of the farmland near me. Now if I could just get the farmers to stop using all the pesticides that are washing into out rivers.

Nice shots btw :)

Ms. Becky said...

you pose some relevant and interesting questions. there was a planned wind farm for an area in SW Wisconsin where I once lived and it was really controversial. People were claiming that they make a lot of noise so I set out to find out for myself. went interviewing people who lived next to a one in southern Wisconsin and they all said that they didn't hear a thing, even though they stood just outside their back door practically. I guess it's subjective, like most things. Now I understand that they are making them quieter, but still, they remain controversial. I think because they are in "farms" put up by utility companies, and not scattered across the countryside in a romantic-looking fashion, on individual farms. I don't know what the answer is as far as future energy, but I'm certain that the proposed answers will remain controversial. that's just the way it is. I like your shadow shots, and the discussion too. have a great week Spadoman.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post.
Driving over the altamont pass, I love looking at all the turbines.
I guess if we are here for another, how many years, it will pay off?
Some things about recycling are like this too. Makes you wonder sometimes.

Mel said...

Hold on...350,000 per rig?
Times seven?

This is efficient and saves money--eventually? Maybe?

AND we ship parts in from across the ocean.
What a grand scheme.
I was gonna brag about Iowa being a manufacturer--but nosomuch at this moment. :-/

Yup--been there seen the wind turbines. I prefer the old fashioned ones that run the pumps. AND they don't kill birdies!
Leastwise, not to my knowledge?

Look at that blue sky....
I remember that shade of blue....sorta...

E Makes Art said...

I took some photos of the windmills off the 10 fwy towards Palm Springs for my photo class years ago. I should post the photos. I actually find the sleek all white ones beautiful when they are all lined up perfectly! I don't know why. I love driving through that area and watching them all move together... although when I was out of my car and standing under one that was spinning to take photos I was pretty spooked!


mig said...

It's a hard one 'Man. Add to what you said, they don't last for ever - about 35 years I believe. So the transport and manufacturing cots have to be repeated. And one or two might be quite pleasing to see but hundreds growing like forests as Jeanie says - that's not good at all.
To be honest I believe the answer is to build ecologically and use less power - at home and in industry. And to stay at home or travel on foot. All the choices hurt. It's been a wild and wonderful century for discovery and play and learning but now it's nearly paytime.

The photos are great however. I like the one with glare - it adds a wave to the composition.