Aesthetics of wind power
1/24/2006 07:26:00 PM | Author: baloghblog
(warning- long picture driven post)

I keep hearing in the news and on blogs how Tom Golisano is opposed to wind power because it ruins the aesthetic beauty of the upstate area. It's funny how we allow so many tall structures to be built near the city's population, and in the rural areas, and rarely give a thought to it:

Radio Towers and billboards along Rte 81 South

Large radio tower on the outskirts of the city.

Rural radio and microwave communications tower and powerlines.

More powerlines bringing nuclear energy down from Constellation Energy in Oswego.

"ruining" the aesthetic beauty of the farm lands

Large watertower in Phoenix, NY

Another microwave and cellular tower disrupting the beauty of Oneida Lake

Humungous Cracker Barrel sign in Cicero

Somehow, this is supposed to be more vile looking and repugnant than the above structures:

(fair use from Maple Ridge Wind Farm)

(fair use from Maple Ridge Wind Farm)

(fair use from Fenner Wind)

(fair use from Fenner Wind)

I just don't get it. We put up cell towers on the shores of our lakes, and think nothing of hulking powerline towers dissecting the landscape. Our minds are bombarded with billboard ads every 10 seconds while traveling. Blight exists everywhere, and our minds have become accostumed to it. I believe that windmill towers look futuristic and positive. They have smooth architechtural lines, and I enjoy the rhythmic motion. Not everyone agrees. Golisano is one of them. Until I start hearing him pledge to get rid of blight throughout the state, ban billboards and cellular tower expansion, and vow to take down every radio tower that ruins my view of the country side - his attack on wind power just sounds like a lot of hot air to me.
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On 9:48 AM , York Staters said...

Windmills are beautiful, and while efforts should be made to protect significant unspoiled views, most of the microwave tower and power line ridden areas you showed could benefit greatly from some graceful windmills.

and it certainly helps your case that all the radio tower shots were taken on CNY's trademark cloudy days, and all the windmill pictures are sunny ;o)

Do you know much about individuals having windfarms on their own property to power their homes? You see a lot about commercial wind and not much about individual residential use, while the opposite is true of solar power.

On 5:21 PM , RomeHater said...

I would assume there's less talk of residential turbines because they have to be 50-100 ft. high to get the best results. This can create a liability issue (at least in insurance rates) unless you have a large plot of land where a falling tower wouldn't hit the street. They are gaining popularity on farms that have single family homes.

Of course, small wind farms near neighborhoods would reduce the need for power lines like the massive ones that come from nuclear plants 200 miles away. a 4-6 kW turbine could power the average home. 10 if you want to use it for winter heating.

On 6:33 PM , NYCO said...

LOL, good post, especially the bit about Cracker Barrel.

On 8:01 PM , Jennifer said...

Right on! When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of my favorite parts of driving was passing one of several wind farms--going down to L.A. on Highway 5 or passing through Contra Costa County. They were stunning on the landscape. I feel the same about the ones in Madison County.

I think many folks barely notice how disruptive all the cell towers and billboards are--they've just become part of the daily clutter of our lives. The windfarms on the other hand are simple and majestic and actually contribute something to the common good and the environment.

On 10:48 PM , Ianqui said...

Good for you, documenting this. In all seriousness, you should send this to Golisano. Send it to your reps, and to their aides, and to anyone who will listen. Because politicians (including Bobby Kenney) are big fat hypocrites, and because cell phone communications and even high tension wires are not more important than wind turbines.

On 10:49 PM , Ianqui said...

I mean Kennedy, of course.

On 10:05 AM , LuceLu said...

Perhaps Golisano is heavily invested in other power sources? I'm not accusing, just wondering why so vehement.

On 3:36 PM , Zubalove said...

Hey There,
I've lurker for a while but I thought I'd finally chime in.

Golisano isn't so much against windpower, as he is against them being positioned around the Finger Lakes.

Check this Wind Farm article that shows Golisano is positioning himself to be more con cerned with how Wind Farms are developed than against them per se.

I'm not sure how he will rationalize it...

On 11:20 AM , Tim said...

"Blight exists everywhere, and our minds have become accostumed to it ... Until I start hearing him pledge to get rid of blight throughout the state, ban billboards and cellular tower expansion, and vow to take down every radio tower that ruins my view of the country side - his attack on wind power just sounds like a lot of hot air to me."

If a wind farm project was being proposed in an area which does ban billboards and there are no cellular towers nor radio towers would your view change?

There are mountain tops in Maine which provide 360° views for hundreds of miles where no man-built structures can be seen as far as the eye can see. People come to the area to hike the mountains and take in the unique perspective. There is probably no other area in the country where you can see so much landscape without being able to see ANY man-made structures in the area.

Two wind farm projects are being proposed in the area which would take-away that unique perspective.. If the projects receive approval you would no longer be able to say you couldn't see any man-made structures across those hundreds of miles of landscape.

If it was your backyard would you support the wind farm project because it is the right thing to do? We need more green energy sources. Or would you preserve the 100% pristine view?

Some of the people commenting noted how cell towers and billboards have become a part of their lives. They have not become a part of mine. I live in an area without cell reception and where billboards are illegal.

I've publicly supported wind farm projects. However I can't disagree with opponents who don't want the wind farms in currently otherwise pristine areas.

On 1:39 PM , E.A. said...

This is a false comparison with cherry-picked photos. 400 foot tall, highly conspicuous wind turbines cannot be compared to relatively slender cellphone and radio towers, which are not in constant motion.

The visual disruption of turbine blades cuts (literally) through a much wider swath of the view. They also tend to be located in rural areas that were expected to remain bucolic. Residents of these areas are put in the position of selling their souls for monthly stipends. Many people are soulless, so they agree, but the visual blight remains.

People who claim to enjoy looking at wind farms seem to lack aesthetic values. Endless expansion of that mechanized landscape would be a scenic tragedy. These are industrial parks, not visual assets!

Environmentalism should encompass a lot more than just generating electricity for an endlessly growing population (the core problem). A big part of life's enjoyment is simply looking upon unspoiled nature. Wind is steely and white, not green. Nuclear makes a lot more sense, with compact reactor designs due in several years.

On 1:44 PM , E.A. said...

In your sample photos, the height and scale of turbines is deliberately miniaturized against a large sky, while smaller, thinner towers are made to fill half the view. Who do you think you're kidding with this visual propaganda?