The Answer is Blowing in the Wind

Dylan, ever the provocateur.  All these years I thought that this was a war protest song, when obviously he was referring to alternative energy sources! I was recently in our LA office and heading the next day to a conference in Palm Springs.  One of my colleagues told me that I’d be driving through a big wind farm.  I asked how large it was and she replied, “It definitely goes on for a while.”

The next morning as I approached Palm Springs I saw the wind turbines in the distance.  When I got closer it looked like they’d definitely go on for a while, so I stole a glance at my odometer, just in case it was more than a mile.  I was mesmerized. The turbines were like a gigantic kinetic sculpture – row after row of slender verticals joined at a hub to giant rotating blades.  Crisp white juxtaposed against the rich morning hues of the desert mountain pass.  Two-blade and three-blade models.  Each one capturing a unique piece of the wind, so that no two were turning in unison.  A visible representation of a natural source of energy available for harnessing.  Over 11 miles later I was finally driving out the far end!

In all, there are more than 3,000 wind turbines in this San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm.  It generates enough electricity to power the entire city of Palm Springs and the surrounding Coachella Valley. The newest and largest windmills are over 150 feet tall and produce enough power for 2,000 homes.

Mankind has been harnessing wind power through windmills since the time of the Phoenicians three thousand years ago, who used them for salt grinding and refinement, milling grain and cutting wood.  Farmers in the US have used them for generations.  So, why aren’t we building more wind farms?  It’s a question obviously rooted in economics and now complicated by energy policy, tax credits, and environmental stewardship, to name a few contributing factors.

It’s a conversation worth exploring.  Let the dialogue continue.  Maybe we need another anthem to rally around.  Does anyone know how to contact Dylan?

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