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Look ahead toward alternative energy

When the term “Wind Energy Conversion System” comes up, it might bring to mind the windmills in Holland.
It could just as easily call up images of wind farms that have become a somewhat noteworthy newsbit in recent years, especially as they have proliferated in areas of the country with high wind and lower population density like west Texas.
Wind is among many alternative energy options that are a not-too-distant reality for the United States. The savvy among us are already investing and planning for the days when we turn more to technology we’ve invented and improved in recent years and away from the old dinosaur (pun intended) that is fossil fuel.
The recent gradual increase in the price of crude oil after last year’s precipitous drop-off that left my former home state of Louisiana gasping for greenbacks is a foreshadowing of the future that is in front of us. It’s never going to be $1 per gallon again, folks. Mark those words.
That doesn’t mean that all hope is lost, that we should horde canned goods and firewood for the day when civilization implodes and we all must make mud huts and squabble over clean water.
It means technology like biofuels, wind and solar power, nuclear energy and other, more forward-thinking approaches to the Earth’s need for energy must take center stage.
There are myriad reasons, but maybe none so compelling as the idea that our food supply, powered by oil’s ability to turn huge tracts of land into neat rows of crops necessary for survival, could be slowly strangled.
Cows, one of the biggest food sources in America, if not the greater world at large, as well, are raised on those crops in fields that stretch as far as the eye can see.
The supply goes from place to place under the power of almighty oil.
There are encouraging signs of a new order. Scientists in this country have already figured out how to capture the methane generated by the decay of waste in our landfills and convert it into viable power, as one example.
Wind energy, the topic of recent meetings of the Ennis City Commission, is also a viable way to produce the energy necessary to power our lives in some areas of the country where the wind howls year-round.
There is a need for more thought on these kinds of power sources — cities’ hands are forced into cautious protection and regulation because of a lack of industry standards, in some cases, and that further muddies and the murky waters of alternative energy.
Ennis has set up variance capability in its new ordinance to regulate wind converters and has built in a sense the city is paying attention to progress. That’s good for all of us — when the time comes, we can bet Ennis is going to be thinking about what alternative energy means in its peculiar environment.
Thinking hard about it is a task we should all be willing to take on.
Slim Pickens, an oil magnate second to none, even put his stamp of approval on a plan for massive wind farms in our country to wean America off oil last year.
If Slim can buy in, so can we.
Nick Todaro serves as editor of the Ennis Daily News and can be reached at nick@ennisdailynews.com or by calling 972-875-3801.

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Posted by on Jun 22 2009. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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