Two arguments I hear consistently raised against wind power are:
- Sounds fine – until it’s not windy.
- Sounds grand – but not in MY back yard kthxbai.
To take the second point first: let’s face it, we’re all NIMBYs. None of us really wants to have a humongous, dirty, smelly, ugly powerstation in our back yards. But we all want to use (more than our fair share) of the electrickery power these beasts generate. When it boils down to it, this is the crux of the problem we face.
As I stood outside last night, looking up at the sky, I noticed two things:
The first was that the air around me was completely still.
The other was that the clouds above were skidding past the moon at a tremendous rate of knots.
Putting these two together, I thought:
“Hmm… wind power.
Wind turbines don’t.
… why not?”
From there it was a small step to the idea of mounting wind turbines onto airborne platforms. Perhaps gliders, or hydrogen or helium dirigibles? Such devices would sidestep both the NIMBY and the ‘today’s not windy’ problems at a stroke.
And then I thought:
“Why would such flying power-generators need to be big? If they were designed as smaller units, scaling up would be more easily manageable.”
Currently, in the UK, we’re facing an energy shortage in the next few years. It’s too late to build new power stations, those traditional projects are simply too big to complete in the timescale we have.
But maybe we have time to design and build a scaleable solution. Surely an alternative that uses free energy is a no-brainer.
Yes, yes, yes, it sounds crazy. But I always keep in mind that there are three stages to adoption of any new idea:
- That’s completely insane.
- Hmm… it might work…
- Well, duh, that’s obvious.