Wind energy is, above all else, a growing field in most places around the world thanks in no small part to its clean, regular and reliable production of electricity in many areas that even alternative energy production methods such as solar energy cannot be adequately relied upon. This has led many private home owners and companies alike to invest in wind turbines for power generation in a number of locations, however at the same time some people are finding out just how hard it is in some locations to actually “go green” thanks to local government regulations.
One such case is San Bernardino County in California, where legislators recently passed a bill that limits the establishments of wind turbines on properties ranging from 2.5 to 5 acres to 80 feet, while properties with an area of over 5 acres can install a 100 foot tower. While this difference may seem small to many people the fact is that even this 20 foot difference can mean a substantial limitation in energy production capabilities for home consumers. An 80 foot tower, for instance, can generally produce up to 36% more energy on a regular basis than a 60 foot tower, while a 100 foot tower may be able to average out 17% more energy than an 80 foot one.
This difference in energy production is due to the fact that higher towers are able to better utilize “cleaner” air streams, catching wind flows that offer less turbulence and uneven patters. In wind turbine terms this means a more constant, steady turn of the rotors that equates to a much more efficient energy production cycle.
When asked by reporters as to why the county board decided to impose these regulations no comment was offered, however it is being seen by many as a push backwards rather than forwards in support of green energy production. As of last year wind turbine energy produced roughly 1.5% of California’s total energy usage, while if full support is offered many people believe that this number can grow to as much as 20% by 2020. With ongoing restrictions being made to limit these developments, however, this could potentially quickly become an “ideal scenario” rather than a likely outcome a decade from now unless some sort of change is made.
In the meantime a number of government grants for wind turbine development are still being offered both federally and locally by many state and city governments to help offset the costs of developing wind energy production, therefore all is not completely lost in the wind energy sector. Nevertheless these recent restrictions are a step back in terms of power production and, unless the issue can be addressed, may simply serve to help limit our conversion from petroleum fuel dependence even further until all reserves are depleted entirely. While it is true that this is unlikely to happen for another decade or two according to a number of different scientific reports any delay now only serves to worsen the situation consumers will face when that time arrives.
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