The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

2 January 2004

When it's easy being green

Oklahoma sits over a huge reservoir of natural gas, there are dozens of oil rigs drilling in the state, and we even have coal mines. Still, we're going to deplete our fossil fuels eventually — the really cheap ones, anyway — so OG&E's Wind Power program, small as it is for now, justifies the amount of hype it's getting.

Of course, there's no way to guarantee that your little segment of the grid is going to be powered strictly by the Woodward turbine farm, and there's no way the utility can serve all of its customers with the 51-mW capacity available now. But if they can sell enough 100-kW units to individual customers to make a few bucks off the system — we're obviously never going to lack for wind in this state — there will be more turbines in the future, and presumably lower prices. And OG&E's nominal surcharge for wind power will largely be offset by a credit against the fuel-adjustment surcharge that's levied on the power they produce from gas or coal.

I did the math, or at least as much math as I could do based on two weeks' worth of billing at the new place, and I decided to buy six of the 100-kW units, which will cost me about $3.60 a month, save me about $2.35 in fuel adjustments at the current rate, and, says the utility, reduce emissions of Nasty Gases by four and a half tons.

It's hard to see any downside to this program. Granted, there are summer days in Oklahoma when the temperature is around 100 degrees and there isn't enough wind to motivate a tumbleweed, let alone spin a turbine, but my A/C doesn't care where the amps come from. And from my political point of view, it's still a boon: it's an environmental gesture that will actually accomplish something without a great deal of lifestyle adjustment, the Saudis don't make a dime off it, and if some passing bird is shredded over Woodward, it will annoy PETA. For a buck and a quarter a month, it's a hell of a deal.

Posted at 6:05 PM to Family Joules

I never thought about the threat to birds. It won't be long now before all wind turbines require enclosures like table-top fans. ;)

Posted by: Mike at 9:42 AM on 3 January 2004

Wind-power advocates tend to minimize the potential effect. (Scroll to the bottom of this page for an example.)

Posted by: CGHill at 12:42 PM on 3 January 2004

And, just to make things fair and balanced, the other side.

Posted by: CGHill at 12:45 PM on 3 January 2004

No matter how cheaply the power is acquired, we'll still have to buy buttloads of lubricant as consumers (yeah, it reads well, don't it?). They'll overcharge us, even after we pay for whatever the power company actually pays to have installed or whatever. It's kinda like those "2 year taxes" we get, where it ends up lasting 5 years or something, and all we get to show for it is some frackin hole with water in it downtown, where we have to pay to use it after we built it. Or like the cable company, whose installations of upgraded lines and whatever have already been paid off keep hiking rates. And then have the BALLS to come on TV and tell me about some crap that ESPN is the root of the rate increases. Well, f*ck, just make ESPN an OPTION on basic or whatever. I don't want it, and I damn sure don't want to pay 20% more every year for it. Or 20% less. Or at all.

Utilities screw us for everything they can. We either take it (with no dinner, no movie, no kissy goodnight, nuthin), or we live in caves. The only group that can come close to this kind of behavior is politicians. At least they are elected, identities known, and frequently appear near grassy knolls.

Aww, who'm I kidding? It's just less cash to blow on stupid things like food. (See: Dustbury Jan 2004 Fat City Bloggeroonie)

Speaking of stupid food that makes you fat, remember folks, only 3 more days until Elvis' Birthday. Get those griddles heated up for those peanut butter and 'nana sammiches..

Posted by: Terkish Payne at 3:31 AM on 5 January 2004

Terk, how can you say that? We have the Corporation Commission to insure fairness between utility companies and consumers. ;)

Posted by: Mike at 7:07 AM on 5 January 2004