In short, the short, short story below is an account, a narrative – however brief it may be – about two forces of nature – wind and sun – at work and how in harnessing energy from such can indeed benefit humankind. I ask: Is there a better story to be told?
Chapter 1: A great disturbance in the air
Wind: Call it air with attitude. Call it ineffable. Call it tough to pin down or put a finger on. But however it’s described and whatever one thinks about it, wind can be sized up thusly: One, it blows. Two, it howls. Three, it rouses. And four, it’s out-of-sight, no, I’m not talking “cool” here but it could be that too.
If wind is what people are in search of, look no farther than California’s San Gorgonio, Altamont or Tehachapi passes.
And, how exactly, can one tell there is wind in them thar hills? Wind turbines; the presence of wind turbines is how.
That this telltale tale is being told at all, tell me, what would any good story be without making reference to the dark side, oh, and there’s a dark side all right, in this case the part where the fly-by-night, day or what-have-you wind picks up an unbecoming and unwelcome hitchhiker going by the name “air pollution” and discharges such wherever. In blowing through the Altamont for example, if any pollution is adrift in the air, more often than not, it will end up smack dab in its eastern neighbor’s yard – the San Joaquin Valley, all on account of prevailing winds, that is, unless there likewise exist Valley winds to carry the pollution on past there. It is bad enough that the wind can pick up pollution, but if air currents are strong enough, dust and other debris can get kicked up as well. That’s when things can get hairy and in a hurry and sometimes does. Which reminds me; once on my way through the San Gorgonio Pass, the wind there was blowing so fiercely it was all anyone could do to keep from getting blown away.
Chapter 2: Starpower
Since every picture tells a story, in order for the picture to be complete, wind cannot be mentioned without mentioning the sun. That’d be like peanut butter minus the jelly or burgers without fries. Bite my tongue!
Having said that, this is where the sun comes shining through and sunlight shows its true colors. And you can bet your bottom dollar that where the sun does shine it follows there will be solar; as in solar-collecting-stations or solar-panel-array-outfitted homes and businesses.
Now, whereas wind turbines generate electricity from mechanical energy via sufficient air currents, solar systems generate the same using light. In the case of solar collectors, heat too is produced and that, of course, can be used for heating purposes.
That the technology exists to create electricity and heat from plentiful wind and sunlight, and yet at the same time is done in sustainable fashion, it’s win-win all the way.
End of story … for now, anyway.