Sentinels

Obviously we’re going to run out of oil one day.  Sure, matter nor energy can be created or destroyed, but we’re converting oil into energy, carbon dioxide, water and who knows what else at an increasing rate so one day we’re sure to run out.  Don’t have a clue when that will be but I imagine at present we face a world of continually increasing petroleum costs as supply decreases so alternatives would be a good idea from both an economic as well as an environmental perspective.

Unfortunately we’re addicted to our current cost structure.

Wyoming wind ranch

I read an article a week or so ago talking about the different forms of alternative energy being considered in the US – wind, solar, geothermal – and the consensus of the writers’ evaluation of current data is we’ll never find these cost effective when compared to petroleum.  Never.  Their estimate is oil prices could triple and these alternative versions remain in the negative ROI zone.  That’s encouraging.

They all seem plausible right now because of the significant public subsidies they receive, either through direct handing over of taxes or the special fees paid by users.  Subsidies are essentially a tax on any and all alternatives, aimed at achieving policy, not economic, ends so in such an artificial economic world how do we learn whether this is the right direction to be taking to offset declining petroleum supplies?  Essentially the public sector (whoever that is) claims it will be worth it to all of us one day if we pay more than it’s worth today.  Imagine buying cars that way….

I don’t know what to think.  I do know the wind turbines look pretty impressive sitting on the prairie, slowing spinning in the breeze.  I’m not opposed to the hand-of-man being present in some compositions, especially then the objects are as graceful as these.  There’s a surreal aspect to their presence, standing along in seemingly pristine surroundings, almost like alien structures that grew there or were deposited by some race long departed.  Any child can see what they do – they turn with the wind – but other than that their function is not apparent.  Standing there in their individual solitude they give no clue about their meaning, connection to surroundings or even age.  It’s like we could come back in a 1000 years and not be surprised to see them standing there still.

Think of the monolith in Kubrik’s 2001:  A Space Odyssey.

And their numbers seem to increase magically.  I see turbine blades and the occasional rotor housing being transported on the interstate all the time but I’ve never, NEVER, seen a wind turbine being assembled in the wild.  Do they spring up from the ground after construction in some underground crypt, like Venus appearing fully grown from the sea?  Perhaps they are replicating themselves, splitting like yeast cells resulting in perfect twins over and over again.  Maybe what I’m seeing on the roads is actually the harvest off of them, blades being taken to other locations to seed new growth.

Who knows.  Maybe they are planted by another race to teach us to be more careful with our planet.

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