What I know about windmills and power plants is what most people know about windmills and power plants: Windmills spoil the view or kill thousands of birds or explode in a huge ball of fire or emit a prolonged screeching noise or collapse and kill dozens of people.
See any windmills?
I didn’t think so.
What do I know about windmill technology?
I know that the wind turns the blades and makes electricity.
In case you think that sounds stupid, consider what I know about power plants.
You burn coal and it makes electricity.
It’s a simple world I live in, isn’t it?
Anyway, what I know about windmills and power plants is what most people know about windmills and power plants.
I don’t know what some people know, which is that windmills spoil the view or kill thousands of birds or explode in a huge ball of fire or emit a prolonged screeching noise or collapse and kill dozens of people.
At least, I assume some people think windmills collapse and kill dozens of people because where there is a plan for a windmill, there also is hollering and either litigation or the threat of litigation.
They’ve been talking windmills up on the Cape, in Somerset and in Westport. You see a lotta windmills anywhere?
Westport’s battle over windmills has been particularly hilarious, a long exercise in ignoring the expressed will of an ever-aging, ever-dwindling number of voters.
By the way, there was a time when there were more cows than people in Westport. That’s not true anymore and I’ve noticed that, as the cows vanish, the standard of political dialogue in Westport gets lower. Did the cows exercise some sort of calming influence? Somebody oughta look into that, but do it quietly, so as not to frighten the remaining cows, who must be feeling quite threatened these days.
In Westport, selectmen have asked if a proposed windmill behind Town Hall might rip apart in a high wind, sending its blades slicing into Town Hall like a Ginsu knife slicing into a tomato.
Oh, the humanity! Oh, the cow-mmunity!
Other urban and suburban communities in our area don’t seem to be hustling along on this windmill thing, either. Does everyone fear decapitation by flying windmill blades?
I’ve always thought Fall River would have the area’s first windmill. There will be dark rumors about who sold the city land for the windmill and about who got paid to build the windmill and we’ll have a big fight about who to name the windmill after, but we’ll build a windmill.
Look around Fall River. There are so many ugly structures within the city limits that we won’t notice one more.
Windmills may never replace smokestack electricity, but I’m pretty sure windmills don’t frighten me. As far as I know, windmills don’t even frighten cows. Once they get a few windmills up in this area, people will be able to go look at one and everyone will feel a lot better.
You’ll drive over to the windmill site with your wife and you’ll see it from the car and you’ll say, “Jeez, honey, it’s a windmill! We’ll be decapitated!”
“Uh, baby,” your wife will say. “The windmill is, uh, not doing anything. It’s just, turning, you know, the blades.”
And you’ll come out from under the dashboard and everything will be fine. And don’t feel bad about scaring your wife, either. You were just trying to warn her. You’re a good husband. As for hiding under the dashboard, you were just trying to make sure one of you lived. For the children’s sake.
The only thing you really have to worry about with windmills is what do you do when the wind doesn’t blow?
Let’s say we get to the point where 10 percent of our electricity is supplied by windmill. I guess the local power plants could lay people off and cut back on the amount of coal they buy.
But when the wind stops blowing for a few days, or doesn’t blow much, how do the power plants make up the 10 percent difference after they’ve laid people off and cut back on coal purchases?
It’s an interesting question and it’s better than asking what happens if a windmill blade comes loose in a storm and decapitates your wife. Or you. It could be you. I don’t want to sound like I WANT your wife to die. I bet you don’t want her to die, either. For the children’s sake.
I say when we put up that first windmill, we get some cows and put the cows next to the windmill, let the cows graze around the thing.
That oughta make people feel better.
Marc Munroe Dion is a reporter for The Herald News. E-mail him at email@example.com.