Zen Bastard (jimbojones) wrote,
Zen Bastard

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It's not just for goatse-ing people anymore!

I got bored today and decided to check out the actual GE Imagination At Work website behind the cool little draw-with-a-marker Flash gizmo. There's some pretty nifty stuff in there - in particular, I was extremely interested in the little presentation GE did on their power generation turbine.

They've got a commercially available - meaning, it ain't just pie-in-the-sky - wind turbine that's rated for 1.5 megawatts, and according to their site the cost of operation is about 3 to 5 cents per kilowatt-hour. It's got three 112-foot long blades on it, and if their little demo is accurate, it apparently only needs about a 10mph average wind speed to hit its 1.5MW rating.

That's verrrrrry interesting stuff. I don't know how practical it would be for large-scale industrial power needs, but 1.5MW is enough to light up a few hundred residences. What if, instead of a couple of enormous power generation stations that piped power over long distances throughout large metro areas, we had one or two of these turbines in each neighborhood? The grid as a whole should be a lot less strained, due to a MUCH shorter average power transmission distance, and the environmental impact speaks for itself...

Even if we still need nuclear and hydroelectric generation for industrial and general backup power generation needs, taking the vast majority of residential generation loads off of conventional sources would make an ENORMOUS impact.

Instead of dumping billions of dollars into staging a few hundred thousand troops in the Middle East so that we can attempt to force price control of foreign oil, shouldn't we be dumping billions of dollars into reducing and maybe even eliminating our DEPENDENCE on foreign oil? Between this kind of thing (and GE says they're working on a 3.8MW turbine that's only slightly larger, incidentally) and the very real solution of hydrogen combustion motors, we could cut our fossil fuel usage DRASTICALLY in very little time indeed. Eventually, of course, sheer economics will make it happen. But jesus christ, since we're PAYING all that money into the government to begin with, can't we at least use it to hurry the SMART stuff along, instead of using it to kill a bunch of "brown boys" that have stuff we want for short-sighted reasons?

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