From NBCConnecticut.com via MSNBC (hat tip to Tom Nelson):
From the “Ummm, really?” category: State Rep. Mary Fritz and five of her colleagues are hoping that throwing wind turbines up on state correctional property (read: jails) would generate enough power to not only fuel the prison but give some back to the nearby community.
The Republican-American reports that the wind turbines would be set up on the 25-acres of land at the state prison in Cheshire first. And the law allows for the extra electricity to benefit the town or city in which its located.
Don’t get us wrong — it’s a great idea. We’re all about saving the environment. But perhaps the economics aren’t quite there yet. And we’re a little more in favor of the state not going bankrupt. (And we won’t even get into how many trees came down to print the bill.)
The American Wind Energy Association points out that a small wind generator won’t even handle lighting an exit sign. Now we’re not that good at measuring kWh’s, but on the lower end, it seems an array could cost tens of thousands of dollars and may not generate that much actual power.
Then again, this may be the perfect place to try an idea like this. if folks are already living next to a prison, they won’t mind an extra wind turbine in their view.
Why does this notion that wind turbines can meet all of a facility’s power needs persist? If by “enough power,” you think it’s OK if the lights don’t go every time of the day or night you flip the switch, then maybe wind provides enough. Or, in the case of a prison, maybe if the windmills are powering, say, the solitary-confinement wing. There might be enough power for that. Otherwise, not a chance. Connecticut’s taxpayers will be footing the bill in order for their policymakers to find this out.
But, hey — how about the glimmer of skeptical realism MSNBC showed in running the story?