Should wind turbines be erected all over the Mall in Washington D.C.? Along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon? Atop the Cliffs of Dover? Around Lake Como? On the pyramids at Giza? In your backyard? Multiple grades of umbrage, phony or otherwise, are attainable in this argument, but to what purpose. Wind power is good - voice legitimate concerns about their location when and if wind projects are proposed in your area and lobby to site the things where appropriate and where beloved viewsheds and public recreation areas aren't compromised.
C'mon, leave the straw-man alone. Would anybody rather have a nuclear power station on the rim of the Canyon? Coal-fired smokestacks turning the White Cliffs black? Clattering diesel chugger-chugger the pride of Giza? Seems to me what George is getting at is opposition, for the sake of opposition, to wind turbines in run-of-the-mill (but not windmill, oh no!) landscapes. Or that's what I take it to mean and apologies if I'm barking up the wrong power pole. I'd be happy to go live on Samsø any day.
The problem is that to generate the same amount of power through wind turbines as a coal or nuclear plant would produce, you need to cover vast areas with them - literally as far as the eye can see. Their footprint is far greater than that of a conventional power station. Also, windy areas are generally remote, undeveloped areas, so it's greenfield development - some of us think we should keep wildernesses wild, not cover them with extremely noisy steel windmills, especially in countries without much wilderness left. Finally, they usually require large amounts of subsidy to be economically feasible (i.e. they're not).
There is the issue of bird kills where wind turbines are placed along migratory paths, nesting areas, and mountain passes--the older-type turbines are apparently more hazardous than the newer ones in this respect. (Although studies show that, compared with other hazards to birds such as cats, powerlines, windows, cars, and communication towers, the mortality rate for wind turbines is lower.)
Yes, new model wind turbines have very low bird-strike rates, and for horizontal-axis ones, of which there are several promising designs, it will be close to nil. A few years ago a wind farm application was rejected in Victoria because it was estimated that it might kill one (rare) orange-bellied parrot per year. I understand that the project was able to go ahead in another location.
Yarb, I'm an investor in a wind farm and I'm very happy with the returns. The only subsidies the project received were those generally available to start-ups of the same magnitude. We certainly benefit from the premium paid for 'green' energy, although in my mind this does not imply lack of feasibility per se. If the hidden costs of coal were factored in it wouldn't hold a candle to renewables. This is precisely what emissions trading is about to remedy, and aint the polluters a-squawkin' down here. Unfortunately our nation's political will seems to be undergoing capture by endangered coal miners rather than other species singularly or collectively.