Saturday, October 4, 2008

You Don't Need A Weatherman To Tell Which Way The Wind Blows-Wind Power Pros and Cons This Week on Sustainable Georgia

Sustainable energy and alternative fuels can be a thicket of lofty promises and unanticipated consequences. Much has been made in recent times about the possibilities of wind-generated energy in America. T. Boone Pickens is the most recent high profile convert, filling up commercial media with messages about harnessing the energy of America's Midwestern 'wind belt.' At the same time, over half of our states have passed laws or plans mandating increasing percentages of alternative energy production going forward, most of those leaning heavily on wind energy. While Georgia is not expected to be a major player in wind (biomass alt-fuels are our best bet), we need to watch this issue closely.

Our feature interview this week on Sustainable Georgia is with The Atlantic Magazine Staff Editor Matthew Quirk, who has an excellent piece on wind energy in the October issue of the magazine (John McCain is on the cover). Quirk discusses the major issues affecting the success of wind energy initiatives, mostly centering around challenges of transmission and the innate variability of wind. His cautionary message for T. Boone Pickens and the rest of us is that just like the corn ethanol boom, bust, and unintended consequences, wind energy has definite pluses and definite minuses.

In Earth News this week we check in with the PATH Foundation, which has extended the Silver Comet bike trail all the way to the Alabama border to link up with that state's Chief Ladiga trail. GPB's Edgar Treiguts attended the opening celebration of the linkup and lets us know about this great resource in Northwest Georgia.

Our Shout Out this week goes to Fort Benning, which evades military stereotypes by winning a major award from the State DNR P2AD Program for being a good, sustainable, green citizen in Columbus.

Recycled music features Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band with the title track from his 2000 release The Mountain, a song about Appalachian coal miners. Let us know what you think about the show, suggestions for a Shout Out to your community, or good interview subjects. You can post here or email us at

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