The Superior Express -

Editor's Notebook

 

November 5, 2020



I have often been impressed by the intelligence shown by the animals we closely associate with.

A current example is our neighborhood cat. I don’t know who the cat belongs to but he is a friendly animal who enjoys being petted and likes to be with people. He has learned our routine and is often waiting at our back door demanding our attention. Other times of the day, he apparently is either at his permanent home or visiting other friends.

On the weekend, I read a story about the German prisoner of war camp that was located in Osborne County, Kansas. The camp grounds are now covered by Waconda Lake but camp memories have not been lost.

Many of the prisoners were allowed to leave camp to work for nearby farmers. Though the prisoners may have worked with horses in Germany, they found it wasn’t so easy in the United States. Here the horses didn’t understand German commands and the prisoners didn’t know the American commands.

Many of the prisoners made American friends some of whom provided them with automobiles they could drive between the camp and their work assignments. The vehicles made the commute between camp and work easier but I suspect such an arrangement was contrary to the camp regulations.

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Remembering my grandfather’s praises for the assembled in Hardy wind generator he used to provide electrical energy for his gasoline station, I considered building a generator to power my garden irrigation system.

Grandfather’s system, designed by the late Ross Lance, used a generator originally installed on a Dodge automobile. I found a plan which used an alternator salvaged from a General Motors designed automobile.

But as I learned more about wind energy, I decided wind power wasn’t the answer I was searching for. Though I haven’t moved forward, solar appears to hold more promise for the garden system.

After looking at wind energy for my garden, I have been counted among the skeptics when it comes to commercial scale wind farms.

When it comes to wind there’s either too much, not enough or none at all. Seldom is the wind right.

The developers of the farms have become masters at harvesting federal government aid.

Recently I read a New York Times article about the problems the current pandemic has caused the developers of a wind farm near Milligan.

According to the Times report, the pandemic is threatening the installation of 99 of the giant wind turbines before a year-end government aid deadline.

The manager of a factory that was building the giant cylinders on which the turbines rest contracted the COVID-19 virus and died. His death shutdown the plant.

Another set-back occurred when the blades the company was expecting to arrive in mid-March were delayed.

Construction projects are often delayed when materials fail to arrive in time. Considering where these materials were coming from, I’m not surprised to learn there were problems.

A company in China was supplying the blades and a company in Mexico was supplying the cylinders.

Why was it necessary to purchase the towers and blades outside of the United States?

When the wind generation industry was beginning to grow, Superior residents interested in industrial development promotion thought Superior’s location in the Central United States would make for a good plant location. Superior representatives attended wind conferences and promoted our location. The Start Here, Grown Here slogan the recruiters still use was created with the hope of attracting a wind equipment plant.

Their effort came to naught. Instead it appears manufacturers in places like China and Mexico captured the market.

Wind turbine components frequently move through this area either by truck or rail. Their movement appears to be quite a challenge.

If the federal government is going to subsidize the wind energy industry, the components should be made in America by Americans. Our tax dollars should not go to support factories in other countries.

 

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