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July 2000 Issue
The Geographical Review
July 2000, Vol. 90 (3), pp. 381-394
MORALITY, SPACE, AND THE POWER OF WIND-ENERGY LANDSCAPES
MARTIN J. PASQUALETTI
Keywords: California, energy, landscape, morality, wind.
Most of us have not known-or cared-where our electricity comes from. Our attitude is changing, however, as we turn toward wind energy, now the fastest-growing renewable energy resource in the world. Because we cannot extract and transport the raw energy of the wind, reaping its many environmental benefits requires that we cope with the landscape presence of its development wherever it occurs. Sometimes this interferes with the value of open space, and sometimes it may be close to subdivisions. It is the immobility and very visibility of wind power that makes its presence unavoidable. In that regard it cannot be hidden underground, stored in tanks, or moved by trains. It is an energy resource that reminds us that our electricity comes from somewhere. The more we wish to tap the power of the wind, the less we will be able to avoid the responsibilities that our demand for energy brings. This necessary bargain, first evident near Palm Springs, California, is now being experienced wherever wind power is being developed.