I was going to write this as a response to the diary on Warren Buffet's recent $1B investment in wind power, but it ran long and went off on a tangent so I thought I should start fresh so as not to derail the discussion there.
The original article to which I am responding is here: http://www.dailykos.com/...
and you should probably read that first. It's short.
So here it is after the fold:
And that's Iowa, let alone Kansas. Think about it. Our population isn't that big, we're just sprawled out. We do have a lot of wind and cheap land.
We also have thousands of unemployed and underemployed workers with years of manufacturing experience. Wichita alone is a market in which Cessna and others set up shop just because Boeing laid off so many people every year- boom, Instant Workforce Just Add Money, thanks for training your competitor's employees for them geniuses!
It's not just land that's cheap here- COL in general is. A $30k salary goes further in even Lawrence (basically the state's most expensive market) than it does in most major cities. So labor is cheaper.
AND we're centrally located, which is good for shipping in and out nationwide.
AND that's before you even get to the tax breaks and business-friendly climate. We know we need jobs. You set up a major employer between Lawrence and Ottawa or Topeka and the locals will treat you like a god.
Why can't we just put two and two together? Instant Workforce + Lower Startup Costs + Desperately Needed Innovation = Profit! DUH. But no one actually does it, or if they try Big Oil shuts them down. So much for entrepreneurship and the "free" market.
If some genius invents a small efficient windmill that can simply be stuck on top of each power pole and pipe directly into the grid, well that might be game over for Big Coal right there. Noise? Any worse than the highway that's like five feet away? Land use? What land use? Eyesore? Dude, it's a power pole, not a marble statue. Seriously, problem solved, that simple.
But we can't just make the investment to figure out how to do it. Weren't we problem solvers at one point? Man on the moon and all that? Ugh.