Random thoughts on Wind and Gas

We have two new technologies in Ohio – horizontal drilling (part of the process commonly called fracking) and wind farms. In some ways they are similar. Both are in rural areas that need the jobs. For both, the state makes the final decision where wells can go and where wind farms can go. Local government has no say in these decisions. But then the differences start. Fracking can take plce 150 feet from the nearest home; for wind the distance is 1250 feet and will be from the nearest property line if the Legislature gets its way.

Other differences are also large. Fracking is best in southeast Ohio, while wind is best in northwest Ohio and along the shores of Lake Erie. Fracking is noisy and dirty; wind is quiet and clean.

While both technologies are used in producing electricity, they have different uncertainties. No one knows when the wind will blow. No one knows what the price of gas will be.

But the most important difference is that, if fracking succeeds we wind up doing things the same old way. If wind succeeds, we wind up doing things in new ways. Sadly, we cheer the candidate who offers change, but rebel when change comes.


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