The Steady Sun and Clean Wind … Not!

Michael Giberson

When an essay about ups and downs in the natural gas industry ends suggesting we need energy sources “as steady as the rays of the sun and as clean as the wind on plains” ….  Well let’s just say the weather over the last 24 hours in this part of the plains doesn’t offer reasons to be a believer in steady sun and clean wind. Wind speeds averaged about 26 mph for much of yesterday was blowing significant quantities of dust (speeds ranged from about 10 mph to gusts near 50 mph), and the constant dust reduced significantly the amount of solar energy reaching the surface. This morning we have a 7 mph breeze and clear skies.

Wind gusts yesterday as high as 69 mph are helping to spread at least three large wildfires in the Texas panhandle and southern plains.

(I realize that a dust storm doesn’t actually undermine the point the author was trying to make, but the essay itself seemed to mistake one company’s shift of focus from increasingly cheap natural gas to not-so-cheap crude oil as somehow indicating that consumers shouldn’t believe in natural gas for the long term. That is to say, it seems so obviously off track that I don’t feel a need to get too serious about it.)

NOTE: The image below reports Lubbock, Texas windspeeds in the second panel and solar energy in the fifth panel (but the image will update, so this particular bit of evidence will be gone by the end of today):