We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Re: too cold for windmills. England's recent cold period was accompanied by very low windspeeds. So the turbines couldn't generate enough power to do a lick of good. As for equipment that was designed incorrectly for the environment -- we recently had most of Billings' school buses fail one morning because the temperature had gone low enough to gel the low-sulfur diesel fuel. Wrong additive in the tanks.
Wind and solar may have niche roles in power production. Even with a very smart grid swapping power from sector to sector, it's only too likely that wind and solar supply will both be low, throughout the grid, right when demand peaks. Hot and cold nights both come to mind.
On this subject as on many others, Geoff, you are profoundly right. Most alternative power sources, like wind, and solar, and biofuels are less dependable than fossil fuels or nuclear. I do except water and thermal power, since rivers/waterfalls seldom fail, and Scandinavia and New Zealand have a dependable power source in thermal. But in general, with our current extraction skills and proven resources, natural gas, coal and petroleum are the most dependable -- other than nuclear, which Britain and France and other Western nations on the continent of Europe seem to be using quite efficiently and safely, thankyouverymuch.
Nevertheless, the progressive political 'idealists' continue to choose Door Number Two because it's politically correct.
I was right about the bath experience too. Hydroelectric is in fact a variable resource -- check out recent history of Bonneville Power Authority and Bureau of Reclamation here out West. Conflicts over power production, agricultural use and coho salmon. We've had enough global warming snow here that the next season may be easier on everybody.
My next-door neighbor is a hydrologist with B of Reclamation. I tell people, wherever he's hiding the water they want, it's not at his house.
That L.A. Times article is AMAZING. "Almost all of the proponents of a healthcare overhaul are desperate to avoid a repeat of the contentious public debate and deal-making that consumed Capitol Hill last year." The article goes on to quote this guy saying that it's easier to get things done behind closed doors. Also, the public is going to love ObamaCare as soon as they can be brought to understand it. (Which is going to happen as soon as we finish getting this done in secret while all debate is squelched.)