Predictably, wind energy proponents are using the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon and the subsequent oil spill as evidence that wind energy would help prevent this type of disaster and thus should be given more government support (i.e. money). There are two major problems with this line of thinking. First, wind energy has nothing to do with oil usage – the two are almost completely unrelated. Second, the real lesson to be learned from this disaster is that environmental assessments of these industrial projects must not be “expedited” just because they are inconvenient for the corporation.
The one thing that wind energy and the Deepwater Horizon do share is that they environmental impact studies were (and in the case of wind, still are) glossed over by the respective regulatory agencies. This is one story of the Deepwater Horizon’s sorry history. This lack of oversight is depressingly similar to what is going on in the wind energy industry, where states and provinces are scrambling to set aside environmental regulations that hinder the installation of these projects.
If there is anything we can learn from the Gulf disaster, it is that corporations cannot be trusted to be as careful with the environment as they are with their profits. It must fall to the government to force these companies to be responsible – the costs of these entirely predictable disasters are far too great to leave the oversight to people whose every incentive is to do as little oversight as possible.