• DJ

    I would think there’d be a significant environmental cost to this. Lakes have stratified temprature layers, with warmer water on top. Different species like different temperatures. Reducing the cold layer, or worse mixing the layers, could make quite a change in the eco-systems.

  • Joe Hartley

    I’m with DJ on this. It seems to me to be a boneheaded move without regard to the lake structure.

    This approach has a similar problem to the possibility of burning firewood for heating: there are always side effects. While I’m no great admirer of the politics (and much of the economics) of Milton Friedman, his comment that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” is particularly true when it comes to environmental impact. ANYTHING we do is going to have side effects. This is not, as Bob often thinks I support, a call for inaction. Rather, it’s simply a demonstration of the wisdom of looking before you leap. Burning carbon-based fuels for energy is causing no end of problems, but there’s a reason for doing so. Simply doing something else to generate energy doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. You wouldn’t, for example, support turning to coal for obvious reasons. But as DJ points out, there are complex environmental impacts on the proposed heating and cooling, none of which are clearly “green.”

  • From the Cornell site, apparently it passed all sorts of tests (still it does seem pumping out cold water could be harmful..)
    LSC was proposed in 1994 and approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in 1998. Nearly four years of environmental study and review resulted in a four volume, 1500 page Environmental Impact Statement that thoroughly described the potential impacts of the project on the lake. The DEC determined that LSC could provide the stated environmental benefits without harm to Cayuga Lake. Even so, the DEC has required Cornell to include many special features in the construction and operation of the project to further minimize any impacts identified. In addition, they required the university to carry out a lake monitoring program that, through data and independent oversight, will verify its safe operation on the lake.

  • DJ

    It’s not just cold water coming out… the warm water has to go somewhere, and the obvious destination (to avoid water level drops) is right back into the lake.

  • But Joe, but you seldom if ever actually call for leaps to be made!

  • DJ

    In this case, if a leap is to be made, it might be into the lake.

  • John

    I have to weigh in here and agree with the critics of this technology. As usual (especially in the U.S.) we fall in love with a high-tech “solution” that has serious, detrimental environmental side-effects, whether intended or not. This cooling strategy strikes me as one of the more stupid ones I’ve heard of in a while. The more green solution would be to design buildings with windows that open and effective ventilation strategies that use existing wind currents, tree planting and vertical venting to exhaust hot air. And here’s a radical concept: how about dressing more appropriately for the weather? The amount of energy we waste so that people can dress in dark business suits in the heat of summer is just insane. Ever been to a movie in the summer and taken along a sweater so you can survive the 58 degree theater through the final car chase? Before universal air conditioning, people wore light colored linen and cotton suits for summer, and wool for winter. But you know, linen suits and windows that open — well, that’s just so fucking 19th century, isn’t it? Better to push a button and destroy some local ecosystem. It’s nice that they’re monitoring the lake while they warm it up, though. I bet the fish appreciate that.

  • Joe Hartley

    High above Cayoga’s waters
    Comes an awful smell!
    Some say it’s Cayoga’s waters
    Some say it’s Cornell.

    As for not calling for leaps to be made, other than rapid retreats for idiotic positions (e.g., Iraq, Cuba, Venezuela. etc.), this is an prime example of why. Americans are so enchanted with the new that nobody ever sits down to calculate out the thermodynamics of the situation. What was Amborse Bierce’s definition of a conservative? Someone enamored of existing evils, as opposed to the liberal, who wishes to replace them with others? I’d like to think we can do better than that dichotomy, but only if we stop sounding like a bunch of silly Tom Friedmans saying “wow! cool!” and start asking questions like DJ’s, namely: OK, so where DOES the heat go to?

    BTW, the history of nearly one half of environmental law can be traced to damn fool decisions made by various bureaucracies in Albany for the great Empire State of New York.

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