New Haven has pledged to reduce carbon emissions 20 percent by 2010. To reach that ambitious goal, the city is promoting energy efficiency, bio-diesel fuel, solar arrays for public buildings – and now, windmills. Will John DeStefano be the Mayor of La Mancha, the Don Quixote of Dixwell?
The city is starting small, with a proposal to install four or five different kinds of wind turbines to see which work best. They will be placed in one of three locations currently under consideration, all near water. If the Board of Aldermen supports the idea, the wind turbines would be fully funded by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (to which all of the state’s electricity ratepayers contribute through their utility bills).
“Wind power is a function of having a place to site it,” said hizzoner (pictured at a Monday news conference promoting bio-diesel), and that’s what mayoral policy analyst Emily Byrne is working on right now. She’s pictured at the top of this story, showing the height of the turbines – between 30 and 75 feet, and definitely not more than 100 feet.
This is how the proposal would become reality, according to Byrne: The energy fund’s Connecticut coordinator has recognized that New Haven is a leader regarding renewable energy among municipalities in the state. He must first propose to the energy fund that it approve a grant for New Haven’s wind project, which then would go forward if the Board of Aldermen accepts it.
“Should everything run smoothly, we’d see construction in fall 2008,” Byrne says. The turbines would lower the city’s energy cost by producing three to five houses’ worth of electricity.
Not a lot, “but the purpose for the models would be to demonstrate there are various forms of renewable energy,” Byrne says, “and wind turbines are one option. [Here she is showing the relative width of one.] Some people put solar panels on their house; some people might want to put a windmill in their back yard. The idea is that the city’s program would help create an incentive for homeowners to do that.” The Clean Energy Fund subsidizes homeowners’ purchase of solar panels, but doesn’t yet contribute to wind turbines, but Byrne said if the pilot project is a success, it may begin to subsidize this form of energy for homeowners as well.
By Melinda Tuhus
29 May 2007
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