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Wind power may be in the future for Elm City  

NEW HAVEN – Wind turbines may be headed to the Elm City, with possible locations ranging from the summits of East Rock and West Rock to Long Wharf and Lighthouse Point.

The idea is just starting to get off the ground, but the first turbines could be built by fall 2008, according to Emily Byrne, a policy analyst for Mayor John DeStefano Jr.

These turbines should not be confused with windmills, which are used to grind grains and other agricultural products, Byrne noted. The turbines vary in height from 30 to 100 feet.

The city has pledged to reduce carbon emissions 20 percent by 2010. Some city officials see these wind turbines as one way to reach that goal. Byrne estimated each turbine would generate about $7,200 per year in electricity savings.

Byrne and the aldermen who favor the turbines are braced for potential NIMBY, or “not in my backyard,” opposition, as happened when the turbines were proposed for Cape Cod, Mass.

“Some people don’t find these to be the prettiest things,” acknowledged Alderman Roland Lemar, D-9, who supports the concept. He termed it “exciting” and “interesting.”

Byrne declined to identify any possible sites for the first turbines. (Between three and five would go up initially as an experiment.) But Lemar said locations under consideration include the port or New Haven Harbor area. East Rock, West Rock and Lighthouse Point. He said these places have the greatest wind potential.

First come the necessary approvals. The board of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund must pass it, then the New Haven Board of Aldermen. A public hearing would be held and the New Haven Parks Commission also would have to approve installation of turbines on any park land.

Byrne is optimistic about the CCEF board because “they initiated the idea.” Byrne said the CCEF board will meet in late June. If the proposal were to sail through as expected, it will go to the aldermen for consideration later this summer.

Alderman Edward Mattison, D-10, said, “I think this is the wave of the future.” He added the turbines will need to be proven economically feasible in terms of how much electricity they would generate.

“They realize New Haven is a ‘green’ leader and they knew we’d be interested – and we are,” she said. Best of all, Byrne added, “They (CCEF) would pay for everything.”

CCEG, which was created by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2000, is funded by a surcharge on electric ratepayers’ utility bills. CCEF is administered by Connecticut Innovations Inc., which makes investments to advance new technologies.

“If we don’t start taking serious steps to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels,” Mattison said, “we will suffer. Our dependency on Middle East oil is causing us all kinds of grief.”

Mattison said wind turbines make sense because “our power costs are as high here as anywhere.”

We have a terrible gridlock in the power system.”

But Mattison “Global warming and climate change are issues beyond our ability to stop alone,” Lemar said. “But we can do our part through these simple, small steps.”

Randall Beach, Register Staff

New Haven Register

13 June 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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