PORTSMOUTH – City Councilor Josh Denton wants to start a conversation about either putting a solar array at the Jones Avenue landfill or installing wind turbines on top of City Hall.
Denton plans to try to get a “general sense” from his fellow city councilors Monday night on whether they’re interested in pursuing either option. If the council endorses his idea, Denton plans to suggest that they pursue grants through the state’s Public Utilities Commission, he said Friday.
Those grants would come through the same program that Portsmouth received $450,000 toward the city’s $1.7 million high school and Madbury Water Treatment Plant’s solar arrays, Denton said.
Plus, under the provisions of a recently passed state law, the electric power generated by any project could go toward any municipal facility.
That means, Denton said, “they can be much bigger than the previous solar arrays that could only provide electricity to physically where they were situated.”
Denton recalled riding his motorcycle in Oklahoma when he was stationed there at a U.S. Army base and traveling toward the direction of wind turbines, which he described as “beautiful.”
The ones he’d like to see on top of City Hall are “smaller wind turbines designed specifically for municipalities or schools,” Denton said.
“I love the idea,” Denton said about putting wind turbines atop City Hall. “If you look at City Hall, it’s a building on a hill. It’s a great spot to have wind turbines.”
In addition to capturing winds that often whip through the City Hall plaza, “you can see the building from almost anywhere,” he said.
“It would be really cool and it would make a statement,” Denton added.
In terms of a solar array, Denton said a previous city committee looked at putting one at the capped Jones Avenue landfill and decided against it. But he thinks the City Council should at least reconsider the idea.
“We could put a huge solar array at Jones Avenue and use that electricity to offset electricity use at City Hall,” Denton said.
“Essentially, what I want to do Monday is start the conversation,” Denton said.
The Jones Avenue dump operated until the early 1970s when dumping was ceased there after the city of Portsmouth agreed in late 1971 to create a “sanitary landfill” in North Hampton that would serve that town, the city, Pease Air Force Base and New Castle.
That landfill would come to be known as the Coakley landfill, which opened in 1972.
Monday’s regular meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and will be held in City Council Chambers in City Hall.
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