Wind Energy and Governing

Although it is laudable that we in Newburyport, MA have an individual–company that is on the cutting edge of clean energy, it is also up to our Newburyport governing bodies not to be advocates for any one agenda, but to understand the pulse of the entire city of Newburyport, MA and to govern accordingly, which almost always, when successful, means balance and compromise.

So my thoughts are that when Mr. Richey may have approached whoever about the large wind turbine now on his property in Newburyport’s Industrial Park, that it might have been prudent for our elected Newburyport officials to say something to the effect, “We are thrilled to have someone as committed to clean and green energy as you are, however, our constituency might not be ready for such a radical move (i.e. a 292 foot wind turbine near a residential area); why not start out “low and go slow,” with wind turbines that may not pack as close to a high voltage punch, but are more in balance with a residential community.”

The buck stops with the Newburyport City Council.

And in looking back at the Newburyport Blog, in November of 2007, I expressed a concern about “fastening our seat belts,” because things were really going to move with this particular Newburyport City Council in place.

And concerning wind energy, things have really zoomed, and as a result, things may really backfired. One giant step forward, and possibly many giant steps backwards.

One of my favorite sayings is, “Baby steps get you to the top of the mountain.”

And as far as wind energy goes, there are several “baby steps” that could be taken. There are a number of wind energy products that are now being fast tracked, in response to the same conflict that we in Newburyport, MA are experiencing.

Quietrevolution hopes to have its vertical wind turbine product in 4 different sizes by late 2009 and 2010. The product was featured on MNBC here.

Windspire is a 30 foot by 2 foot vertical wind turbine featured at the Inauguration that has now been fast-tracked. The company was able to retrofit a former auto parts factory in Michigan and high volume production is planned for April 2009.

These are just two examples of wind turbine products, that yes, are not anywhere close to being as high voltage as the example that we currently have, but do wrestle with the issues that concern Newburyport citizens.

I would urge our Newburyport City Council to rethink a long term Newburyport wind energy policy, and not be wedded to an “either-or” approach, but in future, to urge citizens and business to take a more tempered and balanced direction.