2007-04-12 / Editorial


How green can our island be?

It's is good that we've established a committee to study the feasibility of harnessing the wind to provide all of our community's electricity. Indeed, wind energy is an exciting idea.

The possibilities are compelling. The concept of free electricity derived from a non-polluting source is enough to make one almost giddy. And we can sell some electricity back to the National Grid, too.

The economic reality, however, is a different story. Nothing is really free, not even the wind. A substantial investment would be required to build and maintain the wind turbines. The payback could be years. Then there is the NIMBY debate. Who wants the necessary massive, noisy windmills in their backyards?

Don't forget that the animal rights activist will undoubtedly raise the alarm over possible injuries to our feathered friends.

So putting the wind to work making our electricity could be a few years down the road for Jamestown. Meanwhile, there are plenty of other things we can do to make our island green.

A good place to start is the new Town Hall, now under construction on Narragansett Avenue. We should make sure that the lighting both inside and outside the building is the most energy efficient possible. The same goes for the heating and cooling of the structure.

There's an outside possibility that we may build a new town highway garage in the near future. Again, we should take the proper steps to ensure that the structure is as energy efficient as possible.

An energy audit of the town might be in order. When we need new vehicles, could we save money by replacing the town's gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles with electric ones? Maybe the next police cruiser the town buys should have batteries instead of a gas tank.

Wind energy is a great idea and should be thoroughly investigated. But we should not lose sight of the many other simple steps that we can take to make our town green.

- Jeff McDonough

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