2010-12-02 / Editorial

Jamestowners want to go green with our island’s wind power

• EDITORIAL •

There is no doubt. Jamestowners want the town to erect a wind turbine and sell the electricity it generates to National Grid.

How do we know? Look at the last election and the ballot question that asked island voters if they would approve spending up to $6.5 million in bonds to build a wind turbine. Even with the Town Council urging everyone to vote against the referendum due to uncertainties with the windturbine proposal at hand, the measure passed.

Everyone was surprised. The election results showed that Jamestowners are ready to take the plunge and join the other communities across the country that have constructed their own wind turbines. Portsmouth, our neighbor to the northeast, has a wind turbine that from all evidence will make money for the town.

The Taylor Point site has more wind than that at the Portsmouth wind-turbine site. So it would stand to reason that Jamestown, even with a smaller turbine, would make money from the electricity it generates.

The Town Council is now faced with a decision on proceeding with the proposal for the Taylor Point site by authorizing two studies. One is required by National Grid to evalute the electrical interconnect. In other words, it will determine if the island’s power lines can handle the electricity from the wind turbine. The second study will navigate the FAA bureaucracy as to what size wind turbine is permissable on the Taylor Point site.

The combined cost of the two studies is estimated at $30,000 to $40,000.

The town has already spend $53,000 on the Wind Energy Committee study, $25,000 of which came from a state grant.

The town needs to move ahead quickly on the project because of a federal $750,000 windenergy grant. In order for the town to receive the grant, we would have to complete construction of the wind-turbine construction by March 2012. That is just 16 months from now.

I believe that the Town Council should underwrite the two studies and keep the wind-energy proposal for Taylor Point moving forward. At every step of the way Jamestowners have given the green light to the wind-energy project. Most islanders favor building a wind turbine as long as it makes money for the town. Even should the project break even, it would do a small part in helping alleviate our reliance on fossil fuels.

Every bit helps – from using energy-saving lights at home to building our community’s own wind turbine. The project also holds an educational aspect and shows our youngsters that we must utilize leading-edge technology for the health of our economy and the health of our planet.

The Town Council should approve the two studies that are needed to determine if the Taylor Point project is feasible. It would be money well spent for the future of Jamestown.

— Jeff McDonough

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