2012-08-23 / Letters to the Editor

Residents don’t need turbine to save money

The $6.5 million dollar wind turbine bond issue vote was hardly a resounding “Go for it.” The town hired Harley Lee, president of Endless Energy Corporation, to conduct studies to determine costs and potential profitability of a Jamestown wind turbine. Results show a Taylor Point location most likely to work. A turbine about 370 feet tall might potentially produce the 2 million kilowatt-hours annually – or 166,666 kwh monthly – that our town uses. It might even produce excess to be sold for a profit. But so far, facts don’t support this venture.

I assume our Town Council is acting without regards to being “green.” Karina Lutz, a consultant for People’s Power and Light, recently addressed a Town Council meeting. People’s Power and Light is a 10-year-old nonprofit energy company in Rhode Island with a website that has a calculator that determines the cost to support wind-generated, locally produced electricity. The cost is added to the customer’s normal bill from National Grid. Wind-generated electricity costs 3.8 cents per kwh. At 166,666 kwh per month, the monthly addition to the town’s current bill would be $ 6,334.

About 6,000 citizens live in Jamestown. A turbine will affect all citizens not just those who pay electric bills. For $1.05 per month per citizen, we can support wind-generated, locally produced electricity for the town without erecting a turbine. Since about 50 percent of Jamestown’s citizens apparently want to support windgenerated electricity, I recommend they use the People’s Power and Light program.

The cost will be $2.10 per month per person. My proposal makes it possible for Jamestown taxpayers to support wind-generated electricity if they wish, but does not impose a liability on all of us.

Once erected, a turbine is here forever until taxpayers pay to remove it. Since buying a wind turbine is allegedly about saving taxpayers money, it makes sense to support wind-generated power and other alternative energy devices through People’s Power and Light. Recently I saw a photo in the Jamestown Press that addressed electricity produced by solar shingles (“High-tech roof,” Aug. 12). Perhaps the town of Jamestown could investigate installing these shingles on town buildings in the future – solar domestic hot-water systems, too. Both are proven performers at saving money over time and do not produce noise, light flicker, interference with radar, or alter skyline.

It took almost 20 years to build the highway department barn. Issues included cost, but also location and aesthetics. We taxpayers deserve no less intense scrutiny of this turbine proposal. So far, facts indicate a wind turbine is not economically feasible. For those who can install their own home wind turbines or other alternative energy systems, please do. For those who want to pay more for wind generated, locally produced electricity, just sign on to People’s Power and Light. For this taxpayer, wiser electricity use is my contribution. The town of Jamestown, funded by the taxpayers, should not buy a wind turbine. We can all win, all benefit, and save money without one.

Jim FitzHarris
Spar Street
Jamestown

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