Monday, December 8, 2008
Wind Power: Ravenstahl and Comet Unite
To cut energy costs, Ravenstahl told the group the city is pursuing putting windmills atop Mt. Washington to generate electricity via wind-driven turbines. He acknowledged such a plan could prove difficult.
"You know how tricky it is even building a building on Mt. Washington, much less building a windmill up there to generate energy," Ravenstahl told the group. (Trib, Jeremy Boren)
$4 Billion (by back-of-the-napkin estimates) is about to pour into the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from the federal government, for those projects explicitly such as alternative energy infrastructure which are both objectively worthwhile and "shovel-ready".
The narrative of a smoky old city figuratively fanning away the soot from its hellish past is astounding. Windmills, if done properly (no advertising) can be aesthetically charming, and would blend almost seamlessly with our "built environment" -- fancifully engineered bridges and inclines, industrial relics of all kinds riddled along the riverbank and up the slopes of Mt. Washington. These 21st-century energy mills could win renown as the greatest of the Seven Wonders of the Obaman World.
This is brilliant. If it works as it is supposed to (pending of course assessments of both neighborhood impacts and incidental environmental impacts), it will save the region money for decades to come and be a source of support, instead of exerting a continuing drag on our economy like some of the massive investments of the past.
This is how serious I am about this project: zoning and bureaucratic realities being what they are, and given the magnitude of this undertaking, I would not object to the City hiring for these purposes some kind of special consultant. He or she would have to be a zoning expert -- certified as an expert -- to present, negotiate, and advance the position of the Mayor in moving the project forward. And to do that and that alone, since it's obviously such a high-value, signature public investment, requiring total focus. I would welcome it.
Aside from that, Mr. Mayor -- what else can we do, quickly? President Obama will want a brief with something scrawled out upon it by the 3rd or 4th week of January. Isn't a lot of that property along the hill crest For Rent?
Photo: AP: Sandy Huffaker