Wednesday, November 08, 2006

On the roulette wheel of life, Atlantic City bets on GREEN

FOR almost a year, five turbines on New Jersey’s first coastal wind farm have been generating electricity in Atlantic City, their slowly revolving 118-foot-long blades making the turbines resemble gigantic upright roulette wheels.

They are the first full-size turbines along the coast in New York and New Jersey and the region’s first working examples of a clean-energy technology that supporters say will one day ease dependence on oil and gas and begin to address concerns about global warming.

They may also be a forerunner to more ambitious, far larger projects now under discussion for the coast of New Jersey…
Shit. We hadn’t noticed. (Has it really been that long since we’ve been gambling?)

Regardless, it’s about fucking time.
Europe, led by Germany and Spain, is in the forefront of wind energy, producing two-thirds of the 59,000 megawatts generated worldwide, the Global Wind Energy Council said.
But now, we’re going to catch up right?
Yet, despite the operation of New Jersey’s small wind project since January, there is uncertainty about whether wind farms, particularly gigantic turbines positioned off the region’s coastline, will be embraced here.
[…]
[A leading opponent] contends that the turbines would be a waste of customers’ money; a poor alternative to repowering existing fossil-fuel plants to boost capacity while greatly reducing emissions; a killer of birds and fish; and an eyesore.
Whaa? An eyesore?? That’s like saying green recycling bins in city parks are an eyesore because they contain refuse.

In reality, however, it’s quite the opposite. These are actually indicators of progressive government and forward-thinking urban initiatives that have positive connotations to people that see them.

Think about it. Which image is more appealing to potential residents, businesses and actual visitors?

1. Trash bins overflowing with various kinds of trash (as can often be seen around Rittenhouse Square) OR a comprehensive citywide system of recycling bins in parks and other high traffic pedestrian areas?

2. Public transit buses lurching down city streets and, with each stop and start, spitting out clouds of poisonous, smog-inflicting exhaust (Septa) OR clean, hybrid/bio-diesel buses painted green gliding down city streets, inducing envy in cities across the country?

3. Driving from the airport into Center City and staring out the window at pollution-spouting smokestacks at South Philadelphia oil refineries OR crossing the Platt Bridge in a hybrid taxi and admiring a small, serene windmill farm on the banks of the Schuylkill River producing clean energy for the city and the state?

All three of these questions are really, really, really simple
. Do you want your city's image to be old, dirty and negatively-industrial OR modern, clean, environmentally-friendy and progressive?

Apparently, Philadelphia digs the former.

Related:
Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore pushes for wind power, Donald Trump contends massive coastal hotels/condos/casinos are much more picturesque [NY Times]

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