Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

Home · Articles · News · Features · 100% Renewable Energy
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100% Renewable Energy

Anne Stanton - April 5th, 2010
100% Renewable Energy? Northport is the little town that thinks it can
By Anne Stanton
Northport Village, population 648 (or so), at the tip of Leelanau County is a perfect little test town for renewable energy with its cluster of homes, quaint stores, a school, an assisted living facility, a marina, and a waste treatment plant—all within a mile of each other. It doesn’t hurt that high winds routinely whip around the village, which sits on the picturesque shoreline of Lake Michigan.
That’s why a group of villagers believes they can achieve an ambitious goal for the town: 100% renewable energy in the future, beginning with two wind turbines that will hopefully go up by the end of this year. Their ultimate goal is to also power outlying Leelanau Township (population 2,139) with renewable energy.
The two medium-sized wind turbines will generate approximately 800,000 kilowatt hours per year. They won’t completely power the village, but they will generate enough electricity to power the town’s new waste water treatment plant and a portion of other municipal facilities, said Douglas McInnis, president of the 20-member Northport Energy Action Task Force.
The rest of the energy will come from solar, geothermal, possibly a future biomass plant, and energy conservation initiatives. The task force has plans to help people winterize and retrofit their homes as well as educate people on the various state and utility rebate programs such as energy-efficient appliances and CF bulbs. If state funds become available, the group will apply for a grant to help with their plans for educational programs, home energy audits, facilitating installation of energy saving components and developing local citizens, business and government partnerships which in the future might help these initiatives become self sustainable.

SMILEY SPEAKS
This whole project was triggered a year ago with a speech that Steve Smiley, a renewable energy guru, gave at the Traverse City Economic Club.
“It really enthused me,” said McInnis, a retired engineer who subsequently asked Smiley to come up to Northport and speak to The Circle and Crackle Barrel men’s groups. “Just like me, everyone was inspired! One of our senior members said, ‘You guys sit around and talk and talk, but now here’s a chance to actually do something!’ That spurred us on.”
The group has plans to locate two wind turbines in the village on a hill above the Northport Wastewater Treatment Plant site where nothing else could feasibly be located because of the odor and low-level noise. The wind turbines will go near an existing substation and transmission line to save money. Since they will be hooked into the grid, the electrical company serving the village—Consumer’s Energy—can buy electricity generated by the turbines. One of the challenge with wind energy is that it can’t be easily stored, but that’s not a problem since Consumer’s Energy will provide a constant base load to the village.
The task force plans to buy two refurbished, mid-sized turbines for approximately $500,000, half the cost of brand new ones. McInnis said his group is now in the process of developing strategies to pay for them.
“Money: that’s the tricky part right now. We are investigating the formation of a limited liability corporation as some farmers did in Minnesota. By forming a LLC that invested in wind turbines, those farmers took advantage of corporate federal tax credits for wind power.”

SELLING POWER
If Northport formed an LLC, the investors could be paid off with revenues from selling electricity to Consumer’s Power. After the investment is fully paid back, the ownership of the turbines would go to the Village of Northport and revenues received from the power continually sold to Consumers Energy will be available for community purposes.
“We are also looking at the possibility of getting grant money or a guaranteed loan through the USDA. They have a program for funding renewable energy projects but we are investigating whether we might be eligible.”
Are there concerns about electric bills going up? McInnis said the wind turbines won’t have a direct impact on customer bills. Consumer’s Energy will buy electricity from the village for 12 cents per kilowatt hour and charge customers its standard rate, which is now about a penny below that. Consumer’s Energy is mandated by law to convert to 10% renewable energy by 2015 and these wind turbines will help them do that.
“When you look at the future, we know energy costs will go up. The cost for natural gas, propane, coal, nuclear, whatever – is going to be more expensive. By using wind energy, thanks to mother nature, we ought to have a renewable source of energy far into the future”

 
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