The Green Scene

Haywood catches wind of green power

Residential windmill
Green power on the rise: Local renewable-energy company Solar Dynamics used a crane to install Haywood County’s first modern-day residential windmill, which stands 100 feet tall.

Haywood County’s first residential wind turbine was installed several weeks ago by Asheville-based Solar Dynamics, a 5-year-old company specializing in renewable-energy installations. The 10-kilowatt wind system, standing at 100 feet tall, is the first in the state to be connected to the NC GreenPower program. It will produce approximately 14,000 kilowatt-hours annually, enough to power the residents’ home, and will offset approximately eight tons of greenhouse gases.

“We have great respect for Louis and Talitha Mes [the turbine’s owners], who care enough about clean air to be pioneers in the field of renewable energy,” says Ole Sorensen of Solar Dynamics. “This is one step closer to independence from fossil fuels.”

All fired up

North Carolina ranks 12th in the nation for worst pollution from carbon dioxide emissions, and about 60 percent of the state’s electricity is generated from coal-fired power plants, a major source of CO2. Asheville’s Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is heading up a coalition of regional clean-air advocates opposed to Duke Energy’s recent proposal to build two new coal-fired plants in Cleveland and Rutherford counties.

After organizing a turnout of more than 200 people at a June 1 N.C. Utilities Commission hearing in Asheville, SACE submitted comments at a June 27 hearing in Raleigh on the commission’s integrated-resource plan. The group is also drafting comments for additional hearings in late August.

“We don’t need new generation of power — we need to use the power we have in a smarter way,” argues Ulla Reeves, SACE’s regional program director.

SACE emphasizes the need for utilities to consider “carbon risk,” a term that encompasses the dangers of uncontrolled carbon dioxide emissions (namely, climate change), as well as the economic risk for power companies.

“SACE ultimately envisions a world in which carbon dioxide is controlled and regulated as a pollutant, since it is causing global warming,” Reeves explains. “If Duke decided to build a new coal plant now, and we had carbon-dioxide regulations in place in five years, what would that do to the utility? To the rate-payers? To the bottom line of the company? We want to see the utilities come up with a plan that’s not just cheap, but reliable, smart, sustainable and clean!”

Whose kilowatts? Our kilowatts

The Environmental & Conservation Organization, along with a host of other clean-air organizations, will be offering an opportunity to green your awareness this weekend: A free showing of Jeff Barrie’s Kilowatt Ours: A Documentary about Re-energizing America will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 22, in the Bo Auditorium at the Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock.

The documentary depicts the lives of coalfield residents and lung-cancer victims before switching gears to introduce suggestions for energy conservation. This event will feature a lecture from the filmmaker, and a clean-energy exhibit beginning at 6:30 p.m.

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