Among residents of rural Garrett County, the 28 wind turbines now pin-wheeling atop Backbone Mountain conjure many images — some nicer than others. But whatever one's perception, the massive windmills are here to stay. And they demand attention.Alaska OKs Eva Creek wind farm near Healy
Constellation Energy assembled several dozen guests next to one of the behemoths — about the size of a 40-story building — on Tuesday for a ribbon-cutting for Maryland's first commercial wind farm, even though the turbines started generating electricity months ago.
"Sit back, relax and enjoy the view of our wind park," Constellation's project manager Don Shilobod said to the group as they gazed at a vista dominated by eight of the light gray turbines looming over the treetops.
The Alaska Department of Natural Resources has given preliminary approval to a large-scale wind farm near Healy, despite the objections of a competitor in the wind-power business.BOEMRE Analyzing Proposed Mid-Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy
The DNR preliminary approval is the latest step forward for the Eva Creek project, a 24.6-megawatt turbine farm envisioned by Golden Valley Electric Association near Healy. The GVEA board of directors unanimously voted in favor of Eva Creek in June, advancing a 16-turbine project that will become the largest wind farm in Alaska if it’s developed.
GVEA President Brian Newton said that unless any new complications emerge in the next month, the state is on pace to give final approval in late August or early September. GVEA hopes to launch the project in September 2012.
“We’re not anticipating any problems,” Newton said.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) announced on July 11 that it is seeking public comment on a draft environmental assessment (EA) that considers potential environmental and socioeconomic effects of issuing offshore wind energy leases in the mid-Atlantic. The agency, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), is specifically targeting designated wind energy areas off the coasts of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia.Mozambique Cuts Poverty, Creates Jobs with Clean Energy
Only ten percent of Mozambique’s population has access to the country’s electricity grid. Without electricity, subsistence farming is less viable, students cannot study at night, and hospitals cannot store vaccines. The lack of power is a drag on Mozambique’s economic development and an obstacle to improving the well-being of its people.
But this is not another clichéd story about how the West must save Africa from poverty. Instead, it is a story about how to provide electricity, in an environmentally and economically intelligent manner, to the 85% of people in rural sub-Saharan Africa who lack it. It is a story about how to leverage efficiently local knowledge and resources. It is a story about innovation, a story from which the developed world can learn.
In 2009, Jason Morenikeji started The Clean Energy Company in Mozambique. Morenikeji’s company provides small-scale, off-grid renewable energy along Mozambique’s “wind-strong” coastline. The company focuses on the design, construction, and installation of micro wind turbines that can be tailored to fit local needs and combined with other renewable energy sources, such as solar photovoltaics (PV).
By manufacturing the micro-turbines locally, Morenikeji’s company creates jobs and lifts people out of poverty. This is one of many ways that independent electricity generation, particularly from renewable sources, can be crucial for addressing the challenges of socio-economic development such as education, food security, and health.