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The Answer is Blowing in the Wind

11/3/2011 8:36:03 PM

Tags: wind, turbine, electric, car, motorcycle, Milwaukee, Renewable Energy, Ben Nelson

Today, I attended a ground-breaking ceremony in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The ground-breaking was for a new 100KW (one hundred-thousand watts) wind turbine project to be located at the Port of Milwaukee.

Creating renewable energy through wind turbines is a natural fit for the coastlines of this country, including the "Middle Coast" of the Great Lakes. As I arrived at the event, it was clear that this was a great place for wind energy - most of the event took place indoors due to the weather, mostly the wind.

As I stepped in to the Port Authority building, it was already packed with a good size crowd. Televison cameramen had already lined up for the best view of the podium where the “press conference” part of the event would be held at. Since I had my slightly-fancier-than-average video camera with me, I just snuggled up between the wall and the CBS affiliate. When one of the city officials was greeting the media before the start of the event, she asked me who I was with. I told her that I was a clean transportation blogger. Much to my surprise, she was excited to have me there, asked for a card, and wanted to know more about what I did!

Wow, suddenly, I’m the media!

Moments later, the Mayor of Milwaukee made his way in, squeezing right past me, and began the press conference. He spoke for a few minutes on the positive benefits of wind power, thanked the people that helped make this project possible, and emphasized how this was all being done through grants (no raising the local taxes!)

Of the many benefits of the wind turbine going in to this location are that it’s coming from an American company (Northern Power Systems) and nearly all the parts in the wind machine being made in America. The Mayor also pointed out how the turbine will actually MAKE money for the city, as excess energy from the turbine will be sold back to the power company.

Once the press conference was over the entire crowd trudged outdoors for the ceremonial first shovel of dirt. The Mayor, a member of the Office of Environmental Sustainability, and other local officials all took the first scoop of dirt to start the project. Over the sound of the wind, I could hear Mayor Barrett saying “We’re on our way.”

I guess that’s how I feel about it as well. We all need plenty more renewable energy, and every time a city, a business, or an individual puts up a wind tower or a solar panel, we are on our way, going the right direction.

City Officials break the ground for the new Wind Tower 

The other thing that is so fantastic about renewably-sourced electricity is HOW it can be used. Not just for lighting any more, electricity nowadays is best used for data and communication, but ALSO as a transportation fuel!

Instead of drilling for oil, anyone with an electric vehicle can run their car, truck, or motorcycle on wind, solar, biogas, and any other renewable source of electricity. My friend Tony happened to be at the event with his electric motorcycle. I asked him on camera what he was doing there. Mostly, he was there in support of renewable energy, but also was there to attend the meeting that was to follow about all of the green initiatives in Milwaukee, including electric vehicle charging.

Also at the event, I met one the folks from the Office of Environmental Sustainability. He wanted to talk with me more about the number of electric vehicles in the area, as Milwaukee is also planning to begin installing Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in the area.

As the song says, “The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.” In the case of renewable energy in Milwaukee, it really is. It’s also shining down on us. It’s everywhere  that local government, businesses, and individuals choose to come together to create a better future by realizing how important our energy and transportation choices are.

Please enjoy this video that I shot at the event today.


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