Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Wind Turbines Beginning to Energize Alaska

The transition to renewable energy is catching on in -- of all places -- Alaska, the land of oil dividend checks.

Reports the Anchorage Daily News:

One of the wind-power turbines -- like a streamlined pinwheel or a futuristic windmill -- stands above a local chiropractor's office. The other is a green addition to an elementary school playground.

The turbines are part of a move toward renewable energy in Alaska. Wind turbines dot rural Alaska. Solar arrays power a building in Nome. Tourists soak at Chena Hot Springs Resort, a getaway powered by geothermal energy. And increasingly, homeowners are using energy derived from the sun and wind to heat their homes, keep the refrigerator running and charge their iPhones.

Some involved in this movement are driven by a desire to reduce their impact on the environment. For others, the decision is financial. Using alternative energy means less reliance on diesel fuel to power generators.

What I really like is a quote towards the end of this article, where a quote from one owner of a green, renewable-powered home flies in the face of those who say living green requires making painful sacrifices to quality of life:

A modern two-story colonial home with a garage and full basement on the tour is heated by sun-warmed water. Homeowners Dave and Karen Jones said they wanted a low-maintenance home with low energy costs that they can enjoy in their retirement.

"We're not making any concessions," said Dave Jones. "We're not tree huggers. We're normal people. We're just looking for a more efficient way to do it."

It's certainly a good sign -- given the Senate's dithering on clean energy legislation -- that even Alaskans are taking the initiative to reduce their use of oil.  The American pubic seems to be well ahead of its politicians on these issues.

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