Monday, June 22, 2009

In New York The Answer is Blowing in the Wind

Converting rooftop water towers that dot the Manhattan skyline into wind energy sources is still a few years away. But wind energy is already sailing into the New York marketplace and in places that you least expect it.

City institutions including Brooklyn Brewery and Whole Foods are taking the lead in green energy procurement. Both purchase wind power from the local arm of global wind energy giant Iberdrola. By signing up with Community Energy they and others are on the leading edge of energy self sufficiency in America.

Chelsea Piers, the largest sports and entertainment complex in the country uses 100-percent wind power.The environmental offsets of using wind energy are the equivalent of reducing 13,600 metric tons of CO2 emissions.

"We were surprised to learn that the incremental cost of purchasing 100 percent green power was actually quite small," said Chelsea Piers Chairman Roland W. Betts. "We also made a considerable investment converting to high-efficiency light fixtures and new control systems but we believe it will pay for itself in a few years."

Brooklyn Brewery obtains 100 percent of its energy from wind. The brewery pays Con Ed Solutions for the 285,000 kilowatt-hours it uses off the grid annually to be replaced with energy from Community Energy wind farms located in New York.

Each year, Brooklyn Brewery's commitment to clean energy saves the atmosphere from 335,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, 1,500 pounds of sulfur dioxide, and 500 pounds of nitrogen oxide that would otherwise be emitted.

Whole Foods Market uses renewable energy credits from wind farms to offset 100 percent of the electricity used in all of its stores and other facilities in the United States and Canada. The company began doing so in January of 2006.

While we are waiting for that breath of fresh air that is the next generation of wind generation the answer is already blowing in the wind.

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