Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Conservation Council

We had a spirited three-hour discussion of renewable energy last night. There is no disagreement among Council members that the Town should put into place whatever process is necessary to facilitate residents' access to alternative energy technology. The discussion was about how the process will work.

The technology is changing rapidly now and as more people begin using it we can expect improvements to come even faster - much faster than we can change laws. It's impractical to think we could write a law regulating engineering specifications of new technology.

The question is: what aspects of the technology should be subject to review to assure the maximum benefit to the community? Clearly, safety is a concern. Less clearly, visual impact is a concern. And hardly anywhere on the radar screen is consideration of the value of renewable energy production. No matter what we do, this will not turn out to be a black and white decision. It will be an effort to maximize advantages and minimize disadvantages.

Above all, it's important that opinions and decisions be based on objective information.
Some sources of information to check:
  • Tompkins Renewable Energy Education Alliance (TREEA)
  • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)


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