Pioneer Green, a renewable energy company, has announced plans to install eight wind turbines on private property near Centre along the Shinbone Ridge. When the giant blades are turning, they are expected to generate enough power to light half the homes in Cherokee County.
Given all the attention paid to wind power during the last decade, we’d expect that foresighted legislators in Alabama already have in place a plan to deal with such a project if and when it was proposed.
That is why state Sen. Phil Williams, R-Rainbow City, plans to file a bill that would give local county commissioners and city councils a significant say in what wind turbine projects are approved for their respective communities.
Though this should have been addressed long ago, it comes as a pleasant surprise that Alabama’s centralized state government might allow local representatives to decide what is best for their communities. Of course, Montgomery is still going to keep its bureaucratic hand in it; the project must be approved by the Department of Transportation because the heavy turbines will have to be transported up the mountain.
And don’t leave out the Tennessee Valley Authority, which will buy much of the energy the turbines generate. The TVA has its own permitting regulations as well as a federally required environmental impact study.
Nevertheless, if the project brings in the jobs and tax revenue Power Green predicts, it will be an important boost to the regional economy, not to mention good for the environment.
Meanwhile, down on the Gulf Coast, singer Jimmy Buffett has donated a 33-foot boat to the University of Southern Mississippi for its research lab at Ocean Springs. The boat is to be powered in part by used vegetable oil from his sister’s restaurant, Lulu’s, in Gulf Shores.
Alternative energy. The wave of the future.