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Thursday, July 5, 2007

Mayor learns about sustainable strategies at Los Angeles Mayoral conference

Rich Lord's article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette asks if the Steel City will be known as a Solar City after the announcement two weeks back that the city of Pittsburgh will receive funding for solar projects from the DOE. Mayor Luke Ravensthal (aka #1 Tiger Woods fan), who had announced months ago that the city would begin using biofuels in its vehicle, also announced the the city council has finally approved state grants for the biofuel conversion kits for city trucks, meaning we should start seeing less of the black soot that the buses and garbage trucks have been belching into the atmosphere all over town. As the PG's chart shows, Pittsburgh is one of the least sunny cities, with less than half of the days of the year having enough for solar power. Other clean sources need to be explored by the city.

Next up on Pittsburgh's "clean" agenda: explore options for wind and kinetic hydro power. While I do not know the specifics about the requirements of wind power, I do know that the currents in parts of the 3 Rivers are fast enough (> 4 mph) to allow the installation of turbines on the riverbeds. How much power will they produce? That depends on the number of turbines that are placed but with miles and miles of rivers throughout the region there should be more than enough to power a significant number of homes. Verdant Power already has a working prototype of their technology in the Hudson River off the shores of Manhattan, and San Francisco recently announced exploring hydro turbines in the San Fran Bay.

If you really care about a clean energy in Pittsburgh, go to Verdant's site and email them and them to conduct a feasibility study here in the burgh.

1 comment:

TC said...

The hydro power option for Pittsburgh is intriguing because as you mention we have miles and miles of rivers with consistent flow and close proximity to the energy consumers-- including downtown. I think the two big challenges we'd have to address are safety- the rivers are not particularly deep and they see a lot of recreational use, ideally you'd want to locate hydro turbines deep enough to avoid accidental encounter with recreational users, and I'm not sure we have that option; and upkeep- our rivers carry a lot of sediment (including logs, garbage, etc) which will damage the turbines. Love the idea, and I watch the rivers from my downtown office every day thinking about all that wasted energy, just a few challenges to address. Would love Verdant to do a feasibility study.