Wednesday, January 21, 2009

If You Build It They Will Come...until the rules get in the way

I can't help but think after reading the following article that the Town of Stratford just don't get it.... there is an old expression "if you build it they will come" which implies that sometimes you have to make things happen before they evolve into something’s others can see... I'm sure the Town is very sincere in their pursuit to promote wind energy but I think developing a set of "rules" (bylaws) is the first step backwards to getting something done... I'm thinking if they threw away the rule books and spent more time promoting the concept of wind energy they would probably find more people like Mr. Thompson who really want to do something… Like most people in this economy Mr. Thompson’s probably looking for some kind of return on his proposed wind turbine investment which is probably why he is considering wind energy in the first place... why not try to work with those interested and apply some unwritten "common sense rules" that may help kick start a number of projects in the Community like Mr. Thompson’s that other will see intriguing and will follow... yeah, I'm sure the odd one will have neighbours complaining BUT THEY ARE GOING TO COMPLAIN ANYWAY NO MATTER HOW SILLY YOU MAKE THE RULES... so throw away the rule books and start working with some people and get this Green energy working in our Community.... you have to start somewhere and “ruling” out 95% of your customer base straight off the bat doesn’t seem like a good business plan to me…
Size matters for wind turbines, Stratford resident says
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
CBC News
The Town of Stratford is the first municipality on P.E.I. to pass its own bylaw allowing homeowners to put up wind turbines, but some residents are finding the rules too restrictive.
The bylaw was drafted and passed last week after a number of requests from residents, said Mayor Kevin Jenkins. The town wanted to allow wind energy development, said Jenkins, but it also knew it could be controversial.
"We recognized the various risks that are out there, and I think we've addressed them in the bylaw," he said.
There are two main restrictions on wind turbines in the bylaw: the lot must be at least an acre (0.4 hectares) and the turbine is limited to five kilowatts. Some are arguing the rules are too restrictive since few residents in Stratford have lots that size, and five kilowatts is only enough to power a small bungalow.
Stephen Thompson has enough land, but he wanted to put up a bigger turbine to help power his large, 4,000-square-foot home.
"I was hoping that they would say if you required a 10 kilowatt … turbine or windmill, they would say that's fine, as long as you met all the safety requirements," said Thompson.
Carmen MacIntyre, who works for a turbine manufacturer in Charlottetown, helped draft the bylaw. While she agrees there has to be some limit to the size of turbines in residential areas, she understands Thompson's predicament. Not only will Thompson not get as much power as he would like, smaller turbines are not as cost effective as larger ones.
"It would take you somewhere between 17 and 24 years to pay that machine off at today's power rates," said MacIntyre.
"It's still a little bit of a noble cause."
MacIntyre noted that if P.E.I.'s electricity rates continue to climb, homeowners will get their money's worth out of the turbines a lot faster.

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