Sunday, July 27, 2008

Greenest convention ever

The Rocky yesterday on the Wray (CO) windmill, one of the projects touted to provide offsets for the Democratic National Convention's carbon-offset program:
Thanks to a windmill that toils day and night producing clean electricity, the tiny eastern plains outpost of Wray has landed in the center of the fast-moving carbon-offset world, a place described by some as a new-age, environmental Wild, Wild West.

Wray's windmill, and three other clean-energy projects, are at the heart of the Democratic National Convention's Green Delegate Challenge, a program that asks delegates from all 50 states to purchase green credits so that the carbon dioxide generated from their participation in the Denver convention can be offset.
Just one leeeeetle problem. As a Face The State report reveals:
[Wray's] turbine has never produced marketable energy due to massive equipment malfunctions.

The school district held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the wind turbine February 15th. Officials soon discovered, however, that the turbine was incapable of producing its intended output. "We flipped it back off and on about 10 times since then," said Superintendent Ron Howard. "It has run, it will run, but it won't ramp itself up to full capacity.". . .

Howard says the turbine requires replacement equipment, which is scheduled to be installed this month. "It's a new technology, so they don't have the bugs out of it," he said. "Since there's so many people watching [the turbine], they might be better served to go to a more reliable model.". . .

Despite the fact the wind turbine does not produce energy, that hasn't stopped the district from cashing in on the project. In addition to the carbon credits sold to the DNC and others through NativeEnergy, Howard says the district receives downtime compensation from Americas Wind Energy, Inc., the firm that built the apparatus. "The money that we're making isn't necessarily coming from production," he said.
Update: With less than a month to go, here's where the states stand in the DNC's carbon-credit challenge:

Still just five states with 100% participation. And it's only $7.50 a credit. A high school kid bought credits for Vermont's whole delegation for $200. We Are The World (Unless It Costs Us Anything).

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