New game in town: Wind, solar power
By Tom Breckenridge
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Published March 29, 2007
Cleveland Indians hulk Travis Hafner won't be the only power display this summer at Jacobs Field.
Solar panels will go up soon at the ballpark and at Great Lakes Science Center, allowing throngs to view and learn about renewable energy.
Cuyahoga County commissioners, meanwhile, have named an energy-conservation specialist. And Cleveland plans to spend $100,000 researching wind power for the city.
It's all part of an effort to green up the rusty region and grow jobs, by melding manufacturing and engineering assets with renewable energy, particularly along windy Lake Erie.
"Cleveland is about to become the greenest major city in Ohio," said William Spratley, head of Green Energy Ohio. "There's an industrial base in Cleveland that can be redirected to this effort. We see city and county leaders articulating policies that can drive this forward."
Green Energy and the Cleveland Indians will erect 50 photovoltaic panels on the upper concourse at Jacobs Field, along Carnegie Avenue.
The array will be 86 feet long and 15 feet high, generating a modest amount of power for The Jake, said Jim Folk, the team's vice president for ballpark operations.
The Indians want to reduce energy consumption, Folk said, and could expand solar capacity by adding panels to the sun screen over the upper deck. He declined to say what the project costs.
The Great Lakes Science Center plans a bigger solar array - 156 of the blue, 3-by-5-foot panels, flanking walkways to the main entrance.
The project, costing less than $500,000, will generate about 30 to 40 kilowatts of electricity. That's less than 1 percent of the Science Center's power needs, said Executive Director Linda Abraham-Silver.
But the value is in raising public awareness about renewables and their economic upside, said Richard Stuebi of the Cleveland Foundation.
The foundation sent $50,000 to Green Energy for an informational kiosk by the Indians' solar array.
"These are relatively small steps, but they are high visibility," said Stuebi. "Citizens see that solar energy works, even here in Cleveland."
Both solar displays are going up in anticipation of Solar 2007, the national, renewable-energy conference that the Cleveland Convention Center will host in mid-July. Some 1,500 people are expected.
Cuyahoga County commissioners, meanwhile, have named a sustainability officer.
Joyce Burke-Jones, who had worked for the county Planning Commission, will earn $88,857 as head of the county's new Office of Sustainability.
She will oversee energy-efficiency, waste-reduction and green-building efforts in county buildings and operations. She will reach out to cities interested in sustainable practices.
The county is following the lead of the city, which hired Andrew Watterson as a sustainability manager two years ago.
He is credited with saving the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. He is also among leaders in the countywide energy task force that wants to establish a wind-energy research center here, with wind turbines on the lake.
At Mayor Frank Jackson's direction, Watterson is pursuing a $100,000 plan to erect wind monitors on land at three to five sites in the city.
The goal is to erect wind turbines for Cleveland Public Power in two to four years, Watterson said.
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