Paslov: Don’t stand in the way of a greener future
All of us in Carson City and Northern Nevada know the power of wind. We sometimes tremble before the westerly flow that comes off the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada at speeds over 80 mph. It takes our breath away.
But wind also represents energy. In recent years there has been considerable discussion about establishing wind turbine farms, in which huge windmills would be clustered to generate enough power to supply our communities and supplement the power grid. It is being thought of as an economic asset that needs to be developed.
Fred Kessler is the president of Anchorage Construction Management, a Carson City business that installs vertical-axis wind turbines. These quiet, efficient systems can provide sufficient power for a home or business. The turbines weigh about 650 pounds and are 4 feet wide and 30 feet tall, about the height of a flagpole. They cost around $5,000. With advances in technology, these dimensions and costs will soon be less. They are also aesthetically pleasing, in my view, and in some places are being used in university gardens to enhance “green power.”
Carson City has an ordinance that restricts such systems to one per acre. This restriction is a “business deal breaker.” It would prevent homeowners and small businesses from using the wind turbines for cheaper, green energy applications.
Mr. Kessler’s problem with the city ordinance is that he believes it conflicts with Nevada law that allows governing boards to reasonably regulate the height, noise, and safety of wind turbine systems but does not restrict the number of devices per parcel.
Mr. Kessler and his attorney addressed the Board of Supervisors in March. The action went quickly. Mayor Bob Crowell indicated that the supervisors had had much discussion about this topic in the past, and if there was a conflict between Nevada law and a city ordinance, it should be turned over to the city attorney for referral and a recommendation.
I believe Carson City should give careful consideration to making our city friendly and adaptable to alternative energy devices. NIMBY (Not in my backyard) is not useful for our future. I hope Mr. Kessler and the city can find satisfactory resolution to this conflict. All of us will benefit.
• Eugene Paslov is a board member of the Davidson Academy at the University of Nevada, Reno and the former Nevada state superintendent of schools.