Energy sustainability part of the new realityThe notion that a community can join the wave of sustainable energy and green technology is alive and well in Silver Bay.
By: Forrest Johnson, Lake County News Chronicle
The notion that a community can join the wave of sustainable energy and green technology is alive and well in Silver Bay.
Folks within city government and other community members have jumped on board the “green wave” that could see the development of an “eco-industrial park” at the site of the city-owned business park. The idea could mean that future development at the site could be powered by sustainable sources such as wind, solar, excess steam produced at the Northshore Mining power plant and biomass.
Currently, the city has partnered with the UMD Center for Sustainable Development and the Minnesota Dept. of Commerce, also in partnership through UMD, to assist Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERT) in local communities like Silver Bay.
The effort to take a look at sustainable energy sources has begun.
That doesn’t mean the grants to study whether there’s enough wind to actually develop a site will be approved, doesn’t mean that Silver Bay will be the model of a green city. Still, getting ideas off the ground in this new age of energy is a great start.
I’ve noticed recently that the oil companies and coal companies have hit the airwaves with an advertising campaign designed to give them a little green hint as they mine and drill for fossil fuels. Who wouldn’t turn themselves green after years of record profits and the threat of a nation starting to lok seriously at other sources of energy?
In one, perhaps you’ve seen this one on TV, a spokeswoman says that new technology will allow offshore drilling in a most environmental fashion, that while boats pass on the ocean surface thousands of feet above, the energy lifeline is cleanly pumping needed fuel to a waiting nation. A system of clean pipelines are draped across the ocean floor, leading hundreds of miles to the Gulf Coast to waiting refineries.
The bounty of offshore drilling is at hand. Don’t stop us now. We’re just hitting our stride. That oil is for you and your family, for your business and community. Don’t stop us now. That oil is there for all of us.
I like how those interests are now calling themselves energy companies, even though they have only begun to move at a glacial pace toward other energy resources.
They will miss the boat. The next decades will pass them by.
In the meantime, they’re going to fight for every last drop because that’s what they do, drill for and refine fossil fuels.
Clean coal? There is no clean coal. It doesn’t exist.
Having the discussion about a new direction for a society, from energy to health care to education and infrastructure, how we produce our food and the environment, is now underway. The discussion actually began decades ago but never made it to the forefront as cheap fuel created a society wholly dependent on oil. The American Century was based on oil and it allowed us to divert our attention from the realities and changes we now face.
Ask yourself, is everything just fine and dandy out there? Will tinkering with the health care system solve the cost crisis? Has chasing cheap labor across the globe created a stronger economy for middle America? Will the streets pave themselves and schools without teachers educate our kids?
This society, this world, can no longer survive on the old models. The sooner we have the discussion about how to make the shift, the sooner we’ll return to a sense of ownership in our own democracy.
In the meantime, the discussion about energy sustainability in one small town will move forward.