Monday, November 1, 2010

Renewable energy and public transit

Interesting news story coming out of Massachusetts, where the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority recently broke ground on a wind-power generator station to help reduce their electrical energy costs.
"The Northwind 100 wind turbine is expected to produce about 181,000 kilowatt hours of energy per year. In addition, one 100 KW turbine offsets about 257 tons of carbon emissions per year," said CCRTA Administrator, Thomas Cahir.
The project seems to be a relatively modest sum of $331,600, funded as part of a larger, $6.35M award the CCRTA was given by the Department of Transportation under the United States Recovery Act: The Cape Cod Smart/Green Transit Initiative.

Government-run services like public transit seem pretty uniquely situated for making use of renewable energy options: They have ample land and space for the projects, they have the financial wherewithall to invest in them (with government help, of course), and their lifespan is enough to justify the high up-front costs by spreading it over a long period of time.

I can think of a few instances where Ottawa could benefit from renewable energy in, at, on, or around transit stations. Taking the bus this past week proved one thing: More heating for transit stations would be nice. And if rooftop solar panels installed at transit stations could help offer, it's a good idea. And considering how vicious the wind can be at some stations, even wind turbines might work well (the hills at Hurdman Station, on top of the former dump, seem like a good option). I don't think the timing for projects like this is right these days, though, with the municipal government already spending a lot of money on the LRT project, and provincial and federal governments having posted fairly significant deficits after the recovery funding. But it's still a good idea.

1 comment:

WJM said...

And if rooftop solar panels installed at transit stations could help offer, it's a good idea.

Indeed, especially since some wonder-genius thought it would be a great idea to build greenhouses as transit stations.

It is ungodly difficult to find shade in mid-summer during daylight at places like Hurdman or upper-level St-Laurent. It's impossible at Temporary Baseline and Bayview.

If you are too cold you can put on more clothes. It's not the winters that need to be designed for, it's the summers. Too bad the Ottawa transit system isn't designed or built by people who actually use transit.