Green Tech Regional Report 11-9-11

This week’s regional report rounds up little clean tech stories from around the country (and Canada, this time), and takes a look at the ups and downs of clean energy installations, including EV chargers and wind turbines, and marks the first flights of Alaska Airlines’ biofuel-powered jets.

The New York Times reports on the Laurel Mountain wind farm in West Virginia, where nearly 500 birds were reported killed by the Fish and Wildlife Service. According to the report, the birds were not killed by the turbine blades, but were apparently drawn to the lights surrounding the wind farm’s electrical substation and storage batteries, and it is suspected that the birds collided with these structures. As a result, measures are being taken to prevent similar happenings at other wind farms–notably turning off lights.

Image via Shutterstock

In Wailuku, Hawaii, the Maui Planning board offered unanimous support to construct the eight-turbine Auwahi wind farm. Though some expressed concerns such a s safety and visual impact, no one was opposed to the wind farm, reports the Maui News. The farm’s capacity will ultimately be 21 megawatts, enough to supply power to 10,000 homes. Unlike other “big wind” projects, which supply power to several islands via underwater cable, the Auwahi project will only be serving the island of Maui.

Constellation Energy, owner and operator of Vineland Municipal Electric Utility, along with the city of Vineland, New Jersey, announced the completion of a 6.5 megawatt solar project designed to provide affordable energy to customers, reports Marketwatch. The nearly-28,000 panel project is divided into two installations, and is expected to put out about 10 million kilowatt-hours annually, or the equivalent of 7,584 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Examining the conflict of clean energy versus conservation on a small scale, MLive reports on controversy surrounding the removal of nine trees from near a Western Michigan University parking lot to make room for solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations. This opinion piece points out the realities of installing clean energy devices like EV chargers and solar panels.

Sunvalley Solar signed a 200-kilowatt commercial solar installation contract with the Harmoni Group in Industry, California, and hope to expand the solar market in the southwestern US. The project will include both domestic and imported components.

In Nova Scotia, a new visitor center for the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) will serve to educate visitors about marine energy, and overlooks a demonstrative tidal turbine project in Nova Scotia’s Minas Passage. When connected, the center will have the world’s largest transmission capacity for marine energy at 64 megawatts, enough to power 20,000 homes.

Alaska Airlines is beginning the first of 75 scheduled flights using a biofuel mixture. Flights are scheduled for 2:45 to 3:45 PST, with flights to Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, reports the Seattle Post Intelligencer and AirlineReporter. The fuel will be 20% biofuel derived from used cooking oil. Alaska Air hopes that this technology will allow air travel to become cleaner and more affordable.

Laura Caseley is a graduate of SUNY New Paltz and a resident of New York State’s Hudson Valley. She writes for several publications and when she’s not writing, she can usually be found painting in her makeshift studio or enjoying the scenery of her hometown.