Wind and Solar Generators Mounted on Highways Could Generate Green Power
By June 19th, 2009Friday, June 19, 2009 0:22 on
Every day scientists and inventors are searching new green sources of energy to combat global warming and energy crisis. The “Green Roadway” project, as it’s dubbed, aims to string wind turbine, solar panels and geothermal devices along the endless ribbons of pavement, where they’ll be linked to produce energy for businesses, homes and even roadside charging stations for electric-powered vehicles. Pictured above is a model of how a stretch of asphalt might look with a series of such gadgets; the blue rectangles are photovoltaic arrays, and the little umbrella-like objects depict turbines.
Ed Merritt and Gene Fein are two such inventors who patented technology and techniques to generate commercial quantities of energy this way. The inventors hope to capitalize on a flood of government economic-stimulus money and tax breaks for clean energy projects by auctioning off rights to use their inventions in each of the 50 states. In Maryland, proponents say, just one 10-mile necklace of roadside solar or wind devices could power upwards of 2,000 homes.
“For me it’s a billboard of hope,” said Kelly Meyer, a prominent Southern California environmental activist who’s spokesperson for the project. Head of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s leadership council there, Meyer calls the project a “transition from old America to new America.”
The auction set for July 24 may be the test of that. To be sure, there are millions of miles of asphalt along which to build this alternative-energy grid. But I see potential bumps in the road for this plan to get over, if only from a scenic standpoint.
Some people object to the sight of wind turbines adorning their favorite vistas – atop mountain ridges and off ocean shores, for instance. Local and state officials, ever wary of squeaky wheels, might be loath to grant widespread access to highway rights of way.
Meyer says these wind turbines won’t be like the propellored behemoths that have stirred controversy in other settings. They’ll be no more than 25 feet high, proponents say, and will be placed 00 feet back from the pavement.
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