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First Wind Turbine on Mississippi Gulf Coast Powers Outdoor Lighting for Apartment Complex

By Rhonda Miller | Published 29 Dec 2011 12:42am | comments
Robert Harris, right, and crew prepare to raise the wind turbine in Long Beach.

Mississippi is slowly taking steps to alternative energy with solar and wind projects and electric car charging stations. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports a Gulf Coast community is the newest addition to the line-up, with a wind turbine installed Wednesday.

On a sunny December day with a light wind, Robert Harris and his crew are raising a 45-foot-tall wind turbine, just across the road from the waterfront in Long Beach. Harris says it’s a step toward developing more environmentally-friendly energy.

"The more we invest in this green initiative, the wind energy, the better the technology is going to be. We tried to get into this back in the 70s, trying to get into the wind business, and people just weren’t investing in it," says Harris. "But it seems like this time, the sales, even this year, are increasing, so we’re hoping that it’s going to continue. And our technology is getting better and better all the time."

Many national leaders are urging less dependence on foreign oil. And there’s concern about the environmental impact of using fossil fuels, like oil and coal, for energy.

At the Arbor Station apartment complex, Property Manager Janelle Santinelli says installing this wind turbine to power the outdoor lighting and the trash compactor is only partly to save money on electric bills.

"We were deciding, probably about a couple of years ago, doing some research on 'going green' with the complex. We were tossing about ideas with the normal recycling, but we figured you have an infinite amount of wind off the beach," says Santinelli.

Two other wind turbines are in operation on a farm in Terry, Mississippi, near Jackson. 

Shelley Rhoden, President of Alternate Energy Solutions in Biloxi, has worked on about a dozen projects in the state using solar energy for electricity and hot water. She says incentives would make it more affordable.

"That’s one of the things that the state of Mississippi and the power companies can do to help promote renewable energy in Mississippi, is offer more incentives to have people like Joe the Plumber be able to install it on his home," she says.

Rhoden says charging stations for electric cars at three colleges are a promising development. She’s encouraging several businesses to consider electric cars as a way to cut fuel costs and help Mississippi continue to 'go green.'

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Robert Harris, right, and crew prepare to raise the wind turbine in Long Beach.


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