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How Do You Harness Alternative Energy
How Do You Harness Alternative Energy

AIR DATE: August 18, 2010

Big solar and wind farms are laying claim to Nevada, but what about the homeowners and small businesses? How can they harvest energy? And how easy (or hard) is that process? Kermitt Waters tried to build a wind turbine in his backyard, but his neighborhood council shut him down. Hotels like the Golden Gate are using geothermal cooling, and the school district is inserting solar panels. Are they running into red tape? What government incentives are there? Would you put solar panels on your home? And what other options do we have to harness energy here in Las Vegas?

Kermitt Waters
Tom Price, Dir, Black Rock Solar
Chris Brooks, Dir, Bombard Renewable Energy
Paul Gerner, Assoc Superintendent for Facilities, CCSD
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    I find it interesting that Mr. Waters has time to give an interview to this radio station, but he was unable to be at the last two council meetings where the fate of his wind turbine was decided. He also said that none of his neighbors spoke to him about this, but how can they? He doesn't truly live at this property and he didn't show up to the council meetings. He wants to paint himself as a victim and paint his neighbors as a bunch of ignorant bullies which is unfair. None of the neighbors are against green energy, but this is not this right time or place for this. If Mr. Waters is an environmentalist, why do newspapers sit and rot on his front porch and why is this property in obvious disrepair? What will he do if this wind turbine has problems? The City of Henderson denied this wind turbine for several reasons and rightfully so. KNPR, I am disappointed in you for only taking the time to present Mr. Waters side of this issue.
    AnonymousJul 30, 2010 21:16:08 PM
    Machines of this type, no matter the hype, do not belong in high-density residential rural areas, that's a different story. The proponents of this idea probably generated a million KW talking about this "backyard turbine for the masses" idea - perhaps they could develop a hand held device? I say crank up the output of existing coal, nuclear, natural gas and other thermal power plants!! Those technologies have developed over-time and are providing safe,cheap,reliable, and clean energy. Keep the politicians and tree huggers out of the business of telling us what we need......the inventors will eventually develop a product that has real merit for installation in a high-density residential environment.
    Glenn ChavesJul 30, 2010 20:05:24 PM
    Kermit had an alternative presented to him and did not go for it because he would not profit from it. Why don't you move to Texas full time and leave our great city Mr. Waters. You are a typical attorney, always looking for a fight.
    Vegas AngJul 30, 2010 19:13:18 PM
    I salute the Henderson Planning Commission for sticking to their decision and keeping this type of installation out of Mr. Waters' neighborhood. My company,, sells and installs wind turbines and I contacted Mr. Waters months ago requesting that he back down from this effort. Installing a wind turbine of this size and at his requested height in his neighborhood simply does not make sense. Creating this confrontation has resulted in still more negative feelings against the small wind industry in southern Nevada. We offered to purchase the turbine from Mr. Waters so he could recoup his capital investment. We offered to install the turbine on a property better suited for this size unit and setting up a Power Purchase Agreement so he would receive the benefits of the power being generated. We offered to sell him a turbine that the Planning Commission would approve on his property. He was not interested. This is the reason municipalities have Planning Commissions and in this case, the system worked to the benefit of the community. I believe the Commission members are supportive of small wind turbines in the right place at the right scale with the right design.
    Steve FrazerJul 30, 2010 18:16:22 PM
    The City of Henderson came up with a solution so that Kermit Waters could have his wind-turbine and at the height it should be which is 30 feet above the tallest obstacle with in a 500 foot radius. Making it more efficient and out of the dangerous turbulent winds. He did not like the idea because he wants to sell them and he can't make a spectacle of a rural BLM lands, like he could of our neighborhood. His wind expert is also his business partner. The home he is proposing as the site for this turbine has been vacant for 19 years. His solar screens blew off his house in the high winds we had in May and they still aren't fixed. A wind-turbine of this size, that is so intrusive, does not belong in small residential neighborhoods.
    Cami PutnamJul 30, 2010 14:50:43 PM
    Bloom energy servers are (according to their web site): "Fuel cells are devices that convert fuel into electricity through a clean electro-chemical process rather than dirty combustion." This means that if you have one you have to burn fuel. You may not be paying NV energy, but you will have to pay someone for your fuel. I wish there was more information about what Mr. Waters wanted to install in his yard. I have seen a vertical wind generator and it moved slow enough that I would think birds could avoid running into it. I can understand people worrying about noise, but its not exactly like Henderson is a quiet place. There is road noise and the neighbor's kid with the drum set and someone playing music in the yard etc. and EVERYBODY's AC running 24/7. I wonder if a wind turbine makes more noise than an AC unit? Did anyone bother to find that out before they opposed Mr. Waters' wind turbine.
    Pamela BurnleyJul 30, 2010 14:24:17 PM
    I was appauled by this interview! It is common sense that this wind turbine does NOT belong in a neighborhood. Mr. Waters wants a wind turbine to start a business. And YES, his neighbors HAVE seen the turbine and it IS hideous for a neighborhood. Put it in a wind farm - not a Henderson neighborhood! THANK YOU HENDERSON CITY COUNCIL!
    Lindsay GriffethJul 30, 2010 14:20:15 PM
    Honeywell has a newer generator--

    That will not "look like a farm" and the cost is reasonable...

    This turbine doesn't make noise!!

    Melody [via email]Jul 30, 2010 14:05:47 PM
    I live in this neighborhood and I am STRONGLY OPPOSED TO A WINDMILL IN THIS AREA. Solar panels are not noisy nor do they harm birds.
    Patricia RobertsonJul 30, 2010 13:27:29 PM
    I believe in order to get more individuals involved in renewable energy, we have to talk simply and truthfully, and the discussion needs to be about more than just money. We can't keep relying on NV Energy as our environment cannot withstand our use, and our natural resources are limited. But we must be honest about the yield of Solar systems, our ability to store the energy in an environmentally conscience way, who benefits financially, from giving unused, unstorable energy back to the grid. Safe, recyclable storage for solar and wind energy on a consumer level is critical to our environmental future and I believe should get the most resources for R&D as part of our long term energy plan.
    KathyJul 30, 2010 10:41:50 AM
    As a homeowner in the neighborhood where Mr. Waters wants to build a wind turbine I think we need to talk about the differences between solar and wind installations. I don't know of anyone in our neighborhood who would object to a rooftop solar panel on his house. I don't know of anyone in favor of a wind turbine that is taller than his two-story home. His own consultant told us that ideally it should be 100' high in order to better capture the wind energy. The visual impact on a neighborhood is not an minor consideration.
    Brad BurchJul 30, 2010 09:33:56 AM
    I'm a happy participant of the Solar Generations program, Mr Brooks and Bombard helped get my Solar system up and running a few years ago.

    For the Spring and Fall our 5 Kw system is enough to send more electricity to the grid, however in the winter and summer, I'm pulling more off the grid.

    I'd like to know if I can add a wind system like Mr Waters is talking about to supplement the Solar?


    Dan [Via email]Jul 30, 2010 09:30:22 AM
    Why is no one speaking of the new bloom energy developed out of California? It's an alternative energy source that even Google, Walmart and other huge companies are using. It's cheaper than geo thermal, solar and wind.

    "Bloomboxes" are only going to be about $3000 each and they will be able to power your house off grid...never having to worry about paying nv energy again.

    Jim [via email]Jul 30, 2010 09:21:05 AM
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