Mayor cools to urban wind power plan

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - A day after touting the great potential of wind powering New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg acknowledged that his proposal placing wind turbines atop bridges and skyscrapers would be a bit impractical.

"I have absolutely no idea whether that makes any sense from a scientific, from a practical point of view," Bloomberg said.

His comments pulled the wind out of the sails of a speech he gave at the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas. As a response to the city and nation’s power crisis, Bloomberg proposed "wind farms atop our bridges and skyscrapers" and miles out in the Atlantic Ocean.

"Are you going to put a big windmill on top of the Empire State Building? I think that’s very unlikely," Bloomberg said. "Can you put windmills off the coastline? That is highly likely."

Wind farms exist on land in New York, mainly upstate. But erecting wind towers in the densely populated city would be met with great opposition. Offshore wind farms would be more practical, experts and city officials say.

"I can seriously imagine offshore (wind farms), but in terms of actually urban turbines in Manhattan, we are a ways off from that," said Valerie Strauss, spokeswoman for Alliance for Clean Energy New York.

Strauss applauded Bloomberg for exploring the option. She said smaller turbines are being developed but the technology is in its early stages.

The Long Island Power Authority was forced by high costs to shelve a plan last summer that would’ve placed 40 turbines off the South Shore between Jones Beach and Robert Moses State Park. The turbines would’ve generated power for 44,000 homes, LIPA officials said.

"Windmills are no panacea for our problems. They can help, just like biofuels can help, just like tides can help," Bloomberg said. "In the end it is conservation that is the main thing you and I can do and that we can do in this city."


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