Ohio, United States — It was not the type of petition he is used to signing. With a permanent marker, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman scrawled his name on a 131-foot wind turbine blade Friday morning as it sat outside Nationwide Arena.
Hundreds of Ohioans, led by Coleman, signed the seven-ton traveling petition for the increased wind energy and jobs the wind turbines will create. The General Electric blade stopped for two days in Columbus as part of its Capture the Wind tour. It is now on its way to Dallas for the Windpower 2010 Conference and Exhibition.
The Capture the Wind tour will take the blade more than 2,400 miles through nine states.
Signatures will be collected along the way, and the purpose is to create awareness of the need for renewable energy policy change at the federal level.
“I’m helping to build America’s energy future” is the tour’s message, printed in large letters on the blade.
“It’s a behemoth to move around,” said Milissa Rocker, communications manager for General Electric. She said the benefits of taking the blade on such a tour outweigh the cost. General Electric purchased carbon offsets to cover the trip.
Columbus was chosen as a stop for a number of reasons, Rocker said. They include: the renewable energy policy at the state level, General Electric’s desire to be a part of Columbus’ Clean Air Fair and Columbus’ attention to science. The blade made a stop outside COSI on Thursday.
Ohio has one of the strongest renewable portfolio standards in the nation, Rocker said. Renewable portfolio standards are state requirements for electricity providers to obtain a percentage of their power from renewable energy sources, according to the U.S. Department of Energy website. As a result, General Electric has planned current and future projects in Ohio. The wind turbines in Bowling Green, Ohio, are an example of an existing project, Rocker said. She said General Electric is also in talks about placing off-shore turbines on Lake Erie near Cleveland.
However, Lake Ontario is focused on off-shore Lake Erie turbines, as well. Rocker said she thinks it will be a matter of “who gets in the water first” because energy can be sold from a power grid across national boundaries. Lake Erie is a great place to start because of its shallow water compared to the other Great Lakes, she said.
Danny Peterson is a writer for The Lantern, a publication of Ohio State University.
This article was originally published by Ohio State University’s The Lantern and was reprinted with permission.