aim at 'green'
movement's poster child
County Councilmen questioned whether installing solar-energy
panels on the roofs of the Government Center and Hockessin
Library is really a good thing. After Barry Nahe, chief of
building operations for the Department of Special Services, told
a Council committee on Sept. 7 that doing so "will make it look
like the county is doing something," several members pressed for
a cost-benefit appraisal. "Are we installing [them] just because
they're warm, fuzzy, popular and green?" Council president Paul
Clark asked. The project will cost about $700,000 in federal
stimulus money and Nahe acknowledged that it will take more than
10 years before energy savings will recoup the investment.
It was uncertain
what, if any, effect the discussion would have since solar
panels are just one element of an extensive already-approved
energy program Ameresco is implementing for county government.
And John Cartier said that benefits from 'going green' extend
well beyond cost savings to include such things as reducing
respiratory ills that stem from burning coal to generate
electricity. William Tansey, however, compared that to plans to
reopen the Delaware City oil refinery to restore jobs. Jea
Street called for reviewing the entire program "before they
spend another dollar." When Nahe said the panels to be used are
made in Mexico, William Powers said that amounts to U.S.
taxpayers "stimulating Mexico" and a disgusted George Smiley
walked out of the meeting.