For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Alice La Pierre, Energy Office, (510) 981-5435

WIND ENERGY COMES TO BERKELEY
Using the San Francisco Bay’s natural resource to generate power

Berkeley, California (Wednesday, June 20, 2007) - With annual daily wind speeds averaging close to ten miles per hour, the Berkeley shoreline is a natural site for generating energy from the wind – and that’s just what Berkeley intends to do, and in the most environmentally safe way possible. 

The City of Berkeley will become the first city in the U.S. to rely on wind power for one of its buildings. 

There will be a ground breaking ceremony on Tuesday, June 26, at 1:30 p.m. at the Shorebird Park Nature Center, located at 160 University Avenue in Berkeley. Speakers will include Mayor Tom Bates, and representatives from Southwest Windpower, Golden Gate Audubon Society, Pacific Gas and Electric, and Fat Spaniel, the energy monitoring company donating their services to this project.

The City-owned Shorebird Nature Center will use a small, 1.8-kilowatt wind turbine to produce energy for the saltwater aquariums, computers and lighting. The turbine, donated by Southwest Windpower in Flaggstaff, Arizona, will supplement the building’s existing solar electric system and solar hot water system, which provides heat. 

This wind turbine, named the Skystream 3.7, is specifically designed to produce energy at low wind speeds.  The tower is environmentally friendly, having no guy wires or lattice structures to act as perches for birds.  The tower and turbine combined are only 40 feet tall, about the height of a streetlight pole, and the swept-back polycarbonate blades are quieter than other turbines of its size. The Golden Gate chapter of the Audubon Society has written a letter in support of this project. 

Wind energy has the potential to produce power during rainy days and at night, something that even the best solar electric systems can’t do.  By combining two renewable energy systems, the Shorebird Nature Center will come very close to being completely energy self-sufficient and will be the first City building to reach the Measure G goals of an 80 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Measure G was passed by more than 80 percent of Berkeley voters to reduce City-wide greenhouse gas emissions, including emissions from residential, commercial and city buildings. For more information about Measure G, visit the
City of Berkeley’s website at http://www.cityofberkeley.info/sustainable/ or http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/mayor/GHG/index.htm or call Berkeley's Measure G Coordinator, Timothy Burroughs, at 981-5437.

For more information about this project and other renewable energy projects in Berkeley, contact Alice La Pierre, at 981-5435 or email Energy@ci.berkeley.ca.us.

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