Candidates ignore vital issue
Published: Monday, March 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 29, 2004 at 10:12 p.m.
"Disconnect" is a word that is probably overly used but one that immediately comes to mind during this mayoral campaign. The odd juxtaposition of the candidates' positions on infill, neighborhoods and affirmative action - all important issues - with the developments downtown over proposed electric power generation strikes me as odd. Why?
The three candidates, as far as I can tell, are not willing to discuss renewable energy and/or coal and by inference their position(s) on this city's and county's energy future. Why? Do they not know that GRU is proposing a 30-megawatt waste-wood-fired power plant as well as a 220-megawatt coal-fired unit?
Do they not know that the latter will cost us tens of millions but is the GRU staff's preference? Do they not know that a waste-wood survey was done for GRU showing that there is enough logging residue alone from our region (25-mile radius) for more than 30 megawatts?
And finally do they not care that a member of the National Coal Council and Gainesville resident, Alex Green, has explained clearly to GRU staff how gasified wood available locally can compete with natural gas and can even compliment that vital component of our electrical generation in a "close-coupled" system?
Despite what Mike Kurtz told the County Commission, such green technology is not as costly as a coal unit. This group of candidates is either overwhelmed with formatted sound bites at our candidate forums, or they are just plain overwhelmed by the logic of green power. Worse than that, they seem to be ignoring a vital campaign issue.
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