Johnson City is in the midst of a study to determine if wind power is a feasible local energy source. On Buffalo Mountain, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy will be testing “available” wind for most of the next year. “Buffalo Mountain came to mind after a similar study in Jonesborough that didn’t pan out,” Johnson City Public Works Director Phil Pindzola said. “We just want to see if there is enough wind generation up there to create a revenue stream that would justify placement of wind turbines.” The alliance received permission from the city and East Tennessee State University to attach wind measuring devices to antennas at five different locations on Buffalo Mountain. While the concept sounds like another in a recent bevy of Johnson City “green” initiatives, the program would have several obstacles to face before the Johnson City Commission might decide to implement it. “The biggest hurdle would be if that’s what the community wants to see along the ridgeline,” Pindzola said. “It’s worthy to take a look at from an energy standpoint. “But whether or not you generate enough power to justify the loss of aesthetic beauty — to me, it would have to be overwhelming.” Pindzola said the city will ask the alliance if turbines could be placed lower on the mountainside, though wind speeds would be greatly reduced at that location. However, Pindzola said even if Johnson City doesn’t add wind energy to its already impressive group of green programs, the study will help allow for farther reaching dividends. “If you don’t include yourself, locally, in the discussion about alternate energy sources, you exclude yourself from the national discussion,” Pindzola said. “A study like this gives us the ammunition to look at other alternatives. “Doing nothing is not the answer. Doing something and doing it right is what I think government is supposed to be doing.” Pindzola said the average home uses about 12,000 kilowatts of power annually, while the average wind turbine can produce 1.5 megawatts, or enough to power 125 to 130 homes for one year. Should the commission decide to implement a wind energy program, it would likely be similar in size and scope to the facility located on the like-named Buffalo Mountain near Oak Ridge. Georgia woman dies in Saturday interstate crashA wreck on Interstate 81 in Greene County Saturday claimed the life of a Georgia woman, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Dorothy Roca, 73, Jonesboro, Ga., died after the car in which she was a passenger was hit by a tractor-trailer and went off the road, according to the THP. Roca’s husband, Armando, 69, was driving the vehicle. The THP said he was injured and taken to Johnson City Medical Center. His condition was unavailable Sunday night. The THP said Samuel Alvarenga, the driver of the tractortrailer, was charged with following too closely. More charges are pending.

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