Friday, January 8, 2010

U.S. Recovery Act Awards $100 Million in Green Job Training Grants

Washington, DC — The U.S. government is distributing $100 million in green job training grants to 25 projects throughout the country, including $28 million going to communities impacted by auto industry restructuring.

The grants, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, are supporting projects to help unemployed and dislocated workers, veterans, women and minorities find jobs in green industries. The projects will receive from $1.4 million to $5 million each and were based on partnerships that require labor and business groups to work together.

The education funded by these Energy Training Partnership Grants will be based on the needs by the local communities and will train workers for careers as hybrid/electric auto technicians, weatherization specialists, wind and energy auditors, and solar panel installers.

The $5 million grant for the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership in Oregon and Washington, for example, will help employed workers at local renewable energy companies as well as unemployed and dislocated workers.

One of the groups served by the $5 million grant going to the Blue Green Alliance in Minnesota is unemployed steelworkers. And the United Auto Workers-Labor Employment and Training Corporation in Missouri was awarded $3.2 million to train veterans, ex-offenders, women and people with disabilities.

The grants were distributed by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration and are part of a $500 million initiative by the Recovery Act to fund workforce development projects for the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries. Over the coming weeks, the Department of Labor plans to release additional grant funds.

Cap And Trade Faces Major Hurdles

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said Tuesday that it's unclear whether Congress will be able to pass cap and trade legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions this year.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said there's no consensus on what form a cap-and-trade system would take, but strong desire exists in both the Senate and House to pass other energy-related bills that would curb pollution blamed for global warming.

Bingaman said the concern is that if Congress does not move forward on cap-and-trade legislation, emission reductions will be forced by federal regulators. "That will also drive up utility rates," he said. "The question is what will drive up utility rates the least, so that's what we're still trying to determine."

President Barack Obama will have to rely on support from Bingaman and others in the Senate to achieve one of his top domestic priorities, which is setting up a cap-and-trade system that would put a price on each ton of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are released.

Until Congress finds consensus on cap and trade, Bingaman is trying to tackle the problem through other legislative means, including an effort to encourage the production of renewable energy technologies in the U.S. by expanding a $2.3 billion manufacturing tax credit that was initially funded with stimulus money.

The American Clean Technology Manufacturing Leadership Act would provide an additional $2.5 billion in tax credits. Bingaman said that's enough to leverage $8.33 billion in new domestic investment to help meet America's growing demand for alternative energy. "There's no simple, one solution to the problem. There's a whole range of things we need to be doing more," Bingaman said.

The senator's comments came after a tour of Schott Solar's sprawling manufacturing plant on the southern edge of Albuquerque. Bingaman was among the officials who helped recruit Schott to New Mexico. The plant is the first in the U.S. to produce receiver tubes used in utility-scale concentrated solar power plants. Employees were preparing to ship out dozens of tubes off the assembly line during Bingaman's visit.

Schott also produces solar photovoltaic panels. At the beginning of the year, the plant ramped up production to seven days a week.

Despite a downturn in the photovoltaic market last year, Schott Solar CEO and president Gerald Fine said the company is "reasonably optimistic" about the potential over the next few years given that federal and state policies are encouraging a transition to renewable energy.

Fine said a significant market is developing in North America and that European markets are growing. "There's lots of uncertainty. There are going to be lots of challenges coming up, but we feel like we're in the forefront of an important economic change in this country," Fine said.

Huffington Post

Future Farming in Detroit or Spectacular Speculation?

Fortune Magazine's illustrator shows abandoned land in Detroit being converted into "cutting edge, city style farms. Solar panels and windmills power vertical growing systems that are efficient, attractive, and tourist-friendly. Greenhouses allow crops to grow year-round. And new development sprouts on the periphery."

John Hantz's farm won't look quite as high tech as the drawing; they are using vacant land (of which Detroit has a great deal) to "transform this area into a viable, beautiful and sustainable area that will serve the community, increase the tax base, create jobs and greatly improve the quality of life in an area that has experienced a severe decline in population."

Hantz Farms plans to grow natural, local, fresh and safe fruits and vegetables to help meet Michigan's increasing demand for locally grown produce. In addition to food and trees, Hantz Farms will harvest wind energy and utilize geothermal heat and biomass fuel from recycling compost...... [the business plan calls] for the deployment of the latest in farm technology, from compost-heated greenhouses to hydroponic (water only, no soil) and aeroponic (air only) growing systems designed to maximize productivity in cramped settings.

Sounds lovely, if a bit more than necessary to start a farm. But what is the real business plan? David Whitford of Fortune Magazine writes about Hantz's "revelation":

"We need scarcity," he thought to himself as he drove past block after unoccupied block. "We can't create opportunities, but we can create scarcity." And that, he says one afternoon in his living room between puffs on an expensive cigar, "is how I got onto this idea of the farm."

In other words, there is too much land lying around doing nothing, making it worth almost nothing. If you are in the real estate business, you like scarcity, it drives up prices. Right now he can buy formerly residential land (less toxic than industrial) for $3,000 per acre, and is looking for lower tax rates and contributions of free tax delinquent land. That is the same per acre as a farm in the country. Smack in the middle of a city. Whitford notes that some of the biggest skeptics are the people already farming in Detroit.

"I'm concerned about the corporate takeover of the urban agriculture movement in Detroit," says Malik Yakini, a charter school principal and founder of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, which operates D-Town Farm on Detroit's west side. "At this point the key players with him seem to be all white men in a city that's at least 82% black."

But just about everyone else thinks it is a great idea as he scoops up thousands of acres. Hantz denies it is an "underhanded land grab".- "Viability and sustainability to me are all that matters." But in the next paragraph he says: "This is like buying a penthouse in New York in 1940," Hantz says. "No one should be able to afford to do this ever again."

Perhaps I spent too much time with developers and real estate people in my architectural career, but Hartz has said it all in Fortune, from his first comment about sopping up excess land and creating scarcity to his last quote about buying a penthouse in New York. This sure sounds like a classic real estate play to me. But if it takes unused land in a temperate part of the country with lots of water and people who need jobs, and grows local and healthy food, go for it. That's the American way and it works.

EPA Smog Limit: New Strict Proposal To Replace Bush-Era Rule

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of communities far from congested highways and belching smokestacks could soon join big cities and industrial corridors in violation of stricter limits on lung-damaging smog proposed Thursday by the Obama administration.

Costs of compliance could be in the tens of billions of dollars, but the government said the rules would save other billions – as well as lives – in the long run. More than 300 counties – mainly in southern California, the Northeast and Gulf Coast – already violate the current, looser requirements adopted two years ago by the Bush administration and will find it even harder to reduce smog-forming pollution enough to comply with the law.

The new limits being considered by the Environmental Protection Agency could more than double the number of counties in violation and reach places like California's wine country in Napa Valley and rural Trego County, Kan., and its 3,000 residents.

For the first time, counties in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, the Dakotas, Kansas, Minnesota and Iowa might be forced to find ways to clamp down on smog-forming emissions from industry and automobiles, or face government sanctions, most likely the loss of federal highway dollars. The tighter standards, though costly to implement, will ultimately save billions in avoided emergency room visits, premature deaths, and missed work and school days, the EPA said.

"EPA is stepping up to protect Americans from one of the most persistent and widespread pollutants we face," said agency administrator Lisa Jackson. "Using the best science to strengthen these standards is long overdue action that will help millions of Americans breathe easier and live healthier."

The proposal presents a range for the allowable concentration of ground-level ozone, the main ingredient in smog, from 60 parts per billion to 70 parts, as recommended by scientists during the Bush administration. That's equivalent to a single tennis ball in an Olympic-sized swimming pool full of tennis balls.

Huffington Post

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Benton County Wind Farm


What? On January 22 we are taking a bus and traveling to the Benton County, Indiana Wind farm.

Where Are We meeting and What time? We are meeting at the 4-H building at 6:15a.m.

Price? The price is FREEEEEEEE and a meal will also be provided at the firm.

This is a one day one time event; we plan on getting back around 3:00-5:00p.m. This is just a way for WESCO to be able to give back to the community a little bit. By providing this trip all who attend will be able to get a better aspect on what a wind farm looks like, how it works, what are the benefits, and much more. If you would like to attend this one time, limited event please call our office at... 260.694.6240

Thank You, Hope We See You All

A New Hurdle For Cape Wind?

A decision made yesterday by the National Park Service may create a new hurdle for developers of a long-disputed proposal to build the nation’s first offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound.
The park service has ruled that Nantucket Sound is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places — a designation that requires consideration of adverse effects on historic properties when approving projects, according to Jeffrey Olson, a spokesperson for the National Park Service.
The park service made its decision after two Massachusetts Indian tribes argued that the wind turbines would disturb ancestral burial grounds and interfere with spiritual rituals that require clear views across the sound.
Known as Cape Wind, the project would cover about 24 square miles in Nantucket Sound, approximately the size of Manhattan. The new ruling may mean that the project will have to be moved, according to an article in today’s New York Times.

To discuss the tribal concerns, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who also oversees the National Park Service, has proposed a meeting between the tribes and Energy Management Inc., the company running the project, to discuss the issue. He has set March 1st as the deadline for the two groups to come to an agreement.
“America’s vast offshore wind resources offer exciting potential for our clean energy economy and for our nation’s efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Mr. Salazar said in a written statement. “But as we begin to develop these resources, we must ensure that we are doing so in the right way and in the right places.
Meanwhile, a representative for Boston-based Energy Management Inc., the company running the project, said that the complication was a minor one.
“We actually don’t think that eligibility actually affects Cape Wind at all,” said Mark Rodgers, a spokesman for the project.
Mr. Rodgers added that he was confident Mr. Salazar would find that the project’s “public interest benefits far exceed any negative impacts.”
There is no date set yet for the meeting Mr. Salazar is proposing, said Kendra Barkoff, a spokeswoman for the secretary.
“We’ve gotten to the point where the Secretary is saying lets make a decision,” she said. “So he’s trying to bring all the parties together.”
If the two groups cannot come to a compromise, Mr. Salazar has the authority to make an executive decision regarding the project’s future.

Huffington Post

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


These two videos show what is coming into the Wells County area and the improvments that have been installed into both of these renewable sources.

1. Windmills-

2. BioMass-

Test Your Green-Q with 2009 Trivia Quiz

SustainableMinds, a green product design software and information company bringing environmental sustainability to mainstream product design, offers up this year-in-review take on 2009, "taken from our perusals of some of the quirkier green stories we’ve seen this year." Go ahead: Test your green cred.

1. What’s greener, reading the New York Times on a PDA or on paper?

2. What plastic bottles are safe to re-use, by numerical

3. Name the Green Car of the Year.

4. Name the six most prevalent greenhouse gases.

5. What common social ritual produces 63 tons of CO2 and 400-600 pounds of trash?

6. What do all the numbers on plastic bottles represent?

7. How much energy do buildings consume in the U.S., by percentage?

8. What is LCA and why is it an important factor in product design
9. In a conventional washing machine, what percentage of energy is used to heat the water?

10. A prominent story this year featured a racing car made from recycled materials that runs on which biofuel?

11. What team won this year’s Solar Decathlon challenge for energy-efficient, solar-powered homes?

1. According to a 2004 study, cited in an article about noted Berkeley engineering professor Arvad Horpath, reading the NYT wirelessly consumes 140 times less CO2 and 26 to 67 times less water. Which explains why we didn’t print these answers upside down. What would the answer be if "PDA" were changed to "desktop computer?"

2. According to the Yale Sustainability Blog, 2 (high-density polyethylene), 4 (low density polyethylene) and 5 (polypropylene) are re-usable.

3. Trick question! According to Green Car Journal, the green car of 2009 was the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, a clean diesel that achieves estimated highway fuel economy of 41 mpg. The green car of 2010, just announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show, is the Audi A3 TDI, that gets 42 miles per gallon.

4. Water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, CFC-12 (dichlorodifluoromethane) are the six primary sources of greenhouse gases.

5. According to the Green Bride Guide, one wedding generates produces 63 tons of CO2 and 400-600 pounds of trash – and there are 2.5 million weddings every year in this $60+ billion industry.

6. From the coolrain44 blog:

# 1 –> PET … polyethlyene terephthalate

# 2 –> HDPE … high-density polyethylene

# 3 –> PVC … polyvinyl chloride

# 4 –> LDPE … low-density polyethylene?

# 5 –> PP … polypropylene?

# 6 –> PS/PS-E … polystyrene / expanded polystyrene

# 7 –> OTHER … resins or multi-materials

7. Between 39 and 43 percent of all energy is used to heat, cool, ventilate or illuminate buildings in the U.S., depending on whose numbers you follow. Either way, it explains why upgrading the building envelope, insulation and systems of existing buildings is a high priority of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

8. Well this one should be easy for those familiar with Sustainable Minds LCA software: it means life-cycle assessment, and it’s an important aspect in determining the sustainability of a product. It’s an important differentiator of Sustainable Minds software from other ecodesign tools, since it includes "End of Life” issues what materials from the product that can be recycled.

9. According to the Department of Energy, 90% of the energy in a conventional top-load washing machine is used to heat the water. That’s why many environmentally-conscious homeowners simply wash their clothes in cold water.

10. Chocolate – well, actually, waste fat from chocolate factories – was used to power the Formula 3 car, built at the Warwick Innovative Manufacturing Research Center in Warwick, Britain. Demonstrating biofuels -- the waste chocolate comes from Cadbury’s nearby plant, according to the New York Times – the car’s body is constructed from recycled bottles, carbon fiber and soybean oil.

11. The 2009 Solar Decathlon was held Oct. 9-18 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and challenged 20 student teams to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered house. First Place went to Technische Universitat Darmstadt, the team that also won at the last Solar Decathlon, in 2007.

Pilot Program Launched To Speed Green Tech Patent Applications

WASHINGTON, DC — While the inability to come to a binding agreement in Copenhagen was surely a disappointment for many, a global commitment to a transition to a low-carbon economy does by now seem inevitable. Inevitable as well will be international competition to bring to market the technologies that, primarily through private investment, will drive the new economy.

There are already troubling indicators that the United States is falling behind in the race to contribute key technologies to the low-carbon economy. A report issued recently by the Apollo Alliance stated that “China, Japan and South Korea are poised to out‐compete the United States for dominance of clean energy markets.”

In announcing a new program by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which would accelerate the examination of green technology patent applications, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said, “Today, the top 5 Internet technology companies in the world are based right here in the U.S. But of the top 30 alternative energy companies in the world, only 1 in 5 are American.”

The pilot program will accord special status to patent applications in green technologies by expediting their examination, thereby enabling inventors “to secure funding, create businesses, and bring vital green technologies into use much sooner,” according to the USPTO.

"Right now, there are about 25,000 patent applications that would be eligible to be considered under the pilot program,” Locke said. While the pilot program is limited to the examination of 3,000 of the most promising applications, it is likely to be expanded should it prove to be successful.

The patent applications that will be prioritized include those that enhance environmental quality and more efficient utilization and conservation of energy resources, discover or develop renewable energy resources, and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, said Locke.

“In the next few years, some entrepreneur or some innovator in Europe, China or America is going to revolutionize a new light-weight battery for automobiles, a safe and affordable way to capture carbon from coal plants, or a cheap and effective way to store power from the wind and sun,” Locke said. “These discoveries will fundamentally change the way the world uses energy.”

Venture capitalists, as well as investors whose portfolios contain a commitment to sustainability, are likely to welcome the opportunities that could result, if the USPTO’s program leads to a more timely commercialization of green technologies in the U.S.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Golfing Going Even Greener

Reducing your electricity costs while extending the useful life of the cart batteries, and while you enjoy the electricity savings and improved dependability, you will value the peace of mind and satisfaction of peppy golf carts that are continuously charged with the SunCatcher solar charging system.

SunCatcher developed the solar charging system, with leading golf course owners and electric car manufacturers to be ultra reliable, easy to install, and maintenance-free. Designed to fit all major brands of golf and utility cars, SunCatcher Canopy tops will convert your existing or new electric cart to solar power. SunCatcher is powered by state-of-the-art photovoltaic cells that produce electricity directly from sunlight - similar to solar-powered calculators and space satellites. SunCatcher's solar charging system directly powers the golf cart when driven in daylight. When the golf cart is at rest, SunCatcher charges the golf car battery. And SunCatcher's integrated charge controller ensures your batteries will not be overcharged by the sun. SunCatcher Canada is a manufacturer of the SunCatcher brand of solar powered roofs or tops for golf carts. Your electric golf car or golf cart can be outfitted to use our solar charging system. You'll save utility costs and contribute to our world in an environmentally friendly way.

Top Ten Green Building Trends for 2010

Green building is one of the keys to economic recovery. Not only is it a better way to do business, it drives innovation, improves efficiency standards, makes for happier and healthier people and creates new "green collar" jobs.

The trend topics on this list will be no surprise to others who are experts in this area; they are products, systems and concepts that have been quietly percolating. The purpose of this list is to identify those "big picture" trends that we see becoming more mainstream in 2010.

Top Ten Green Building Trends for 2010:

1. Green walls — Green roofs were all the rage in 2009 - and their numbers will continue to grow - but why stop there? Incorporating green walls into a building's design creates additional opportunities to reap the benefits of vegetative surfaces: added insulation; reduced stormwater runoff; absorption of pollutants; natural habitat for birds, bees and butterflies; and reduced outside noise.

2. Living Buildings — More comprehensive than LEED Platinum and beyond net zero, the Living Building Challenge is the highest standard of sustainability in the built environment. Functioning as complete, natural and self-sufficient systems, Living Buildings represent a radical step forward in green building when there is growing consensus that the time for baby steps is past. 2010 will be a big year for Living Buildings; four years after the launch of the Challenge, the first Living Buildings are finally expected to be certified.

3. Green retrofitting — President Obama is planning a new federal economic stimulus plan that will train workers in home energy audits and green retrofits. New and green is sexy, but the bulk of the opportunity to address energy efficiency lies with our existing inventory of buildings.

4. Indoor Air Quality — With one in four Americans suffering from allergies and/or asthma and with Americans spending 90% of their time indoors, tighter and more energy-efficient homes demand more attention to IAQ. The EPA has updated rules coming on line in 2010 with new requirements for remodeling work to reduce the harmful impacts on children and adults.

5. Green neighborhoods — An individual green building is great, but again, why stop there? It's time to make the whole neighborhood green too. Walkability, transit-oriented development, smart growth principles - all elements of a green neighborhood.

6. Green modular — Mostly factory-built and assembled onsite, modular housing poses several benefits - monetary savings, reduced material waste and less time on-site, for starters - that will propel the green building movement forward in 2010.

7. LED lights — Commercially and in homes, LED lights will become more mainsteam in 2010. Previous problems in design and distribution are being corrected. And even though LED lights are still a little pricey, consumers are getting savvier about the life cycle assessment of the products they choose, as well as the long-term pay-off of using a more sustainable lighting alternative.

8. Environmental labels — Like the nutrition labels on food, green building labels offer easy-to-digest data and performance metrics for building materials.
9. Performance counts — We’ve seen the modeling for green buildings, now we want to see some results. In other words, prove it! In 2010, expect to see more and moe studies from academia, non-profits and corporate America that document the rental premiums, cost savings, health benefits and long-term investment value of green.

10. Updating community and homeowner association rules — Rules hindering environmentally-friendly behavior are being overturned: clotheslines are back, white roofs are okay, and compost bins and recycling containers are a point of pride, rather than hidden away.

Alternative Energy and Fuel News

Hawaii Isn't All About Surfing Anymore

It was an energy audit at work that first nudged Susan Chandler to think green.

"The first thing I did was change all my light bulbs" to energy-efficient models, Chandler said during a recent visit to her Honolulu home. "Then I started tracking my energy bill."
She began walking into rooms her husband and son had just left to turn off the lights. A significant cutback in the use of the clothes dryer was another step. Still, Chandler said she wanted to do more. "So I put up the panels."
Six solar panels were installed on the angled roof of her hillside home, which has a breathtaking view of downtown Honolulu, Waikiki Beach and the famous Diamond Head rock formation.
"We've got terrific tax credits in the state, as well as from the federal government, so it's not that expensive," Chandler said. "And I'm into just saving energy." And into saving money.

Hawaii's electricity rates are the highest in the nation. A year ago, Chandler's monthly power bill topped $100. Her most recent bill was $36. That's a big financial plus, but what Chandler said she enjoys the most is the evidence of how she is cutting her carbon footprint.

She makes a daily trip to a shed, where the solar panels are connected to an inverter box. An LED screen provides constant updates on how much power the panels are generating and how much in carbon dioxide emissions has been eliminated using solar instead of fossil fuels. Inside, there is another monitor on the wall in her home office, and she also can check a Web site to track both her production and her environmental impact. "It shows you graphically," Chandler said. "They have these cute little things about how I've saved as much as if I was planting four trees, or not driving 415 miles. So you get to see each day what your energy production is." She said, "Why everybody doesn't do this, I don't quite understand."

Chandler said more friends and neighbors are taking the initiative and finding ways to cut back consumption and find alternative energy resources. But she also said state, federal and international governments should do more than provide tax incentives for purchasing things such as hybrid cars or solar panels.

"I can't say that I can explain cap and trade particularly, " Chandler said. "But I'm certainly aware of the president going to Copenhagen, and I believe we have influenced climate change and that we definitely have to change our behaviors and our usage of energy so that we can reverse some of the damage that's done and not continue it. And, yeah, it's got to be a global effort."

Hawaii already is in the early stages of what it hopes will be an energy revolution. At the moment, imported oil accounts for 90 percent of the remote state's energy needs, a major reason its electricity costs are so high. The state's ambitious goal is to generate 70 percent of its power from clean energy sources by 2030, and it is looking everywhere.

Solar is one component. State law now requires all new homes being built in 2010, at a minimum, include a solar system for heating hot water. Biofuels is another, including fuel derivatives from sugar cane.

Water is yet another abundant resource that Hawaii sees as part of its energy future. "Our source is renewable -- infinitely renewable," said Tom Wilkolak, chief operating officer of Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning.

The company is in the early stages of a $200 million construction project that includes building pipes that extend nearly four miles off the Honolulu shoreline to extract ocean water, bring it to shore and then run it through miles of pipe onshore to cool roughly 40 of the downtown's largest buildings.

Wilkolak said it will be equal to or less than the cost of electricity now, with a major environmental plus -- offsetting about 178,000 barrels of oil a year.

Wind is another ample resource, though it took a spike in oil prices to the $150 a barrel range a few years ago to diminish the opposition to the 20-turbine wind farm that now sits on hillside conservation land overlooking Maui. "That was very helpful to everyone's understanding of how important clean energy is," said Noe Kalipi, director of government and community relations for First Wind.

Some locals still don't like the nearly 200-foot high turbines, but to others they are nicknamed the "angels on the mountain."

The 20 turbines up and running have sensors that tell them to turn automatically to capture the wind in the most efficient manner. They run only part of the time because of technical issues related to Maui's electricity grid. Still, they provide power to 11,000 homes on Maui, roughly 9 percent of its power needs.

There are plans in the works to double nearly the number of turbines at the Maui location, and other wind farms are in the planning stages across the state. "It is a very important piece of the future," Kalipi said. "Valid sustainability, valid tangible proof that we can harness robust renewable resources to be able to generate electricity for our use."

A new energy source, but this wind farm and those like it make only a modest contribution to what many -- including President Obama -- have predicted will be a "green jobs revolution."

About 200 workers were hired during the construction phase, but there are only seven full-time employees at the wind farm today, and three of those jobs are to make sure First Wind keeps its commitment to protect endangered species and upgrade and conserve lands on which the wind farm sits.

To see them up close is a fascinating glimpse at one piece of Hawaii's energy future -- and the nation's energy debate.

Each turbine has a computer station in its base that tracks its energy output and its maintenance needs. To get to the top requires climbing nearly 200 feet up a ladder in a cramped tubelike passageway. Near the top sits the massive turbine that generates electricity as the wind turns the giant blades. And just a few more steps up from that is a hatch to the top, where, in this case, a visitor gets a bird's eye view of the neat line of turbines on a hillside and a spectacular panoramic view of Maui's breathtaking landscape.