Some municipalities in Italy are turning to an old idea—wind mills—to generate electricity. While that idea isn’t especially novel—wind mills have been around for centuries—using modern wind turbines to generate electricity for a town and selling the excess to defray local taxes, as reported by The New York Times in “Ancient Town Has Wind at its Back,” on Sept. 28 seems like an appealing idea on many fronts. “More than 800 Italian communities now make more energy than they use because of the recent addition of renewable energy plants,” according to the article.
The article spotlights an ancient town in Italy, Tocco da Casauria. Ancient towns in Italy hold a special place in my heart. While the picture of the ancient hill town with the modern wind turbines in the background is a bit incongruous, the fact that the turbines generate electricity and more—revenue for the town, helps. Before anyone writes to me about the landscape being sacrificed for the power and revenue, think for a moment: How attractive is a coal or nuclear power plant? A dam?
Harnessing wind or solar power for electricity, and more, is an intriguing idea, but one that may not have gotten so much play when times were more, shall we say, flush. However, with many local governments in the U.S. gasping for revenue, and with wind or solar energy equipment suppliers presumably ready to make deals with municipalities—and with rates for financing—possibly through municipal bonds—so low, it may well be that solar or wind generation could do double duty by helping shore up some towns’ local taxes.