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GE shifts energy efforts into ‘Park’


Fairfield-based General Elelectric chose a balmy first day of winter – 71 degrees in Manhattan – to roll out its Skypump.

The Skypump combines a vertical wind turbine developed by Manhattan-based Urban Green Energy and the so-called WattStation from GE that uses a 4-kilowatt wind turbine to supply electric car charging stations with renewable electricity “anyplace the wind blows.”

The record-setting heat of the day in a Brooklyn area ravaged by Hurricane Sandy served as reminders of the climate change the unit is designed to fight, according to GE.

There are two Skypumps at the Brooklyn Whole Foods Market. UGE has also installed 19 streetlights using solar and wind power in the parking lot. Additionally, several carports are covered with solar panels. Ryan Gilchrist, assistant vice president of business development at UGE, said that his company was “seeing an increasing number of customers come to us looking for energy reliability solutions.”

Whole Foods — with five stores in Fairfield County — said its Brooklyn store was “about 60 percent more energy efficient than any other grocery store in the U.S. We’re going to be saving about 2.5 million kilowatt-hours a year, which is equivalent to taking about 360 cars off the road annually.”

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  1. The store expects more than a thousand car trips per day. Even if the new “renewable” energy source is equivalent to removing 360 cars from the streets, the desire to buy food from the store will indeed be generating far more car trips on our streets that are currently occurring since most people walk to local shops near where they live.

    The planning, specifically the location, of this store is not environmentally friendly because it brings a form of suburban consumption, based on auto travel, to an urban community that is not based around cars. The benefits of organic foods are not worth such a huge step backwards for the environment that this store has imposed on Brooklyn.

    You just don’t get to removing those imagined 360 cars from the streets by generating greater need to use a car.

  2. The store seems to be located close to a subway station and roads with bus connectivity, so the convenience of public transportation cannot be undermined for those coming from “farther” away, most of whom would have used car as transport to get their groceries anyway.


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