Big plans in Chicago for solar energy got us thinking about Louisville. TreeHugger reported today that Chicago’s South Side is installing the largest urban solar power plant in the United States.
Where once there was an abandoned industrial site, soon there shall be the biggest urban solar power plant in the USA. It shakes down like this: $60 million + 33,000 solar panels + 39 acres in the South Side of Chicago + Obama’s stimulus = one solid, 10 megawatt producin’ solar power plant. And it should be up and running by the end of this year.
That’s enough solar energy to power 1,500 homes and is equivalent to removing 2,500 cars from the streets or planting over 3,200 acres of forest. All while cleaning up and reusing an abandoned industrial brownfield site.
But what if Louisville started down this road of thinking big sustainably. We could create our own sort of eco-city-within-a-city. And we could do it in some of the most centrally located and affordable neighborhoods in the city. There are plenty of brownfield sites in Louisville sitting neglected that could house some sort of solar plant. The new green end should incorporate more than just solar energy though (either centrally produced at a plant or locally produced on a house’s roof). Emphasis on energy efficiency, transit, walkability could create a veritable “Green End.”
Imagine a neighborhood brought back to life by a focus on sustainability. There’s some amazing architecture and real estate waiting for redevelopment in our existing neighborhoods that are walkable and close to Downtown. There’s already efforts going on to create sustainable neighborhoods, most notably the East Market/NuLu District with several LEED Certified buildings is looking to acquire LEED Neighborhood Certification. In the end, all of Louisville should become more sustainable, but targeting efforts to create a cohesive whole as an example neighborhood and magnet to green, new economy jobs could provide a guiding light for the city and nation.