PALMER, Alaska -- Two spinning turbines dot the sky above Palmer, putting the quaint colony-era town on the forefront of a grass-roots make-your-own energy movement sweeping Alaska.
One of the wind-power turbines -- like a streamlined pinwheel or a futuristic windmill -- stands above a local chiropractor's office. The other is a green addition to an elementary school playground.
The turbines are part of a move toward renewable energy in Alaska. Wind turbines dot rural Alaska. Solar arrays power a building in Nome. Tourists soak at Chena Hot Springs Resort, a getaway powered by geothermal energy. And increasingly, homeowners are using energy derived from the sun and wind to heat their homes, keep the refrigerator running and charge their iPhones.
Some involved in this movement are driven by a desire to reduce their impact on the environment. For others, the decision is financial. Using alternative energy means less reliance on diesel fuel to power generators.
State and local officials have been busy writing new rules for how all this can work, especially the backyard wind turbines.
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