This proposal was first put forward three years ago by a collaboration of the Western New York Sustainable Energy Association, The Industrial Heritage Committee, and Miss Buffalo Boat Cruises.
In 2001, as part of the Pan American Exposition Centennial celebration, the Women's Pavilion and the Western New York Sustainable Energy Association illuminated the grain elevator in the Buffalo harbor using solar power. Niagara Mohawk donated the solar panels, NYSERDA gave a grant, etc. to project images on and illuminate the grain elevator in the Buffalo harbor - The Connecting Terminal. The theme of 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo was "The Future of Electricity". The 1901 Exposition was illuminated with clean hydro power from Niagara Falls - in 2001 we illuminated the grain elevator with another clean renewable energy source - solar power.
Michael Hayhurst, President of Miss Buffalo Cruise Boats, stated "The Grain Elevator Illumination Project will convert what some view as an eyesore into an attraction celebrating the history and heritage of our city. The reconstruction of the commercial canal slip and the lighting of the grain elevators go hand in hand with the efforts to attract tourism to Buffalo."
It has been suggested that the 2001 illumination demonstration project be repeated in the summer of 2011 as a pilot project for the proposed Sound and Light Exhibition which calls for the illumination of all of our grain elevators - the largest collection in the country - with renewable energy - solar, wind, hydro, etc.. The story of Buffalo's industrial heritage, including the Industrial Heritage Committee's film "The Last Scooper" (almost complete) could be projected on the elevator. Also, "Welcome National Trust for Historic Preservation" could be projected. Paul Vargovich, National Solar Technologies, who was involved in the 2001 illumination demonstration project, has submitted a quotation for managing the illumination/projection project. His company has a trailer-mounted solar power source.
The renewable-energy powered Sound and Light Show, the Renewable Energy Demonstration Park Featuring the Solar Powered Herschell Carrousel, a geothermal heating and cooling system to power the cluster of attractions on the waterfront, and the accessibility of the hydro-powered light rail, represent and signal a forward-looking region poised to regain its earlier leadership position in innovations and inventions associated with "the future of electricity." This also ties in with our "Alternating Current - Beyond WNY" regional art exhibition!