A small island in the Florida Keys, No Name Key has been the center of attention in recent months. For the last twenty years, the debate has continued about bringing commercial electricity to the island. Currently, no power lines or water lines run from the mainland to No Name Key.
This little island is about 30 miles from Key West. 820 of its 998 acres are a federally protected Key Deer Refuge. The earliest record of people living on the island, date back to the 1870’s. No Name Key was a landing site for the ferry in the early 1900’s. Traveling by ferry was the only way to get from the Upper Keys to Key West before the bridges were built.
The ferry station did have a hotel and even a utility pole, but that was for telephone lines for the station. In 1967 the old wooden bridge was replaced by a concrete bridge and people began to move onto No Name Key again. The residents have long been divided on bringing electricity to their community.
While all the homes are off the grid, not everyone can agree that the 42 homes on the island can be considered “green.” Using lead acid batteries and generators as a back up to solar power, some residents argue that commercial electricity is actually a cleaner solution. They also maintain they have no intention of doing away with solar power being the primary source of energy.
If electricity is brought to the island, it will likely increase property values. Those who do not wish to hook into the grid don’t have to. And that is where the heart of the debate lies; most residents feel they should have the choice. Everyone on No Name Key agrees they want what is best for their community and the ecosystem around them.