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Is the answer blowin' in the wind?

August 15, 2012 - Rob Weaver
I received a news release from a public relations firm today concerning a wind-energy project for a farm ... but it’s not a wind farm, not in the usual sense.

The email states Findlay-based One Energy LLC is to begin erecting a wind turbine this month for Cooper Farms near Van Wert. It would be the third one for the Cooper Farms Cooked Meats plant; two 1.5 megawatt turbines installed by One Energy already are in operation.

“Completed in 2011 by One Energy, the first two 1.5 megawatt Goldwind turbines are producing enough power to reduce Cooper Farms’ energy expenses by 50 percent every month (equivalent to powering 1,000 homes),” the release states. “Initially the plan was to consider a third turbine after a couple years of evaluating the first project, but the success was so significant that Cooper Farms elected to raise a third turbine as soon as possible.”

Considering that presidential candidate Mitt Romney favors letting wind-energy tax credits expire at the end of the year, the meat plant owner may be wise to accelerate that timetable. The 400-foot-tall wind tower is to be producing energy by the end of 2012.

So wind power isn't the sole domain of large-scale wind farms.

The release claims One Energy “wants everyone to ‘own their wind’” and has developed a plan for local businesses to offset rising energy costs. I doubt a consortium of private residents could pull off such a purchase -- it would be tough to get 1,000 homeowners, for example, to shell out $1.5 million to $2 million for a wind turbine. But I wonder whether a municipal utility could manage the purchase, or whether a company such as One Energy could put together a lease-to-own package for a community. Even $2 million divided by 1,000 households would cost $2,000 each.

“A full return on investment is seen within five to eight years, and every year after is pure profit,” Jereme Kent, One Energy’s general manager, stated in the release.

Any takers?


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