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Cost may delay turbine use

Then I saw the $20,000 price tag. Suddenly, I wasn't thinking about renewable wind power so much. But in the end, it won't be the cost that keeps my family from generating its own kilowatts annually. It'll be the wind, or more correctly, the lack thereof. Terry Kelly, the member-services manager at Salem Electric, said that despite the growth of wind power in Oregon during the past 15 years, there just aren't that many sites in Salem that are appropriate for wind turbines. It seems, he said, that there just isn't the wind speed necessary to drive those big, bad blades.

I thought there was a wind turbine in my future.

For as long as my husband and I have been a couple, we've always looked for ways to reduce our family's environmental footprint.

Recently, after seeing a wind turbine go up at West Salem High School, I thought we might be able to sidestep pricey solar panels and go green with renewable wind power.

What a rush. Pun intended.

I mean, how much could a pole with a few paddles cost?

I dreamed about the Netherlands and polders and that slap, slap, slap of sails and blades.

I even entertained the hand-rubbing notion of selling gobs of unused energy back to a greedy grid.

Then I saw the $20,000 price tag.

Suddenly, I wasn't thinking about renewable wind power so much.

But in the end, it won't be the cost that keeps my family from generating its own kilowatts annually.

It'll be the wind, or more correctly, the lack thereof.

Terry Kelly, the member-services manager at Salem Electric, said that despite the growth of wind power in Oregon during the past 15 years, there just aren't that many sites in Salem that are appropriate for wind turbines.

It seems, he said, that there just isn't the wind speed necessary to... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

I thought there was a wind turbine in my future.

For as long as my husband and I have been a couple, we've always looked for ways to reduce our family's environmental footprint.

Recently, after seeing a wind turbine go up at West Salem High School, I thought we might be able to sidestep pricey solar panels and go green with renewable wind power.

What a rush. Pun intended.

I mean, how much could a pole with a few paddles cost?

I dreamed about the Netherlands and polders and that slap, slap, slap of sails and blades.

I even entertained the hand-rubbing notion of selling gobs of unused energy back to a greedy grid.

Then I saw the $20,000 price tag.

Suddenly, I wasn't thinking about renewable wind power so much.

But in the end, it won't be the cost that keeps my family from generating its own kilowatts annually.

It'll be the wind, or more correctly, the lack thereof.

Terry Kelly, the member-services manager at Salem Electric, said that despite the growth of wind power in Oregon during the past 15 years, there just aren't that many sites in Salem that are appropriate for wind turbines.

It seems, he said, that there just isn't the wind speed necessary to drive those big, bad blades.

West Salem High, with its lack of a natural wind break (trees) can be a wind tunnel at times (say during football, baseball, softball and soccer games), so it probably is as good a site as any for the engineering class/utility experiment, Kelly said.

He added that the $20,000 construction cost probably was more a function of this instance being a first-time installation.

He said, for instance, that the West High turbine's original footing had to be rethought and reworked after Salem city officials questioned its durability.

He expects that as turbines become more mainstream, they'll become more affordable, especially as the price of power continues to rise.

"Technology has a way of looking more affordable in comparison," Kelly said.

Still, I can't imagine turbines on sale for $300 at the local hardware store with instructions for easy installation.

With a deal like that, even the Dutch might start building them again. I know it'd make me put one up even if I didn't have anything except hot air to turn it.

In the end, I guess Salem residents will have to look to sun power rather than wind if they want a renewable source of energy.

The Oregon Department of Energy Web site notes that the state gets 44 percent of its electricity from hydroelectric dams and 42 percent from coal-fired plants. Natural gas and nuclear make up about 10 percent combined, biomass takes 3 percent and wind and geothermal power trail at a lowly 1 percent.

Here in Salem, Kelly said, the average home uses about 1,000 kilowatt hours per month.

Imagine how much energy we could save as a community if many of us produced our own? Consider how much of the pollution created during coal firing could be eliminated?

Solar panels once were as expensive as turbines. They've come down a bit in price, but unless you're smuggling them in from Canada, they're still not cheap.

Who owns the sun? We need to talk.

 


Source: http://159.54.226.83/apps/p...

JAN 9 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/12697-cost-may-delay-turbine-use
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