Thursday, July 26, 2007

Saco eyes 2nd wind turbine

Journal Tribune
By CASS SANFORD


SACO — Plans are in the works for an energy-generating wind turbine to power Saco’s future Transportation Center near the existing train station.

Charles Newcomb of Entegrity Wind Systems recently gave a presentation to the City Council on the company’s 100-foot EW15 wind turbine, which Saco is considering purchasing.

The City Council is satisfied with the residential-sized wind turbine that was installed in January near the Wastewater Management Building and is ready to take the next step in the city’s new alternative-energy initiative.

“We’ll be making a tremendous statement,” said Mayor Mark Johnston on the prospect of installing a new wind turbine. Saco would be the first community in Maine to buy a mid-sized wind turbine.

After searching for three months for a suitable company to provide the turbine, the city picked Entegrity Wind Systems Inc. EWSI is a leading manufacturer of intermediate wind turbines, and is based in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

“Our research tells us this is the right company,” said Johnston.

EWSI only markets a single product: The 100-foot tower equipped with a 50-foot rotor that can generate 50-kilowatt electrical power at a wind speed of 27 mph.

The company offers two models of the EW15 with differing costs: $130,000 for a lattice base or $145,000 for a monopole. Installation is not included in these prices, but would reportedly cost approximately $40,000.

All of EWSI’s installations include a five-year warrantee, 5 years of maintenance as well as a guaranteed 100,000 kilowatts of energy produced each year. Each one of their turbines is closely monitored and streams information via wireless devices to the company. Newcomb says he can simply go to a console and check on how many kilowatts a turbine in Texas or Canada is producing.

The wind turbine, which has an estimated 30-year life span, is said to have a 10-year payback, which means that 10 years after it first starts spinning, it will have saved enough energy to offset the purchase cost.

“In our 11th year it becomes profit,” said Councilor Eric Cote, anticipating the energy- and money-saving possibilities of the turbine.

With the current municipal price of electricity at approximately 14 cents, Cote estimated that the turbine should generate at least $14,000 worth of electricity in the first year.

The wind turbine would accompany a geothermal heating and cooling system for the new Chamber of Commerce building. It is expected to be an entirely “green” building, advocating energy efficiency and supporting local companies.

“We are attempting to make sure all of the materials inside the building are from Maine-based companies,” Said Johnston, “What’s exciting about this is that it creates so many Maine jobs.”

The energy created by the turbine will not only support the transportation center, but also offset municipal energy usage within a half-mile radius.

The City Council has scheduled a workshop for Aug. 20 to discuss the EW15.

Johnston hopes to begin installation of the turbine by Oct. 1, and complete the project by April.

“What have we got to lose?” asked Eric Cote, “It’s a pretty attractive proposal. All you’ve got to do is stick a wind turbine up in the air and get free fuel, with no pollution!”

64 comments:

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I live right next to this thing and I think it's awesome!

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