Going Green With Wind Power
More companies and organizations are finding that wind power makes sense for their energy needs, from both an environmental and a financial perspective.
Richard J. Maturi (Apr/May 09)
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Michelman, a principal with Boreal Renewable Energy Development in
Arlington, Massachusetts, says there are a number of benefits to
on-site power generation through wind power and other energy sources.
"The energy you produce has a retail value that can be used to offset
and stabilize your energy costs. It helps you save and hedge against
future energy prices and you can sell your excess capacity," he says.
Depending on the dependability of the wind resource, current electric
rates, load size, and turbine size, Michelman estimates that
installing a wind turbine can cut a company's energy costs by 10 to 40
Varian Semiconductor in Gloucester, Massachusetts,
has been working with Boreal Renewable to analyze wind power as a way
to cut its energy costs. "We operate 24/7 and are a high energy user.
We look at wind power as a way to operate more efficiently," says
Richard Johnson, Varian's director of facilities. "Our due diligence
includes performing feasibility studies and flying to Germany to
inspect wind turbines. The new incentives for wind power in the
[federal economic] stimulus package cuts our return on investment by
two years. As a result, consideration of installing a wind turbine is
back on the table. Our tax attorneys are running the final numbers
In Hancock, Massachusetts, consulting firm EOS Ventures
got its start in the wind power business by facilitating the only
privately owned megawatt class turbine in the country for onsite energy
usage at its Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort. "Our family has been in the
ski business for decades and has a great sensitivity to the
environment. We look for ways to conserve energy and cut our operating
costs," says Tyler Fairbank, CEO of EOS Ventures. "We purchased 10
million kilowatt hours off the grid per year, constituting 10 percent
of our overall expenses. It makes good business sense to find better
ways to generate power. Forty percent of the wind power we generate is
used on the property and we sell back 60 percent to the grid."
Ventures worked with Fox Islands Wind LLC to provide sustainable energy
for the 1,600 full-time residents and a summer population of 3,500 for
two islands in Maine's Penobscot Bay. "We anticipate commissioning the
wind power project in October with three GE 1.5-megawatt wind
turbines," says George Baker, CEO of Fox Islands Wind, which is owned
by the electric co-op's rate payers. "The project is sized to provide
all of the power the islands will use over the course of a year and
reduce overall electric rates by 10 to 20 percent. Our goal is to
become economically self-sufficient. All of the benefits of the project
flow back to our community."