Northwest Renewable News

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Newburg Homeowners Harnessing the Wind November 20, 2009

Filed under: Oregon,Wind — nwrenewablenews @ 4:40 pm
Tags: , ,

A Newberg couple installed this week a windmill fabricated on their property  near town and expect their electrical bill to be zero.
Steve and Julie Fugate have lived on Rex Hill for seven years and from the time they bought their property on the winsome hill overlooking the valley, Julie thought it’d be a great place for a windmill. With their new 10 kilowatt turbine now 80 feet above the ground (it’s visible from Highway 99W northbound), they’ll soon know exactly how good it is.
Steve Fugate said they were approached by the Energy Trust of Oregon about installing a windmill on their property because they were considered as living in a high wind area. While high winds are useful for a windmill (during a recent storm a neighbor measured winds of 90 mph on the ridge and his windows were bowing due to the pressure), what matters most is average speed. The minimum for the Energy Trust to get involved is a 10 mph average; their location gets 12.2 mph average.
With the use of a two-way meter the Fugates will not only be able to remain on the grid for those days when there is little wind, but “the nice thing is that we can build the account up for summer when we fire up the A/C,” Steve Fugate said.
While the Fugates went forward with the windmill installation because the Energy Trust showed them that with reduced consumption and tax rebates it would pencil out for them, “one of the reasons we went forward is having a local source,” Steve Fugate said. Pointing somewhat dejectedly towards a hot tub in their backyard, Steve said that they’d run into problems with it and that the customer service from the East Coast company they’d bought from had been disastrous.
Their new windmill on the other hand traveled a short distance as the company that builds them, Abundant Renewable Energy, is located on Mountain Top Road near Bald Peak. “They cost a little more but when they ran the numbers for us it (was) a no brainer,” he said. Other companies also sell turbines rated as 10 kilowatts, but their true output is as much as 20 percent less, he added, while the local machines are much more efficient.
Part of the reason the installation was a good financial move, Fugate said, is that with a background in structural steel fabrication he was able to perform a lot of the preparatory work himself such as digging the trench to run the electrical wire to the inverters in his garage, and pouring the concrete for the three pads the windmill tower is bolted to.
The tower itself was assembled on the ground so that all the wiring could be inspected. On Wednesday a crane came to raise it. “About a 10 minutes lift and everything fit like a glove,” which after several weeks of preparation “was a little anticlimactic.”

By: Laurent Bonczijk , Newburg Graphic – http://www.newberggraphic.com/news/2009/November/20/Local.News/harnessing.the.wind/news.aspx

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