As it stands right now, Granite Falls gets 36 percent of its power from “green” sources, well within the recent legislation that was signed into law mandating 25 percent of renewable energy resources to be in place by the year 2025.
Nonetheless, the city is looking at wind generation as another possible power source.
A wind generation feasibility study, conducted by the city’s engineering firm, SEH and Associates, was presented to the city council on Monday.
The findings conclude that the city could in fact build a wind tower, but some questions remained about how best to make that possible.
“Federal tax credits are primarily an advantage for corporations,” said Dallas Olson who is with SEH and presented the report to the city council. “There is also a long lead time on these structures. If you ordered today you would not get at it until at least two years from now. That makes it hard to guess what programs will be available for funding.”
The study did conclude that it made sense economically. However, there were questions regarding whether the city should build a structure or, if they should have a private company do so and lease the power from them.
“An RFP (request for proposal) should be sent out to local qualified wind developers,” said Olson. “If you don’t like what they come back with you can always put your own in.”
The RFP would cover things like site determination, unit selection and installation costs for the tower. The city could then make a more informed determination regarding the project.
“Based upon this study we recommend that the city of Granite Falls consider the installation of a wind turbine,” said Olson.
The energy would be used locally and would not be marketed to other utilities.
The council requested that SEH submit a proposal by its next meeting, April 16, regarding submitting RFP requests to qualified companies. SEH would then review those RFPs and come back to the council with those findings.
By Daniel McGonigle
5 April 2007