Several Mercer County governments are moving forward on a wind turbine project. A feasibility study reveals that there is enough wind to provide cost efficient energy for the Mercer County Nursing Home and Hospital, Mercer County Jail and the Aledo School District.
“The wind production numbers are coming in a little lower than we had hoped, about 30 percent (in net capacity factor),” said Mark Jackson with the USDA’s Resource Conservation and Development office. “We’d like to see something about 35 percent, but it’s still adequate.”
Preliminary findings of a feasibility study were released this week. The project is estimated to cost $3 million.
“When you look at the usage for this project, the kilowatt hours combined with the cost, we’re looking at something that would pay for itself in less than 10 years,” Jackson said.
The normal life span of a turbine is 25 years, meaning the big savings would be realized for 10 to 15 years.
An economic analysis will now be done to evaluate the different entities who will use the power created by the turbine.
The different groups use well over 3.5 million kilowatt hours and pay $350,000 dollars annually for electricity.
The school district, nursing home, hospital and county contributed $1,500 a piece for a $20,000 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation for the feasibility study.
Data has been collected through a test tower just west of Mercer County Hospital.
The final phase of the project involves securing financing and seeking grant funding.
By J.C. Taylor
16 April 2007
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