LORDSTOWN, Ohio – These days, more and more people are looking at solar and wind energy to rely less on fossil fuels. Even the federal government is spending billions of dollars on green energy initiatives.
But one local community isn’t seeing much of a return on their big, energy-saving investment.
A representative from Wind Turbines of Ohio told village leaders here that wind turbines would eventually pay for themselves. In fact, many turbine companies say they start spinning electric meters backwards so the electric company has to pay you.
The village council voted a couple years ago to install the two turbines at a cost of $131,700 and ended up paying a little over $13,000 out of pocket thanks to some state and regional grants.
Mayor Arno Hill, who was a councilman at the time, says he and others wanted a wind study performed before they would make the purchase, but there wasn’t time.
“Due to the timing with the grants that were out there we had one 50% grant and one 40% grant,” he explains. “We wouldn’t have had time to do the wind study and the ones on council at the time said they weren’t interested in taking that time and losing the grants.”
So, has the wind paid off? Not even close.
According to the mayor, in the first year they only generated a cost savings of $645. And last year it was even less, $557.
“We were told it would generate between $300 to $500 a month and if you count 10 cents a kilowatt hour, last year we made about $556,” says Hill.
The owner of Wind Turbines of Ohio tells 21 News he can’t comment about the situation here because he hasn’t seen the readings of Lordstown’s turbines or their electric bills.
Hill says there has been maintenance issues with the turbines also. He says one was down for about 3 months last year.
“They repaired it and put it back in,” he says. “They said, if you want we’ll pay you for the electric generation you lost, but we said we didn’t need their $7 that bad.”
The village is stuck with the turbines for at least 8 more years because they used grant money, which is taxpayer dollars by the way.
They’re also responsible for the cost of any maintenance after three more years.
If you do the math and average a cost savings of about $600 a year, the turbines are set to pay for themselves in just 220 years.
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