|
|
|
Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Two turbines to provide 12 percent of residents' electricity

  • After almost two years of study, Jetmore is joining the wind energy movement.

        Last week, the town signed a contract with the Great Bend-based company West Wind Energy to set up two wind turbines at the Hodgeman County landfill, just east of Jetmore.


    • email print
  •     After almost two years of study, Jetmore is joining the wind energy movement.
        Last week, the town signed a contract with the Great Bend-based company West Wind Energy to set up two wind turbines at the Hodgeman County landfill, just east of Jetmore.
        Groundbreaking for the state's first municipal wind project is set for July 10, and the turbines are expected to be up and running within 160 days — although they could be ready even sooner.
        Hodgeman County has class 4 to class 5 winds, averaging 16 to 18 mph. The highest category is class 7, averaging upwards of 20 mph, which isn't a category in Kansas.
        Jetmore's wind project will begin with two refurbished turbines costing $250,000 apiece, said Lea Ann Seiler, director of economic development for Hodgeman County. The turbines will feed directly into the city's power grid, supplementing the existing energy source and generating up to 12 percent of Jetmore residents' electricity.
        The turbines will help stabilize electricity costs for Jetmore's 900 residents, giving them some protection from rising rates. But they probably shouldn't expect to see lower utility bills.
        "I know some people were getting all excited, saying, 'Well, how soon will it go down?'" Seiler said. "And it probably won't. They probably won't see a decrease because of this. It may help keep them from going up, but we're not going to see a drop in prices right now."
        The city estimates it can pay off the cost of the turbines in five to seven years, based on today's electricity rates. But if rates continue to rise as expected, the city could see a return on its investment more quickly.
        Jetmore Mayor Bill Goebel said the town's residents seemed excited about the prospect of holding their energy costs down.
        "The people I've visited with are all pretty positive about it," he said. "Anything we can do to keep the utility bills down, well, they're all for."
        Scott Brantley, West Wind Energy's CEO and owner, said potentially stable utility bills could help boost economic development in Hodgeman County.
        "There's been such an outward migration of people from these smaller communities, if we can keep and stabilize their power prices, then that has the potential of attracting manufacturers to come back to these smaller communities," he said.
       
    Reach Eric Swanson at (620) 408-9917 or e-mail him at eric.swanson@dodgeglobe.com.

        calendar