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Wind power turbine pays big dividends

Sandi Hoover
shoover@nevadaappeal.com
Sandi Hoover/Nevada Appeal
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Moving to an alternative energy source such as wind power isn’t easy, but it eventually reaps rewards.

Tim Howard, who recently installed his wind turbine on Valley View Drive, appeared before the board of supervisors this week to report his experiences one year after a new small wind energy ordinance was adopted by the city.

He said he is benefiting from his $21,000 investment.

The turbine has produced 3,000 to 4,000 watts of power in a day, Howard said.

“Our power meter with NV Energy was at a standstill, and we were putting power back into the grid,” Howard said.

Complaints from neighbors have not been an issue.

“My neighbors are coming over every other day to hook up extension cords,” he said, laughing.

Howard said he selected the Skystream 3.7 model.

“This was more aesthetic and produced more power, and they provided the pole,” he said of his choice.

He said the key to success of the turbine is that it be above the trees and above two-story buildings.

“You get steady production, not wind gusts,” he said.

It has been a year since Carson City adopted a small wind energy ordinance, and only two residents have since installed wind turbines on lots at least one acre in size.

And despite public fears expressed last July, primarily over sound issues that might accompany the wind turbines, Lee Plemel, the city’s planning director, said no formal complaints have been filed as a result of the two installations.

Howard’s wind turbine was installed in May on the southeast corner of Valley View Drive, and is about 52 feet high. The other was installed last December on the north side of West Washington Street, between Longview Way and Spencer Street, and is about 48 feet high, Plemel said.

“They both met the ordinance standard requirements,” he said.

Planning staff received two phone calls from adjacent property owners when the Washington Street turbine went up, and one when the Valley View Drive structure was installed.

“Each caller expressed concerns regarding the visibility of the structures and noise. Staff explained the current code requirements, including noise standards, to each caller,” Plemel told supervisors this week.

The ordinance was adopted because state law requires that local governments do not restrict people from turning to alternative energy sources, he said.

Howard said the only thing he found to be somewhat restrictive were the setback requirements which call for 1.1 times the total extended height of the turbine.

“I’m on 1-1/2 acres, but I could have set it out on the corner to get better wind,” he said.

Total cost to Howard was $15,000 after a $6,000 rebate.