Since the installation of the wind turbines in Lordstown this spring, there has been some to-do about whether they are feasible or not. This writer, being a proponent of using nature as a power source (the "green" thing), has taken much into consideration before making the decision to support this venture.
As finance chairman, cost was a big factor. The money for the turbines came to us through a grant that had specific requirement, but provided 90 percent of the cost, which was $131,700. Lordstown paid only 10 percent, which was $13,700. Another consideration on the financial "plus" side was that First Energy allocated $50,000 to the village for signing an electric aggregate plan with them. At that time, it was mentioned that part of this allocation could be used for the above-mentioned project. That would show no cost for the turbines and still leave $36,830 balance from the aggregate money to add to the general fund.
The mayor reported that electrical bills that spanned mid-April through early June for both 2010 and 2011 dropped from $1,935 to $1,483. That would reflect a 23 percent decrease for the administration building, which is served by the turbines.
At other village buildings not served by the turbines, the electrical cost increased for this same period of time.
Another very important factor is that Ohio is the worst state, No. 1, for toxic air pollution from coal and oil-fired power plants according to an analysis by the National Resources Defense Council, a private environmental action group. These polluters are putting children and families at risk by dumping deadly and dangerous poisons into the air we breathe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is trying to update public health protections to help curb this air pollution problem.
A few naysayers claim that Lordstown simply doesn't have the wind, but according to a wind speed study done locally in September 2010, we do have sufficient wind power. The National Weather Service in Cleveland said the windiest months in this area are December through March. However, 90 percent of the electric made by any turbine in Ohio will be done in September through May. We have yet to experience these months and the higher wind speeds for the turbines, which could completely offset the wind speeds realized these last few months.
The naysayers also didn't like this brand of turbine, but we had no choice, that was the turbine required by the grant. This turbine is American made and not a product of another country.
These turbines cost the village very little, have already saved electrical costs and in a small way have contributed to protecting our health and the environment. In my opinion, this venture taken by the supporters of the turbines was darn well worth it, and may the future prove it even more so.
-- Mary Jane Wilson, Lordstown councilperson