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Published: Friday, 11/7/2003

B.G. wind farm set to power 780 residences

BOWLING GREEN - It likely will be one of the only outdoor dedication ceremonies where sponsors are actually hoping for heavy winds.

Elected officials, business executives, a representative of the U.S. Energy Department, and the wife of the Ohio governor are to be on hand this morning as Ohio s first commercial wind farm is dedicated at a municipal landfill here.

“The site is considered marginal by wind experts,” conceded Kent Carson, a spokesman for the municipal utility co-op AMP Ohio.

Sponsors - AMP-Ohio, Texas-based Green Mountain Energy Co., and the city of Bowling Green - acknowledge that there is only enough wind in the area for the twin windmills to operate at 23 percent efficiency.

Still, they say it will be enough to power 780 homes.

The turbines, which are as tall as a 25-story building with blades that are longer than one-third of a football field, weren t producing power as of late yesterday afternoon.

But engineers were working with the $5 million system and hoped that would happen by tomorrow, Mr. Carson said.

Power produced by the windmills will be tied to the electric grid through a Bowling Green municipal substation.

Bowling Green and Elmore have agreed to buy the electricity, which at 5.9 percent a kilowatt hour, will be twice as expensive as power produced by coal-fired or nuclear plants.

Sponsors point out, however, that the windmills do not produce the toxic emissions that result from burning fossil fuels.

They will eventually be turned over to participating communities, although AMP Ohio will continue to provide management services, Mr. Carson said.

The turbines were made by Vertas-American Wind Technology, Inc., which is a Portland, Ore. subsidiary of a Danish firm.

The wind farm is at the Wood County landfill, six miles west of Bowling Green along State Rte. 6.

The 1.8 megawatt wind turbines are mounted on 257-foot towers with three 132-foot blades attached to each unit.

Mr. Carson said the project is part of a continuing effort by AMP Ohio to encourage participating municipal utilities to diversify their electrical supplies.

“It s something we preach,” he said. “We don t do anything with solar, but we do hydro, landfill gas, coal, diesel, and natural gas. This is a further diversification for us.”

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