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Builder seeks OK for wind power tower in Morgan Co.

April 26, 2007|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Using the wind to generate electricity requires a building permit for the wind generator, and Mike McKechnie of Mountain View Builders asked the Morgan County Planning Commission Tuesday night for approval.

McKechnie's company is building the Mountain View Solar House on Pious Ridge Road, where the wind tower is to be installed.

The site will be used to educate people and to encourage the local community and others to become energy independent, McKechnie said.

The house is environmentally friendly, and will run "almost entirely on renewable energy like the sun and wind," he said.

The wind generator is a Skystream 3.7 and is made by Southwest Windpower Inc. of Flagstaff, Ariz. It has three blades with a rotor diameter of 12 feet and looks like a giant fan.

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The wind tower will be about 100 feet tall and requires a 9-foot-square concrete footing, 5-foot deep. No guide wires are needed, he said.

McKechnie said Morgan County is more suitable for individual wind generators rather than large scale wind farms that produce power for many households.

He said a wind analysis was done on the Solar House site and "it's a good site for wind." Windy spots are prime and the higher you go, it's better, he said.

"Lower creates more turbulence," McKechnie said.

He said the cost to install a wind generator could be between $11,000 and $16,000.

Planning Commission President Jack Soronen said before the commission approves the building permit for the wind generator, the members want to see a drawing of the tower and they want to know how much noise the generator will produce.

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