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Residential wind generator installed in Morgan County

August 17, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - The first Skystream 3.7 residential wind power generator in Morgan County was installed Friday morning by Mountain View Builders.

Members of the Godman family, who live south of Berkeley Springs off Tabor Road, were excited to see the generator go up.

Diana Godman said the family home is "completely electrical, and we are looking to save money and also to show we need to find alternative energy besides using fossil fuels."

"It was not available in Morgan County until the Solar House installed their wind generator, and we contacted Mike McKechnie," she said.

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The Solar House is an energy-efficient house that installed the same type of wind power generator in April. The house is owned by Mountain View Builders, a green building company in Berkeley Springs that is owned by Mike McKechnie and his brother, Pete.

"We are certain this will defray our electric bill," Greg Godman said. "We think this generator will pay at least 30 percent of our electric bill and will pay for itself in 10 years."

The Skystream 3.7 works in tandem with a house's electrical utility to power the home, according to www.skystreamenergy.com.

Mike McKechnie said a 100-foot communications tower for the Godmans has been engineered to fit the generator.

"It is a standard tower in the county that is used for communications by several county agencies such as the OES," he said.

McKechnie said the cost for the tower, labor, "everything," was $20,000.

"This is very exciting," McKechnie said. "It is a statement that Americans are ready to claim some responsibility for energy-consuming lifestyles. Americans want to be more independent from foreign oil, right down to the individual citizens like the Godman family."

The tower is installed on a 10-foot-by-10-foot concrete pad that is 5 feet deep, Pete McKechnie said.

"We are motivated to do these installations, and there are plenty of renewable natural resources at our disposal," Pete McKechnie said. "We encourage people to consider the amount of power that can be generated using wind and solar, and to understand that these resources will always be available to us.

"A good first step is to free ourselves from dependence on foreign oil, but ultimately we need to free ourselves from dependence on fossil fuels in general."

Friends and family members watched the installation. Bill and Terry Johnston, who live on Mountain Run Road, said they are thinking about installing a wind generator, Terry Johnston said.

The Godman's children at home - Jacob, 20, Katie 17, Quentin, 14 and Emma, 11 - all were in favor of the energy-saving generator.

"It's awesome," said Quentin Godman, who wants to climb the tower.

"If you have wind, give us a call," Mike McKechnie said. "The most important thing is to have the site examined for good wind resource."

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