Written by Deb Wallace
February 20, 2009
Wind turbines are starting to show up everywhere.
From the ones near Bowling Green that have been in existence near Route 6 for several years, to a new one built by the Toledo Zoo last August, and even a turbine that was completed at Clay High School in September. Now you will see two more smaller versions in the Woodville area.
At a Woodville council meeting last November, Glen Levy, representing Skystream Wind Turbines, gave a presentation to the members of council and other interested parties about residential wind turbines (also referred to as windmills). What prompted the presentation is that two Woodville area residents, Steve Green and Miriam Obermyer, were each planning to have a wind turbine installed on their properties by Levy’s company.
Levy presented several facts to council. He noted that turbines can efficiently provide 40 to 90 percent of the energy needs for a home or small business. He also said that the towers typically range in height from 33 to 110 feet, depending on the size of the house and trees on the property.
The cost for the turbines starts about $13,000 and goes up to $100,000, depending on the height of the pole and amount of power to be generated by the turbine.
Zoning Inspector Bill Rowles asked if the towers would create any interference with televisions, computers or electrical appliances. Levy replied that because they are wired directly into the homes, there is no opportunity to create static discharge.
Police Chief Roy Whitehead brought up a question about a fall zone, a concern with the turbines, and if insurance will cover a fall. Levy noted that the towers are covered by insurance policies as “an appliance.” Levy went on to explain that any turbine pole over 60 feet high will have guy wires and that all turbine poles are anchored with more J-bolts than the light towers that you find at the I-280 interchanges.
Mayor Richard Harman instructed Rowles to meet with the planning commission and develop the permits and resolution needed to address the installation of the residential turbines. Rowles commented that the township is looking at a minimum of five acres for turbines up to 140 feet in height.
Levy suggested Rowles talk to the City of Oregon to see what they had devised concerning zoning laws. Woodville Township determined that the turbine pole can be no more than 140 feet tall if you have five acres of land or less. If the property is over five acres, the township has no height limit, but maximum height would then be determined by FAA guidelines. The Village of Woodville has yet to make a final decision on regulations for the turbines.
Levy also reported that there are some state and federal grant monies available to people who purchase the windmills. At that time, he said the State of Ohio usually gave between $3,000 and $5,000. He also said that he would help the customer with the paperwork to apply for any grants.
Levy also said Bowling Green residents get approximately 29 percent of their power from the turbines that are just outside of town. He also said that the typical residential turbine will produce 600 to 800 kilowatts per month with an average wind speed of 14 to 16 miles per hour.
When asked how much sound the turbines will produce, Levy compared it to the sound from a large beehive.
As of Feb. 9, Steve Green’s wind turbine had been installed and Miriam Obermyer was currently waiting to have hers installed.