Canada - Fire chief sees wind turbine as money-saver

"It's not going to run the station, but it will keep the critical things running should there be a power failure,"

The winds of change could blow over Thorold fire station No. 4, if Larry Coplen gets his way. The fire chief has plans to make the 10-year-old station a beacon of energy efficiency in the name of public safety. Coplen wants to install a wind turbine at the Highway 20 facility to serve as a backup energy source for the building. It's more sustainable than costly fossil-fuel sucking generators used by fire halls in other municipalities, he said. "It's not going to run the station, but it will keep the critical things running should there be a power failure," Coplen said.

The turbine is an item that councillors will debate in upcoming budget talks. The price tag is $30,000, but Coplen is in the midst of filling out applications for grants to offset the cost and get the turbine chugging out power later this year. If the grants come through, Coplen is considering equipping the station with solar power, too - an addition he said would take the hall off the power grid entirely.

Thoughts of erecting another turbine in the future to sell power back into the grid have also crossed his mind. Eventually, Coplen would like to use renewable energy at Thorold's other three fire halls. "The cost of wind and solar power is finally getting into a range that's affordable," he said. Other green initiatives to be considered in this year's budget: Converting city street lights to LEDs. Cost: $1.1 million.
Online editorial www.windfair.net
Edited by Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist
wind energy, wind farm, renewable energy, wind power, wind turbine, rotorblade, offshore, onshore

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