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ERIE COUNTY, OH – Vertical Wind Energy

October 5, 2009

Published in The Morning Journal (10/03/09) & Disseminated by The Erie Wire

By AMANDA DOLASINSKI
adolasinski@MorningJournal.com

The first vertical wind turbine in Ohio, and the 401st in the world, was erected in Michael Townsley's back yard in LaGrange yesterday. From left to right, Vince Ragnoni, Carrie Ragnoni, Michael Townsley and Ilia Townsley. MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL

LAGRANGE TOWNSHIP — Michael Townsley is on a mission to clean up the environment while saving Ohio residents money.

He started his Vermilion business IC Green Energy to install affordable, quiet wind turbines. He is the first Ohioan to install a vertical axis wind turbine in his back yard in LaGrange Township.

“This is the first wind turbine like this in Ohio — everybody else has prop style,” he said. “These are designed to work in ground-level winds. They need much less wind to produce power and they’re zone friendly — you can put them in a neighborhood.”

The vertical axis wind turbine model doesn’t have propellers that one associates with wind turbines. Instead, the wind blows across three upright wings that form a cylinder. The entire cylinder then turns and creates energy. Wind turbines produce about 2,500 kilowatt hours per year in a 12 mph average wind speed, which equates to about a quarter of the average energy of a residential home, according to IC Green Energy’s Web site.

If the turbine is producing enough energy to reverse the meter, the household will actually save money. Townsley said he could save between 50 and 70 percent off his electric bill.

Townsley’s company distributes and installs the American-made turbines throughout Ohio. Once the foundation is laid, it only takes about a day to install the turbine, Townsley said.

“We started the company so we can help just normal people who want to save money and help the environment,” he said.

Vertical axis turbines cost about $10,000 to install. With state and federal funding, however, most people can get that cost reduced to $4,000 or $5,000. Propeller-style wind turbines can cost as much as $200,000, Townsley said.

Townsley said he and his business partners are working to change Lorain County townships’ minds about wind turbines. He regularly attends governmental meetings to explain the differences between the two wind turbine styles. He said he’s been successful in Elyria, Grafton and Carlisle, so far.

“What I want is for people to realize there’s more than one option,” he said. “As soon as they hear wind turbine, they think prop style. We’ve changed townships’ minds.”

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