DENVER (CBS4) – I’ve been in love with wind turbines ever since living in Denmark, an international leader in sustainability. They’re sleek, efficient, much more attractive than a coal plant, and surprisingly quiet. Not to mention they produce clean energy.
Renewable energy sources like solar and wind continue to experience technological improvements, but remain costly in comparison to coal, oil, and even natural gas.
Colorado currently requires large utilities have renewable energy make up 30% of their energy use by 2020, despite attempts at a rollback. However, it’s difficult to transport and store the cleanly produced energy, so localized programs work best. Solar panels on your own roof or a wind turbine in your yard would be ideal!
Unfortunately, these technologies are not entirely cost-effective for an individual at the moment. So one company is working to get around the financial deterrent by offering wind turbines for rent.
UnitedWind, a Brooklyn-based company expanding to the West, partners with national banks to provide financing for everyday people that want to harvest the power of wind. The company works with homeowners, farms, and businesses.
Russel Tencer, Co-founder and CEO of UnitedWind, said most of their customers recognize wind energy as efficient, have the resource on their property, and simply want to harvest it to save money.
With the “current technology we’re able to save customers 30-40% on utility bills over the life of their lease,” said Tencer. During that time, typical savings for a homeowner add up to anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000. The savings are even greater for farmers, and can reach between $150,000 – $300,000.
Leases last 20 years and mean typical payments per month for a home are about $80-$100. That’s less than a day of skiing!
UnitedWind does “have a minimum of 3 acres for a potential site because the turbine needs to be able to fit on the property, and there’s setback requirements,” explained Tencer. Most projects are in open spaces that have the acreage and where permitting is easier. In Colorado, where the wind resource is greatest out east, there is huge potential.
They come out to your property, bring wind assessment instruments, and use a desktop to determine wind potential, which means it can be done in any part of the country.
What’s installed is a traditional wind turbine with three blades, a horizontal axis, and a tower reaching 100-140 feet. While UnitedWind manages, they use local companies to maintain the system.
Many customers of turbine rentals are running 75% to 110% on renewable energies, Tencer said. One man and his brothers first powered their farm, and then followed up with turbines for each of their homes.
On the individual level, purchasing renewable energy technology is still relatively expensive, even with government subsidies. Renting such technologies like a wind turbine yields the benefits without a financial setback.
UnitedWind has moved into the Midwest and is ready to install in Colorado — you could be the first in the state to rent a wind turbine!
CBS4 social media and website producer Heather Sadusky writes about trending topics on social media and across the Internet on her What’s Trending Blog. Share a story idea with Heather by clicking here.