Archive for March, 2012


Friday, March 16th, 2012

Since the first WIND POWER blog two weeks ago, we have received over 20 phone calls and in person questions about these two systems. It is true that wind power is on the minds of local islanders!

Here is a summary of the questions we have received and answers we compiled:

For ease, Turbine 1 is the tall turbine system on Lopez and Turbine 2 is the round turbine system on Orcas.

Q. What are the sizes in kW of the wind turbines?
A. Turbine 1 is 10 kW and Turbine 2 is 2.5 kW

Q. How much energy per year will the turbines produce?
A. Turbine 1 is estimated to produce 12,000kWh per year.  Turbine 2 is estimated to produce 3,000kWh per year. Our average member uses approximately 800 kWh per month.

Q. How were these turbines permitted?
A. Turbine 1 was very costly and time consuming to permit because of its height at 120 feet. It was the first of its kind to go through the San Juan County permitting process and actually helped pave the way for future wind systems. Turbine 2 was much simpler to permit as the height is only 35 feet.

Q. What is the name of the company that manufactures these turbines and how much do they cost?
A. Turbine 1 is manufactured by Xzeres ( We do not have cost data on these particular systems but a wind turbine of this type and height could be in the neighborhood of $100k. Turbine 2 is manufactured by Home Energy America ( One of these turbines would be in the neighborhood of $20k.

Q. What other resources are at these properties?
A. The Turbine 1 property also as solar PV. The Turbine 2 property has a geothermal heat pump and is planning to add solar PV.

Please direct your additional questions about these wind systems or any renewable energy systems to the OPALCO Energy Services Department at 376-3571 or

Turbine 2

Turbine 1


Friday, March 2nd, 2012

it is an exciting time for small scale wind power in San Juan County. Two very different wind turbine systems have recently connected to the OPALCO grid.  The first is the somewhat traditional looking 120’ turbine on Lopez manufactured by Xzeres. This 10kW system is expected to produce over 12,000 kWh per year. The second installation is the two turbine, futuristic looking Earth Ball system on Orcas.  These turbines are manufactured by Home Energy America and are rated at 2.5kW each. The expected yearly output for each Earth Ball is 3000kWh.

Both owner-members have signed up for the MORE (Member Owned Renewable Energy) program and will be receiving a production incentive funded by the voluntary contributions of other Co-op members who support local renewable energy generation.  If you want to support the MORE program, check the box on your paper bill or call in to let us know at 376-3500.

The OPALCO Energy Services staff will be monitoring these new wind systems along with their owners for performance numbers. We will report back in six months with the data.