Rural Development and Renewable Energy

A bulletin today from USDA Rural Development:

USDA Rural Development and new Michigan State Director James J. Turner are very interested in using RD loan and grant funding authorities to “GO GREEN” in our rural communities. The state of Michigan’s high unemployment rate and decline of the auto and auto related industries necessitate that RD shift priorities somewhat to encourage the use of and develop projects that use renewable and alternative energy technologies. If our rural communities lead the way in using renewable energy sources to heat and power their municipal buildings, schools, hospitals, water and wastewater facilities, we not only help create new Michigan businesses and jobs but homeowners and businesses may well follow suite powering their homes and buildings with renewable energy. Contractors as well will be encouraged to incorporate these technologies in new construction. The demand for solar, wind and bio energy source equipment/devices will create new industries in Michigan not to mention the jobs that can be created in manufacturing the product, supplying the industry and installing them.

A good example is that on April 20th, Mariah Power opened the production line for its Windspire vertical axis wind turbine at a retrofitted auto parts facility in Manistee, Michigan. The opening of the factory means new jobs for many ex-auto industry employees. Almost 98 percent of the components for the Windspire wind turbines will be purchased from local Michigan suppliers, including steel, packing and crating supplies, and inverters. The aluminum airfoils that make up the giromill design of the turbine will be extruded by a Michigan company that currently extrudes aluminum for sun roofs in cars. The unit is 30 feet tall and 4 feet wide, it is distinguished by its sleek propeller-free design and ultra quiet operation. It is designed for powering homes, small businesses, schools, museums, parks, and much more. Wind blows against its vertical airfoils causing them to spin, this power is then converted to AC electricity and is immediately available to power your home grid and all the appliances that draw electricity from it. The Windspire 1.2 kW wind turbine typically costs between $9,000 and $12,000, fully installed. After rebates, the costs can be as low as $3,800. With a 30% federal tax credit average payback can be under 10 years.

The Swift Wind Turbine will be manufactured by Cascade Engineering in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Cascade Engineering will be manufacturing all blades worldwide and will do assembly for all turbines sold in the United States. The Swift turbine is mounted on an aluminum mast with a minimum blade-roof clearance of approximately 2 feet. It is usually mounted at the highest point of a roof, in a position which benefits from maximum prevailing wind, but it will work effectively in almost any location. The Swift is designed to be both aesthetically pleasing and quiet. The estimated installed cost is about $10,000 – $12,000. Depending on the installed price, cost of electricity, average wind speed, and rebates available the Swift Wind Turbine can pay for itself in as little as 3 to 5 years.

Here are the links to the two companies I was talking about.
Rural Development and Renewable Energy

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