Carmen, Oklahoma, is not your average small town.
It was the first recipient of an Energy Efficiency and Conservation block grant – and the small town of 412 is using that Recovery Act funding to cut costs through wind energy.
Through a $242,500 Recovery Act grant, town officials purchased four 5 kW and one 10 kW wind turbines.
Officials are using wind energy to offset electricity costs for all town-owned buildings and save an estimated $24,000 a year.
According to Therese Kephart, Carmen’s town clerk and treasurer, the goal of the project is to produce enough electricity to run all town-owned buildings.
“Each turbine is capable of producing enough electricity to run facility to which it is assigned,” said Kephart.
Kephart said if the turbines produce as much electricity as expected, the savings will allow the town government to create a new staff position in the maintenance department.
The turbines were purchased from local company P&K Wind Energy, an authorized dealer of John Deere equipment. Go Green Solutions, a P&K subcontractor, is installing the turbines at locations around the town, where they will provide electricity to town owned buildings and facilities.
Powering town buildings
Three of the 5 kW turbines are installed at the Carmen town park, and are currently supplying electricity to the town hall, the town maintenance building and library.
The other turbines are slated to help power the town’s water system.
Like many Midwestern towns, Carmen uses a groundwater system that requires the use of submergible pumps and a chlorine injection system. Kephart says the turbines should be capable of powering the machinery without additional electricity.
The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of September.
A new energy source
According to Kephart, wind turbines are not as prevalent in Oklahoma as they are in Texas, Oklahoma’s southern neighbor. She hopes projects like this one will pay-off and raise awareness about the potential of wind energy.
“The idea of wind power is new in this part of Oklahoma, and we hope to capitalize on our investment,” said Kephart.