Details of the Wind Turbine Project

On Sunday, September 5, 2010…
The Consistory approved the Energy Task Force’s recommendation that the church apply for a $50,000 grant to install a 10 K Wind Turbine on church property. The Energy Task Force’s grant application now goes to the VI Energy Department’s Grant Program. We have been told that grant approval is quite likely, but it wouldn’t hurt to say a few prayers. 

On Monday December 27, 2010… 
We were awarded the grant!  …and have begun preparations to order and install the turbine and tower. If all goes well, we could be turning the switch June 2011.  

Our 10 K Wind Turbine will potentially generate all our current electrical needs ($700/month).  It will be connected to the power grid via “net metering,” meaning:  the turbine will pump power into the WAPA grid on its own meter. If we pump in more than we use, we get a credit on our bill to use for months when slower winds might mean we generate less than we use.  (Net metering does not involve batteries.)

The turbine’s 60 foot tower will be located in the field to the right as you come in the main entrance at the top of the hill. The tower can be hydraulically lowered for storms -a key factor in our decision.

For online videos and details about the turbine and tower, go to 

Here’s a youtube video of a Redriven 10K Turbine in action in 15 mph winds. 

In addition to the $50,000 grant from the Dept of Energy and VI Energy Office, the church is contributing $16,500 towards the project. This money will be borrowed from reserve funds and paid back over a 7 year schedule by the money we are no longer sending to WAPA.  

A large portion of our energy bill is due to church’s largest mission project –providing the use of our facility to the Kingshill School, -the only school on island dedicated to students with learning disabilities, and whose energy costs are paid by the church as part of our mission to the community. 

The savings to the church over the 15 year lifespan of the turbine is projected to be between $126,000 and $180,000.  Of course, these are projections and will depend on the wind over time. The turbine does not have to be constantly turning to achieve these results, rather, only operating efficiently about 25%.   It will be exciting to see the actual results, and this data will be shared with the Energy Office and others interested in wind energy.

It is IMPORTANT to note that these savings will not be brought back into the general fund. Rather, every dollar off our WAPA bill we generate will be redirected into these 3 funds:  

1.  Reserve Fund loan payback. $16,500 

2.  Turbine Maintenance & Replacement Fund -monthly payments into this fund will accumulate to provide the church with funds to repair and eventually replace the turbine. Projected set aside: $45,000. (Note: The tower will not have to be replaced after 15 yrs, only the turbine/system.) 

3.  The Wind Mission Fund –After funding the payback and turbine funds, all additional energy savings (rather than going to WAPA) will be paid into a new fund to help our building and benefit the community.  Projected: $64,500 over 15 years. These dollars will be directed to help the Kingshill School with instructional supplies, perform energy-saving upgrades to our building, and help other community organizations with their energy related needs (such as new fans for My Brothers Table). 

These are all estimates.


Why not Solar?

The Energy Task Force studied quotes for both Solar and Wind. We unanimously settled upon wind for several reasons, including:

1) Our windy location.
2) Our consumption needs. 
3) Wind vs solar payback. 
4) Limitations on the size of solar array the church roof could hold. 
5) The Wind tower’s ability to hydraulically lower in a storm, versus, the need to manually remove solar panels prior to a hurricane. 

A 6 K solar installation would have cost us $50,000 but not potentially generate enough to zero-out our bill AND fund it’s own replacement after 15 years.  The size of that installation would have also made it a herculean task to remove prior to a hurricane.

The federally funded VI grant is part of the US government’s economic stimulus made available to non-profits here in the VI. 

Members of the Energy Task Force: Don Bailey, Will Borden, Stan Joines, Janie Koopmans, Rod Koopmans, Neil MacQueen, Michael Mongeau, George Novey. 

Task Force Technical Resource: Don Buchanan.

Questions about the proposal and the Wind Turbine can be directed to any Task Force member or member of the Consistory. For general or technical questions, you can also email After the grant is approved, we’ll publish more details.

The following graphic is a mock-up of the approximate appearance and location of the turbine and tower. 

Click to enlarge

Members of the Consistory, Task Force, and interested members meet with Steffen Larsen, local wind and solar expert.

Members of the Consistory, Task Force, and interested members meet with Steffen Larsen to examine a pole and pad installation.


Posted on September 5, 2010, in Wind Turbine News. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Details of the Wind Turbine Project.

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