Category Archives: Wind Turbine News
“Not for Profit: ‘God’s Gift’ Becomes Community’s Gain”
Renewable-energy advocates often say we must use the gift of natural resources – wind and sun. St. Croix Reformed Church took the gift idea to the ultimate, using the wind to give a gift to local students.
Pictured right: Alfredo Andres assistant principal Anna Marie Gordon, left, and secretary Sherika Milligan, with the donated copier. (Photo provided by the Rev. Rod Koopmans)
When in 2012 the church installed a wind turbine with funding from the V.I. Energy Office, it made a commitment to use the savings for the island’s benefit. After a year of operation and accumulation of savings, the church reached out this fall to the nearby Alfredo Andrews Elementary School to determine its needs and how the church could assist.
Principal Joan A. Claxton responded that the school copy machine had recently failed and a replacement was needed. The church purchased, with savings from its Water and Power bill, a used machine and had it serviced by Adan Business Machines, then delivered it to the school.
“Ms. Claxton and I are so thrilled and grateful for the donation of the copier,” Gordon says. “This was truly a need that the Reformed Church responded to.”
The church’s 10-kilowatt turbine is hooked into WAPA through the net metering program designed by the Energy Office.
So far, the Reformed Church is the only institution that has turned its savings into a method of giving directly back to the community. Several organizations that net meter have expressed an interest in giving the excess energy they produce to non-profits. However the logistics and the economics do not appear to work for the power company.
For more information about the Turbine and its current output, go to https://stcroixreformed.org/our-wind-turbine/
Energy Office spokesperson Don Buchanan said the American Recovery and Reinvestment grant for the turbine was $50,000 and the church contributed $16,500 to the project. He said the turbine will pay for itself in eight years.
“The church is not waiting for the turbine to pay for itself,” Buchanan said. “It’s putting the savings back into the community right now. The church is doing exactly what it said it would do in its grant application and we are very happy about that.”
“We will, from time to time, be making additional donations,” Koopmans said.
Students from the St Croix Math and Environmental Science Academy visited our church last week to learn about Wind energy and turbine technology. Led by Carl Joseph from the VI Energy Office (pictured below), the students learned the science of how turbines capture and convert wind to electrical energy to power the St Croix grid.
“Who knows, maybe you have come to this royal position f
or just such a time as this.”
Photo from Don Buchanan
For Detailed Information about the St Croix Reformed Turbine, go to https://stcroixreformed.org/our-wind-turbine/
See photos of the Turbine “Turn it On” Party at https://stcroixreformed.org/2012/03/02/wind-turbine-ceremony-photos/
As recently announced in worship, our church will hold the “Turbine Turn It On” Party on Wednesday, February 29th at 5 p.m.
All members and friends of the church and Kingshill School are encouraged to attend. Bring your neighbors!
For more information about the wind turbine, go to https://stcroixreformed.org/our-wind-turbine/
Updated Turbine construction photos!
The slideshow below will continue to be UPDATED throughout construction.
For more information about the St Croix Reformed Wind Turbine, go to https://stcroixreformed.org/our-wind-turbine/
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Reverend Rod led the congregation out to the hill for the Wind Turbine groundbreaking ceremony. The kids met the congregation, handing out pinwheels and hard hats. After introducing the Wind Task Force, and further remarks, Rod and the kids put the spade to the hill, …and activity which some children continued for nearly 20 minutes! Numerous adults stepped forward to dig, and following a closing hymn, the congregation enjoyed another sumptious post-worship buffet.
The rest of the hole for the foundation will be dug this week. For more details about the Wind Turbine, go to https://stcroixreformed.org/our-wind-turbine/
The St Croix Reformed Church will hold a brief GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY for our 10 kw Wind Turbine this Sunday November 13th.
Preliminary Construction Schedule:
Nov 13th: Ground Breaking
Nov 14-24: Digging and pouring of the tower slab.
Late November: Digging and installation of electrical cables. Installation of electrical converters.
Mid December: Bolting of the tower to the slab. Assembly of the turbine to the tower.
“Turning it on” Party ….t.b.a.
For more information about the Wind Turbine, its cost, construction and expected benefits, go to https://stcroixreformed.org/our-wind-turbine/
St Croix Reformed Wind Turbine Update:
Here’s a video of a 10 kilowatt wind turbine in action on St Croix’s south shore. Our turbine is 10kw as well and will look like this one.
The tower’s hydraulic base seen in the video is a slightly older model from Redriven Inc. Ours will look like this:
The grant was applied for September 8, 2010 and awarded December 21, 2010.
Here is the estimated INSTALLATION TIMELINE:
Filing of grant acceptance paperwork.
Filing of “Earth Change” permit with DPNR
Filing of Engineering Report
Receipt of grant funds
Early February 2011:
Deposit made to start manufacturing of tower and purchase of turbine
Construction of Concrete Pad
Posting of sign at road announcing construction
Begin electrical work (installation of net meter, conduits, converters, computer)
Arrival on island of Turbine and Tower from Canada
Throw the switch and a party!
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The funds for this project were made available in part by a grant administered by the Virgin Islands Energy Office from funds provided by the U.S. Energy Department, Grant Award Number DE-EE0000223, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
$50,000 VIEO Grant
$16,500 Loan from the SCRC Reserve Fund (to be paid back from energy savings)
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Reverend Rod received official word Monday December 27th that our church has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Virgin Islands Energy Office to install a 10 Kilowatt Wind Turbine !
The Church Consistory, having unaimously approved the proposal earlier in the fall, has reviewed the details and filed the final papers to accept the funds and begin the installation process.
In January 2011 the permitting and engineering process begins, followed by placing the order for the turbine & tower. Once ordered, it will take approximately 90 days for the pad to be constructed and the equipment to arrive. If all goes well, we could be flipping the switch sometime in May.
The church’s out of pocket contribution is approximately $16,500. This money will be borrowed from the church’s reserve funds and paid back by electricity savings per a 7 year schedule.
The turbine’s output will be “net-metered” into the island’s power grid. Every kilowatt the turbine produces will be credited on our WAPA bill. The grant money was made available through the US Dept of Energy as part of the Economic Stimulus Plan. Because the cost of electricity in the USVI is the highest in the US, the turbine is projected to save the church upwards of $700 a month on its electricity bill.
In addition to paying back the reserve fund, savings will be redirected into 3 special funds:
(1) To provide energy related benevolence to the St Croix community and energy improvements to the church building.
(2) To provide additional instructional help to The Kingshill School.
(3) To provide maintaince and eventual replacement funds for the turbine.
The innovative way in which the church proposed to distribute the savings was part of what caught the grant committee’s eye. In addition to generating savings, it is the church’s hope that the prominent location of the turbine will stimulate discussion and demonstrate the feasibility of wind power on the islands, as well as, make people aware that there is a warm and welcoming Reformed congregation up in La Reine!
Guiding us through the permit and installation process will be Steffen Larsen and Rich Carpenter from “Cruzan Power” –alternative energy & wind experts here on St Croix, and both of whom have installed 10k wind turbines at their homes. Cruzan Power is assisting the church without fee in order to promote wind power on the islands. (See photos in previous post of our meeting with them.)
For more specific details about the Grant Proposal, and for details about the specific Wind Turbine and tower, including a video, see the previous post on the subject at https://stcroixreformed.org/2010/09/05/consistory-approves-wind-turbine-proposal/
Our thanks to the members of the Grant Proposal Task Force!
Don Bailey, Will Borden, Michael Mongeau, Stan Joines, George Novey, Neil MacQueen, Rod & Janie Koopmans, with technical advice provided by Don Buchanan.
The Consistory has authorized Rod Koopmans and Neil MacQueen to form a new “Wind Committee” to oversee installation and operation. Arguably, this is the most appropriately titled church committee ever. If you are interested in being part of that team, let them know. As we move forward, the comittee will be posting progress reports and sharing more details about the turbine and tower.
Members of the Wind Committee and their functions on the committee:
Don Bailey,accounting, Consistory liason
Michael Mongeau, grant compliance, education/promotion, Kingshill School rep.
Neil MacQueen, Committee coordinator, liason to Cruzan Power, education/promotion
Will Borden, installation/contractor oversight
George Novey, installation/contractor oversight
Rod Koopmans, staff raconteur
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 http://www.redriven.ca/10-kw-wind-turbine-media/
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.
The following graphic is a mock-up of the approximate appearance and location of the turbine and tower.