Two US pork producers opt for wind energy
In today's tough economic times, farmers want to make every dollar count. Using a renewable resource such as wind energy can be both environmentally and financially responsible. Two southeast Iowa pork producers are making wind energy work for them.
Andy McCall of West Chester has a 7200-head wean to finish contract hog operation and Wayne Zieser of Washington operates a 4400-head contract finish operation. Both operations have a Vestas E-15 model wind turbine with a 35 kilowatt generator which produces about 60,000 to 70,000 kilowatt-hours annually.
“In the windy months, we will produce more energy than we need, and when that happens the excess is banked which is called net metering,” Zieser said. “In months we don't produce enough we can use the banked energy.”
Both farmers said using a wind turbine is a great way to offset some of their electric bills and reduce the power needed from their electricity supplier. Zieser installed his turbine in June of 2007 and said it has considerably reduced the amount of energy needed. McCall installed his turbine in February of 2006.
Both McCall and Zieser financed their projects through a combination of grants, loans and personal financing. A USDA grant covered 25% of the costs and 50% was paid for through interest free loans through the Iowa Energy Center.
McCall offers this advice for producers interested in learning more about how wind energy might work in their operations.
“Talk with your power company early to size the turbine to fit your needs,” McCall said. “The earlier you apply for grants the better.”
Information about the USDA grants and other resources is available on the USDA website.
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