Turbine intended to promote use of wind power

Gord Bontje of Laebon Homes doesn’t know how much he’ll save on his power bills when his wind turbine is up and turning next to his office just west of the city.

Gord Bontje of Laebon Homes doesn’t know how much he’ll save on his power bills when his wind turbine is up and turning next to his office just west of the city.

That’s not the point. He sees the 10-kilowatt turbine project more as a laboratory experiment than a cost-cutting measure.

“Our goal is not to save money. Our goal is to see how the technology works,” said Bontje. In fact, he doubts the electricity savings will offset the $50,000 cost of the turbine.

“It’s an opportunity to demonstrate some alternative energy sources. It’s kind of part of our energy efficiency initiative that we’ve been doing for a number of years.”

Last fall, Laebon opened the doors to its version of net zero, solar-powered home on Landry Close. The home was one of a dozen EQuilibrium homes being built across Canada as part of a Canada Housing and Mortgage Corp. Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative.

The 1,450-square-foot home was packed with energy-saving features, including roof-mounted photovoltaic panels to convert sunlight into electricity. Recycled materials were used throughout the home and water use is reduced by 35 per cent with a system that re-uses filtered grey water from showers and dish washers to flush toilets.

The wind turbine is just another chance to check out the latest technology and see what kinds of results it produces.

Once the turbine is running, on windy days it will produce more than enough power to keep the lights on at his 6,000-square-foot office. The remaining power will be directed back to Alberta’s power grid at a pre-set price.

Bontje said he intends to generate power on a small scale. If generation levels rise to a certain point, Laebon would be considered a commercial producer.

“The idea is we’ll just be a small producer and just generate our own electricity.”

Red Deer County council recently gave approval to the project to erect the roughly 12-metre tall turbine in an industrial park next to Hwy 2.

Councillor Reimar Poth said wind turbines are becoming increasingly popular.

“I just got back from a tour of the States, and it didn’t matter what state you were in, they were everywhere,” he said.

“The reality is they are a reasonable alternative to fossil fuels. The problem is they only function when the wind is blowing.

“Certainly they subsidize the existing fuel load and I see them as nothing but a good thing.”

Bontje is lining up the necessary approvals from other levels of government and researching the most suitable turbine for his location. There are a number of manufacturers and different models, including two-bladed and three-bladed turbines.

He expects the project will generate a lot of interest, especially considering the turbine will be seen by tens of thousands of drivers a day.

It may encourage others to make the investment.

“People like being part of the solution, not being part of the problem.”

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Parkland Fuel Corporation moving Red Deer office

Company plans to consolidate Red Deer office with Calgary, affecting 120 jobs

Alan Doyle, Ashley MacIsaac perform free Canada Winter Games concert tonight in downtown Red Deer

Celtic show starts at 6:30 p.m. in large heated tent off Celebration Plaza

Alberta Party leader must wait to learn if he can run in provincial election

EDMONTON — The lawyer for Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel told a… Continue reading

B.C. man gets seven-year sentence in U.S. for attempting to smuggle ecstasy

SEATTLE — The U.S. Department of Justice says a British Columbia man… Continue reading

Crown stays charge against Calgary woman charged in five-year-old boy’s death

CALGARY — A prosecutor says the Crown has stayed a manslaughter charge… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: Must-have wardrobe basics

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Smile: Some airliners have cameras on seat-back screens

Now there is one more place where cameras could start watching you… Continue reading

R. Kelly due in Chicago court to face sex abuse charges

CHICAGO — R. Kelly, the R&B star who has been trailed for… Continue reading

Feds promise $10 million for housing for troubled Cat Lake First Nation

The Canadian government is promising more than $10 million to build new… Continue reading

BC ticket holder wins Friday night’s $25.9 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — A ticket holder in British Columbia won Friday night’s $25.9… Continue reading

Funeral today for seven children killed in fast-moving Halifax fire

HALIFAX — Mourners will descend upon a large Halifax hall today for… Continue reading

As U.S. plans in Syria shift, Canada tries to plan for own forces in Iraq

OTTAWA — The commander of Canada’s special forces says officials are watching… Continue reading

Local Sports: Tanner Butler: A gifted defenceman

RDC hockey Kings head coach Trevor Keeper had an idea of what… Continue reading

Stettler RCMP looking for hit-and-run driver

A white Dodge truck with a flat deck backed into a car… Continue reading

Most Read