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Renewable energy is in Seadrift wind

Aug. 15, 2011 at 3:15 a.m.


Seadrift is one step closer to harnessing wind power.

The town is one of three rural communities that will receive a grant from a pilot program from the Texas Department of Rural Affairs.

Seadrift will use a grant of $116,000 as the city's match toward a $564,000 grant it has received through the State Energy Conservation Office to install a 100-kilowatt wind turbine at its sewer plant. The turbine will provide up to 84 percent of the electricity needed to run the facility and save the city up to $20,000 per year, according to a release issued by Travis Brown, the renewable energy program manager at Texas Department of Rural Affairs.

However, Elmer Deforest, the mayor of Seadrift, is still uncertain that the town will get the rest of the funding needed to actually build the turbine. Seadrift put in $19,000 in matching funds to win grants for the wind turbines, Deforest said. The grant from the State Energy Conservation office expires Dec. 31, Deforest said, but it will take five months for the wind turbine to be delivered. If the State Energy Conservation grant isn't extended, Seadrift won't be able to make up the difference for the cost of buying and installing the turbine.

"If we can't get everything in place and filed with the SECO, we won't be able to do this," Deforest said.

It costs between $3,000 and $3,500 a month to power the sewer plant. The city government has been looking for ways to cut costs and save money without raising taxes, and the wind turbine would help cut power costs, Deforest said, but he's waiting to see if they'll actually get it.

"Right now we're just holding. If they get us that extension and get us that approval, we'll move forward," he said.

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