Communities consider small wind turbines in yards - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Communities consider small wind turbines in yards

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by Danielle Wagner

WAVERLY (KWWL) Many of us are used to seeing large wind turbines,  but soon you might see small wind turbines in your neighbor's yard.

"It's a relatively new concept in this part of the region. It's becoming more popular, but Waverly is going to hopefully get ahead of it somewhat," said Waverly Zoning Official Ben Kohout.

The Waverly Zoning Commission is revising an ordinance to possibly allow homeowners, who follow certain guidelines, to have yard wind turbines.

Michael Miller with Natural Solutions in Cedar Falls sells and installs the turbines. He said the residential turbines could power 50 to 100 percent of a home's energy needs, plus make you money.

"The machines are actually tied to your utility grid through your home service panel. The utility companies are regulated to pay you 'x' amount of dollars and cents for that," said Miller.

Miller said some neighbors might be opposed to the height of the turbines... up to 35 feet... or the noise.

"They will be comparable to the neighbor's air conditioner starting up and running," said Miller.

Waverly Zoning Official Ben Kohout said the key to revising the ordinance is to find a middle ground between people who want turbines and their adjoining neighbors.

Both Cedar Falls and Waterloo are currently drafting ordinances which include sections for small wind turbines.

Mike Miller said investing in a wind turbine isn't for everyone. He said people who use the most energy will benefit the most. Miller recommends the turbine for people who consume at least 2,000 kilowatt hours of energy per month.

Miller said the smallest turbines cost between $12,000 and $17,000. He said typically, the pay-back is ten years.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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