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Student Gazette

Wind turbines make earth-friendly energy
Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hannah Franklin is a fourth-grader at Okte Elementary School

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Photographer: Peter R. Barber

Hannah Franklin
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Did you know that there are giant fan-like machines that help families lower their electric bills? Don Carola taught me about it. He has two wind turbines in his own backyard.

A wind turbine is a mechanical device that has blades and in some cases a tail fin. Some people refer to wind turbines as windmills. Don’s largest wind turbine is 85 feet high and is 170 feet from his house. At certain speeds, the wind will cause the blades to spin. The faster the wind blows, the faster the blades spin. The faster the blades spin, the more electricity is produced. Electricity comes through the house by cables buried under the ground. The wind energy is converted (changed) to household electricity. Electricity is measured in kilowatts (kw). Don’s turbines will turn when the wind blows just 8 miles per hour.

Don Carola knew about wind energy for a long time. He learned about it from school and the Internet. He went on a site called NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority).

The cost of a wind turbine depends on the power it produces. The 10 kw machine costs $45,500. The 2 kw machine costs $13,500. New York state helped Don financially because it is trying to promote earth-friendly energy. The federal government also helped Don financially with tax credits. The company that installed the wind turbines was Northeast Wind Resources.

Don felt he could do something for the Earth. He felt that it was very windy when he first moved to Halfmoon. The larger wind turbine is a 10 kw machine. The small wind turbine is a 2 kw machine. In one day, Don’s turbines made 150 kw, which represents six days’ worth of free power. Any excess goes back to the grid for others to use. On an average day, the Carola family uses 24 kw. Don’s electric bill for two months was $87. Without the windmills, it would have been $250.

Don likes to have what he calls a “special toy.”

“Our earth has limited resources, and we need to reduce our carbon footprint. This will help the Earth and our children of the future,” says Don. Wind is a wonderful source of “clean energy” because it does not produce any pollutants. Wind turbines are earth-friendly, and they help families save money on their electric bill. Don is thinking of his grandchildren who are not even born yet! He is trying to “save the Earth one light bulb at a time.”



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