Small Wind Projects = Big Opportunities
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Wind could be the wave of the future for area communities that want to join the clean energy economy and help their bottom line. Eric Mathis says his group, the JOBS Project, wants to build small, community-owned wind projects in areas like Mingo County, W.Va. Mathis says part of the object is to keep the profits and the jobs in the area, which is hard to do with big utility projects.
"The wind farms that we work on focus on finding all those local workers here. That's local engineers, local accountants and local construction workers."
Mathis says a small wind project also can make money for local governments, by improving the tax base.
The president of the Ohio Farmers Union, Roger Wise, says smaller, residential wind turbines can mean more self-sufficiency for farmers and an opportunity for cooperative development between residential, farm and rural businesses.
"Any number of groups can come together and create these initiatives, and they'll benefit not only from the environmental standpoint and green energy but also economically. It's a good opportunity."
All that's needed for a small wind turbine is a single acre. Some costs can be defrayed through federal, state and local programs that offer grants, loans, tax credits and incentive payments.