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Turbine savings in Lordstown? Answer is blowing in the wind

Published: Tue, July 19, 2011 @ 12:08 a.m.


Lordstown Mayor Michael Chaffee stands in front of one of the village’s previously installed wind turbines. Through more than three months of operation, there are questions as to exactly how much money the turbines have saved the village.

By Karl Henkel



Since their installation in mid-March, two wind turbines near the Lordstown Administration Building have shaved costs from the village’s electrical payments.

How much have they saved?

That’s the $131,700 question.

Strictly by the meter, the two 100-foot, 10-kilowatt-hour turbines, which cost $131,700 (of which Lordstown paid $13,170) have trimmed $117.41 from electrical bills from March 22, when they were installed, through June 30.

But officials, including Mayor Michael Chaffee, said the city has saved much more.

“Our bills are significantly lower,” Chaffee told The Vindicator. “If I had to guess, the turbines are producing more than we thought they have.”

Chaffee pointed to electrical bills that spanned mid-April through early June in both 2010 and 2011, and said the village’s payments dropped from $1,935 to $1,483.

The turbines could be the reason for the entire $452 savings, a 23 percent decrease, but Dale Grimm, parks and grounds superintendent for Lordstown who monitors the turbine meter, is frustrated because the readings indicate the $117.41 savings, a 6 percent decrease.

He said the two turbines combined have produced 1,186-kilowatt hours in their first three-plus months.

“I don’t think it’s anywhere near what was projected,” Grimm said. “It’s pretty safe to say I’m disappointed.”

The turbines, on average, are expected to save the village department 30 to 50 percent on its electricity payments, or $300 to $500 a month.

Chaffee and Greg Courtney of Alliance-based Wind Turbines of Ohio LLC , the turbine dealer, said the community should reserve judgment on the success or failure of the turbines until a later date.

“We need to have them up for a year and measure what we saved,” Chaffee said. “I think we have jumped to a lot of conclusions early in the process.”

Both Chaffee and Courtney said the turbines have operated only during the spring and summer, generally the least windy time of the year.

“Ninety percent of the electric made by any turbine in Ohio will be done in September through May,” Courtney said. “January and December could completely offset what was done these last few months and most likely will.

“To make a determination now ... is utterly stupid.”

The National Weather Service in Cleveland backed up Courtney’s claims and said the most windy months in the Youngstown area are December through March.

Aside from a lack of wind, the turbines are less than 4 months old, and they were temporarily shut down for 10 to 12 days when village Councilman Stanley Zoldan, upset that the turbines had not received final electrical inspections before their debut, turned off the power.

All reasons aside, Grimm still questioned the effectiveness of the turbines.

“I don’t see these things doing much better than what they are,” Grimm said. “And we’re pretty much stuck with these wind turbines.”


1AtownAugie(891 comments)posted 5 years ago

Don Quixote. Fighting at windmills. Sancho Panza. Man of La Mancha. "To Dream The Impossible Dream." Yes, Kenley Players and other fantasy productions are alive and well in Lordstown.

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 5 years ago

Wind turbines do not pay for themselves. That has been proven everywhere they are installed. I believe the low amount of savings is real because it is measured by real meters, and like usual the politicians and Lordstown officials who installed them are LIARS. Taxpayer is taken in again.

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3lee(544 comments)posted 5 years ago

$117 in 3 months that's $40 a month x12= 360 a year, total cost $131700. How long are these wind powered money making things going to last? 365 years?
So far the ones at Western Reserve school have not worked very well either,it doesn't matter how bad the politicians want this, the truth is it don't work

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4Photoman(1249 comments)posted 5 years ago

"Green Energy"= Your green dollars being frivolously spent by politicians who are also likely to be destroying our nation by being so "politically correct".

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5ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 5 years ago

The one thing about electricity is that we like to use it year round, not just in the winter months when the wind happens to be blowing.

Now why did these two windmills cost $131,000? There is nothing in them that justifies that kind of cost. The cost is so high because govt. will pay for them.

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6DwightK(1537 comments)posted 5 years ago

Or we could wait a year and see what the results are. Lots of jumping to conclusions around here.

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7AWESOME(10 comments)posted 5 years ago

Thankfully the Mayor is leaving office soon.Hes done enough damage not only with the turbines but with his other poor management decisions!

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8walter_sobchak(2720 comments)posted 5 years ago


Then suppose you tell us how the USA is to provide for our energy needs. You must have the answer!

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9piak(508 comments)posted 5 years ago

Drill baby drill. Interesting. Obama has been encouraging one of those south American banana boat republics to drill so we can buy off them. All this so there ain't no drillin' goin' on 'round here.

Green power. The technology is still being developed and whether it's an electric car or wind power or whatever, we're still a long way off from realizing it. What do we do in the meantime? Cope with heating and cooling bills that would bankrupt the average family? Fuel bills that would increase transportation charges to add further burdens to American families? No! We gotta drill and exploit our own natural resources the best we can.

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10Woody(492 comments)posted 5 years ago


I am sure you have evidence to support your claim that fracking pollutes water.


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11Jerry(861 comments)posted 5 years ago

Last September, I personally attended a Lordstown Village Council meeting and presented a detailed report to the Council and Mayor Chafee that clearly indicated that the proposed wind turbines would NEVER produce enough reliable electricity to come even close to paying for the investment, using the turbine manufacturer’s own data. This same report was also provided to the Vindicator some time ago.

I also described how any supposed benefits in reduction of pollution or emissions of GHG were, at best, highly suspect; because the turbines would have to be continually backed up by an equivalent conventional generating capacity.

The analysis is presented at:


The name Lordstown was left out of this article on Newsvine for the sake of discretion.

The ONLY reason these turbine were installed is that the taxpayers of Ohio and the United States paid for $118,000 of the $131,700 investment, and the people putting them up took full advantage of the “free money”.

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12TB(1167 comments)posted 5 years ago

We simply don't have the wind or solar exposure in this area to make a significant dent with technology in its current state, although solar cells continue to improve in efficiency.

That being said, there's no reason we can't be using geothermal and continue to examine harnessing water power (through wave turbines) just a short distance away in Lake Erie.

It definitely beats continuing to blow the tops off of mountains in West Va.

"Or we could wait a year and see what the results are. Lots of jumping to conclusions around here."
Excellent point DK

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13Jerry(861 comments)posted 5 years ago


I am already a user of a geothermal system at my home, and very much a supporter.

I support effective changes to our energy strategy. Please see the following article if you are interested:


Unfortunately, wind turbines are NOT an effective use of money and resources, and that is not "jumping to conclusions". The facts are all available. We don't need to wait a year, we already know how much the wind blows on an average annual basis.

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14hellokitty(161 comments)posted 5 years ago

All of this "Green Energy" is just so much crap and smoke screen.

When are the liberals going to realize it? They already do, but they will keep on promoting their bill of goods to the detriment of our society, as long as there is a buck in it for them.

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15TB(1167 comments)posted 5 years ago

It's not a smokescreen. When are you going to realize that oil will run out, as will coal? It may not be in your lifetime, but I guess that won't matter to you.

We should use sustainable energy sources. Period.

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16TB(1167 comments)posted 5 years ago

I agree with some of your statement (being foreign made etc. but we can't help if the rest of the world is reading the writing on the wall and people here think digging deeper etc is going to provide some infinite relief.)

"What the expected lifespan on your geothermal reserves there? Nothing lasts forever :)"

Geothermal works off the natural warming of the earth.

Painting your roof white will help if you live in a sunbaked climate. This idea is perfectly legitimate.

What you, and other of your ilk, seem to always fall back upon is that one approach will not work. Solar doesn't provide enough so scrap it. Wind doesn't answer all our needs, so scrap it....etc. The truth is it's a combination of things. We can make our NONrenewables (oil, gas, coal) last even longer by supplementing them with green technologies.

The long term answer surely does not lie in raizing mountains and digging under the ocean floor, but by becoming smarter. The problem with a reserve is that, by definition, you are admitting it will eventually run out. Otherwise there is no need for such reserves.

What a shame that the answer is so immediate to you.

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17TB(1167 comments)posted 5 years ago

Again, I agree with some of what you said.

In regards to China, the old rationale of "well everyone else is doing it" doesn't make it right, and the environmental disasters they are facing from industrial growth, let alone population growth, is something they're beginning to see they have to deal with. With a middle class developing, people are beginning to demand reforms in these areas, just as we did.

I agree about the public being uneducated regarding this topic as well, but again that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. The end result of continuing our current practices in regards to oil, gas, and coal is that they will run out. They are nonrenewable. While sun and wind are not constant here, they are in other localities, specifically coastal areas and the southwest. It's unwise not to use renewables period. Plus it's going to be cheaper long term.

The technology will catch up. It always does. Barring the automotive industry, which is still churning out engines that replicate those of the earliest models in terms of gas mileage, pretty much every other area I can think of has seen unbelievable growth due to technological advances. I won't get into specifics but that's a point that can't be argued against.

I think we both agree on many points, but just the methodology of achieving them.

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