Windspires inspire

Published 10:32 am Tuesday, November 18, 2008

By Staff
pair of developers
Hope wind turbines catch on in state’s massive coastal region
Staff Writer
Two area entrepreneurs hope the introduction of a Windspire, an alternative wind-energy resource, at an eastern North Carolina development, will inspire homeowners and businesses to consider using green-energy sources.
Addie Randall and Jeremy Peang-Meth, developers of Cedar Shores, a waterfront community on the Albemarle Sound, recently installed a Windspire at one of the community’s storage sheds.
Peang-Meth, an architect/contractor by trade, said the Windspire was installed at the shed as an experiment to determine how much energy it may be able to produce.
Randall and Peang-Meth eventually intend to move the Windspire to the community’s clubhouse and install one or two additional Windspires to provide power to the building.
Randall and Peang-Meth, who have lived in Washington for more than three years, said they started looking into alternative-energy sources while planning the Cedar Shores community.
They found that wind energy is a largely untapped resource in the waterfront region.
Wind speeds for the region reach an average of 10 mph to 12 mph, said Peang-Meth.
Windspires begin making energy in winds as low as 9 mph. With average wind speeds of 12 mph, a Windspire will produce approximately 2,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, enough to provide 25 percent of electricity for the average home, they said.
The couple conducted much research on alternative-energy sources before settling on the Windspire as their choice.
They found that other wind turbines are too big, expensive or impractical for their small residential community.
Peang-Meth and Randall had to consider what the community’s residents would think about the structures.
A chief concern among most homeowners is any effect on property values, they said.
Unlike most wind turbines, “it is not overwhelming or intimidating,” said Peang-Meth about the Windspire. “It’s no more imposing than a light pole.”
Peang-Meth said Windspires have been used in urban and suburban settings such as Chicago, known as the Windy City.
Because the wind turbine’s blades spin in a compacted space on a horizontal axis, they can be placed within just a few feet of each other.
Most wind turbines, including windmills, rotate on a vertical axis, and therefore have horizontal-wind access.
Windspires have vertical-wind access and can take wind from any direction, said the couple.
Windspires are much quieter that most other wind turbines because they are designed to work at a slower speed, said Peang-Meth.
The Windspire turbine costs about $4,995, with instillation costing about $3,000.
The state and federal governments offer incentives for purchasing wind-power systems such as Windspire to help reduce initial and monthly costs. Some of these programs include tax credits, low-interest loans, grants and production payments through North Carolina Greenpower, according to the couple’s Windspire dealership Web site,
Peang-Meth and Randall have met with representatives from the North Carolina Estuarium, Fort Macon State Park, churches and small businesses that are interested in Windspires.
Peang-Meth and Randall said their involvement with Mariah Power, creator of the Windspire, started with a phone call of inquiry about the Windspire system.