Wind turbine to produce electricity for Random Lake farm

Posted on August 26, 2011. Filed under: Energy independence, Wind |


From an article by Bob Petrie in the Sheboygan Press:

TOWN OF SHERMAN — It’s a tall order for the 120-foot wind turbine that towers over the Preder farm on county Highway I just outside Random Lake.

The turbine, installed this week on a small hill behind the farmhouse, is expected to produce all the power needed to run the household and the farming operation, with a little bit left over for the neighbors.

“We’re trying to make it so that we’re not relying on everybody else for energy,” said Mike Preder, 32, who helps his father, Jeff, and mother, Kathy, raise growth hormone free Piedmontese cattle and free-range chickens on the 140 acre property.

Ed Ritger, a Random Lake attorney and the Preders’ next-door neighbor, is financing the $500,000 tower, with about half of the cost covered through grants offered from the federal government and Focus on Energy. Ritger, who owns a hobby farm, looks at the turbine as an investment that will pay for itself during a 10- to 15-year period, and be around to produce energy for a lot longer.

“It’s an investment, but it’s also an opportunity to send a message that we need to do more renewable energy,” said Ritger, 64. “That’s a message I’ve been preaching for a long time. So my wife and I are putting some dollars behind that message.”

The building in Random Lake where Ritger’s law firm is housed was equipped about a decade ago with solar panels. The panels power the building, and the excess electricity goes back to the power grid. He thought it would be a good idea to try building a turbine out in the country, and the Preders were receptive to the idea.

“We’ve been neighbors for 40 years, and you can’t put a wind turbine in the valley, (you) put it on the best hill that you’ve got,” Ritger said. “So that’s how this joint venture was put together; the Preders providing the site and the Ritgers providing the capital.”

The Preders, whose energy bills run about $400 a month, worked with Kettle View Renewable Energy, a Silver Lake firm, to acquire and install the wind turbine. The company, which has been in business since 2006, has put in turbines for the Cascade wastewater plant and at Random Lake High School. The turbine, with its 34½-foot long blades, that serves the Preder property can produce up to 120,000-kilowatt hours per year, about 30,000 more than the Preders usually consume annually. The turbine generates energy in wind speeds of 7 mph or greater.

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