Residents Put Up Wind Turbine In WOC

WEST OCEAN CITY – A West Ocean City homeowner has pioneered a new approach to energy generation at his Selsey Rd. home with the addition of a wind turbine on his bayside property.

Monty and Sara Lewis installed an electricity-generating wind turbine over the winter to defray energy costs.

“It’s very exciting. We’re quite pleased,” said Sara Lewis.

The Lewises have been thinking of adding a wind turbine to their home since the 1970s, when they moved into the property, but costs were too high then. Monty has had a small wind turbine on his boat for several years, which charges a battery, so he has seen the effects of wind power first hand.

With soaring energy prices peaking last summer, the couple became serious about making a partial change to green energy.

After “following every rule I could find,” Lewis said, on setbacks and installation of a wind turbine, and getting the permission of the neighbors, the green energy structure came online on March 5.

Worcester County has no specific regulations on wind turbines.

The wind turbine generates enough electricity to supply about one-third of the Lewis household’s energy needs, cutting their energy bill correspondingly.

“It’s a help,” Monty Lewis said.

A software program provides statistics on the amount of energy generated.

“It’s prevented the release of about 400 pounds of carbon as compared to electricity produced by coal,” Lewis said, in the month he’s been using the wind turbine.

Lewis expects to see 300 to 350 kilowatt hours of electricity per month from the new structure.

“It certainly won’t take care of my electric heat or oven or clothes dryer or any big draw appliance,” Lewis said.

The installation and purchase of the turbine cost roughly $14,000, with the turbine accounting for a little under half the cost at $6,200.

Lewis predicts that the wind turbine will pay for itself in seven to eight years. He hopes to get about $5,000 in grant money from Maryland Windswept to defray the cost, and should get a tax credit for installing the electricity-generating system.

The entire structure is about 40 feet high, the height roughly of area utility poles. The wind turbine has 12-foot-long curved blades.