Customer Success Stories
Delmarva Power Works With Customers for Wind Energy
|Tilghman Island residents, Dewayne and Dawn Stewart standing with their power-generating windmill.|
There’s a new tourist attraction along the main artery that connects St. Michaels to Tilghman Island on Maryland’s picturesque eastern shore. It stands 33 feet tall. Weighs 170 lbs. Spins 12 feet in diameter. And, most importantly, generates energy for Delmarva Power customers Dewayne and Dawn Stewart.
“We put it up one day and in a week’s time, at least a dozen people were calling and wanting information on them,” said Dewayne of his new windmill, which went up in the side yard of his two-acre property on Tilghman Island Road in June 2007.
Dewayne, 37, has both a personal and professional affinity for the windmill. The Tilghman Island native has spent 20 years working for the local electrician who’s decided to get into the wind turbine business. “It’s one more thing we’re trying to do now is install windmills,” Dewayne said of his employer, Fluharty’s Electric.
Dawn Stewart runs a daycare in the couple’s home. She says the windmill has at least kept their electricity bill stable, even after a June rate increase. “Our electricity rates have gone up since last year but the electric bill has not gone up so we’re at least seeing a difference,” Dawn said. The environmental benefit, she said, is what truly matters. “It would be nice to save money on our electric bill, but to know that we’re helping the environment is important too,” Dawn said.
When the Stewarts decided they were going to install the windmill on their property, they contacted Delmarva Power for information on how it’s done. “It was a pretty simple approval process,” Dewayne said.
Delmarva Power employee Lisa Holliday provided them with the application and standard requirements for installing a windmill on their property and connecting it to the regional power grid, a process which Delmarva Power calls Green Power Connection™. “The number of requests for both solar and windmill installations from our customers is growing every day,” Holliday said. “We’re happy to help people who want to generate electricity from clean, renewable energy sources.”
Since the Stewart’s windmill went up, Dewayne said he’s helped put up about five others, including another one on Tilghman Island. The cost of the land-based windmills ranges from $11,000 to $15,000, Dewayne said. Many states, including Delaware and Maryland, offer both residents and businesses rebates and tax deductions to help defray the cost of installing a renewable energy generating system.
Dewayne said the cost often depends on where the windmill is located. “The farther away from the house, the more wire is required and copper is very expensive right now.”
But, when it comes to wind energy, location matters, as the Stewarts have discovered. They opted to install their 33-foot wind turbine on the side of the yard closest to their Delmarva Power meter. Across the street, though, is a wooded area that can shift the direction of the wind away from their turbine. The result: only 92 kilowatt hours of electricity generated in three months.
|The view from Tilghman Island resident Frank Rehill’s house features his own power-generating windmill.|
“The way the wind comes off those woods, it’s not hitting the blades right,” Dewayne said, pointing at the tall pines across the street and north of the wind turbine. “That’s why ours is the first one. You live and learn.” He is now asking Talbot County for permission to replace his current windmill with a taller, 65-foot version. “If I get a taller structure, the trees shouldn’t interfere with it.”
It’s a different story at Frank Rehill’s house, another Delmarva Power customer who lives up the road from the Stewarts on the Chesapeake Bay on Tilghman Island.
In just one month, Rehill’s windmill generated 114 kilowatt hours of electricity – that’s a savings of about $15. The Rehill’s windmill also stands 33-feet tall but is located in their backyard about 100 feet from the Bay and a man-made rock bulkhead.
Watching the blades spin rapidly one windy fall day, Rehill gets excited about the savings. “Our goal was to help with the bill, and to do our little part for the environment,” he said. “I can’t stop pollution, but I can stop me from polluting.”
For more information on Green Power Connection™ as well as state and federal incentives for installing renewable energy generating systems, click Our Energy Future.