Windmills appear in Michiana

You might be surprised to find out what’s being sold as ‘the next big thing’ in home appliances.

Apparently, windmills aren’t just for Holland anymore.

“I think every home should have something like this,” said David Smith, with Wind-Wire Energy Solutions.

In St. Joseph County there are five pending requests for windmill construction permits.

Recently, units have also been built in Marshall, Elkhart, and Berrien counties. There are those who would like to see a windmill in every yard.

“Why not with the increased cost of fuel this is one way
to save money,” Smith said.

Today Smith showed News Center 16 a unit in the back yard of a LaPorte County home. It stands 40-feet high, and costs $13,700 installed.

Some say it’s worth it, just to see the occasional impact on the electric meter. “It’s rotating backwards right now, and that’s the key to the ball game,” said Smith. “All of the sudden they’re getting credited for that electric that’s going back into the grid.”

Smith contends that the unit can generate as much as 15-hundred kilowatts per month. That’s designed to be enough to eliminate the electric bill for a 20-thousand square foot home.

When asked if the company was ever denied permission to install a residential wind energy conversion system, Smith held up one finger and said that the “City of Schererville” once told him it wasn’t going to issue a building permit for a windmill project.

After all, windmills aren’t lawn ornaments, and there may be some negative as well as positive aspects to ‘do it yourself’ at-home electrical generation.

“What I do want to guard against is having too many, too close, to too many properties, and that’s primarily in the city,” said Chuck Bulot, the St. Joseph County Building Commissioner.

St. Joseph County officials want to write specific rules geared at wind generation devices, before the infatuation with windmills gets out of hand.

“Right now, I've gotten a recent rash of calls from people who insist that it's their constitutional right to put one of these up in their yard, and its not,” said Bulot.

There are currently two windmills located in the city limits of Mishawaka. Those windmills were part of the construction of a new First Federal Savings branch off Edison near Hickory.

For more information on Wind-Wire Energy Solutions, you can write to them at P.O. Box 10208, South Bend, Indiana, 46680. The company can be reached by telephone at 574-261-6539.

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