Keys Energy unveils wind turbines

rmccarthy@keynoter.comFebruary 1, 2012 

The wind turbines on Cudjoe Key will help power Keys Energy Services' substation.

Keys Energy Services is making the most of a state Clean Energy Grant it was awarded last summer. The most recent initiative -- a pair of wind turbines -- has been getting noticed a lot lately at the Lower Keys utility's Cudjoe Key substation.

Keys Energy spokesman Julio Barroso said the utility plans to track how much energy the turbines produce and make the information available on its website. Barroso said the plan was to install one on Cudjoe Key and another on Stock Island, but instead both were put in the same location.

The smaller turbine is 35 feet tall, the maximum height allowed under county rules. Keys Energy got a waiver to install the other one at 52 feet.

"It's always been said the Keys aren't a good area for wind generation. Our thinking was to gain some information and see if height had something to do with it," he said. "They're definitely there for a year and we'll see if we want to keep them both there or move another to perhaps the Stock Island substation. There's no plans one way or the other."

Barroso said whatever energy is produced by the experimental turbines would remain on site to help power the Cudjoe substation.

The $434,000 grant -- to be matched by up to $336,000 by Keys Energy -- is administered by the Department of Energy and made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Following are the other initiatives Keys Energy is pursuing in the grant:

  • Installing an energy management system to control lighting and cooling at the Keys Energy service building on James Street in Key West.

  • Constructing a 34-kilowatt solar array on a Keys Energy warehouse on Stock Island.

  • Offering $100,000 in rebates to qualifying customers who purchase energy efficient appliances.

  • Providing 225 residential energy surveys over 18 months, including distributing compact fluorescent light bulbs, low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators.

  • Hosting workshops for commercial customers to learn how to implement energy efficiency in their businesses.

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