As we told you earlier this week, College Station residents are getting the option to have some or all of their power come from wind energy. A wind farm is rising in West Texas, and utility leaders hope residents will jump on board, even with a catch.
They're not towering like the turbines of Sweetwater yet, but near Abilene, some 30 pilars of wind energy are being constructed, and College Station is in on the deal.
By 2015, an estimated 30 percent of energy out of the South Trent Mesa Wind Farm will go through ERCOT's grid and to College Station.
"We have enough energy coming in to where we could actually supply up to 3,000 customers with full wind," said College Station Utilities Director David Massey. "The way the numbers are looking right now, I really would not doubt that we'd have a thousand customers signed up by September."
A year-and-a-half ago, College Station's elected leaders signed off on the deal, no cost up front to the city, but of course, a portion of your bill going back to the farm, and therein lies the catch of sorts.
You can either have 10 percent, half or all of your power supplied from wind through the Wind Watts program. CSU says the average customer is paying around $105 each month. If you'd opt for the 10 percent option in Wind Watts, you'd pay an estimated $3.50 or $4 more each month. If you go for full wind, your bill would rise $30 a month.
So why should a person who's pay more than ever for food and fuel spend more on energy?
"I believe from what I've heard from customers who are interested in it is that it makes them feel good to know that they're doing something for the environment long-term," Massey said, adding they've got 100 customers already signed up without having gone full-boar on their Wind Watts campaign, and with a lot of younger customers out of school and out of town.
"Natural gas prices are very high , but the supply is short, and anything you can do to make that better is just going to be better for everyone in the long run," Massey said.
So says the company that hopes their interest in West Texas wind brings change to many.
Right now, all power coming to College Station customers is natural gas-based according to Massey. That will not only change with the addition of wind power, but in 2010, College Station Utilities plans on adding coal powered energy to their mix.
Click on the link below to find more information on Wind Watts through the city. You'll find a link to an FAQ section on that page.