By Joan Tupponce
STIHL Inc. hopes to generate power and help reduce energy consumption at its Virginia Beach campus by adding more wind turbines.
The company, which makes outdoor power equipment, installed two wind turbines at its London Bridge Road guide bar manufacturing plant in September 2011. “We wanted to see if the product was going to work,” says special project manager Ben Hoffmann. “Earlier this year we decided we wanted to put up four more turbines.”
The Virginia Beach Planning Commission and City Council have approved the company’s request to add up to seven turbines at its campus near Lynnhaven Parkway. “Because the approval process is complicated we wanted to do the request for all seven at once and install four initially,” Hoffmann says. “We didn’t hit any roadblocks.”
The four new turbines will be used on the warehouse, which is connected to the company’s production facility. The more power the turbines generate the less the company draws from the public grid. “The power generated depends on the winds,” Hoffman says, noting that winds as low as one-half miles per hour can be used to produce power with these generators. “There are tables that estimate the winds in this area, but they are not very specific as to where in Virginia Beach. We wanted to see what we actually got as far as wind at the campus location.”
The company got more wind than it expected the first time the original turbines were put into use. “If you get a wind about 30 miles per hour, you get an output of 2.25 kilowatts per hour,” Hoffmann says.
The turbines being used are six feet in diameter and sit up approximately two feet off the roof, increasing the building’s height by eight feet. “That is usually not an issue,” Hoffmann says. “We are next to Naval Air Station Oceana. It doesn’t interfere with the Navy or any other organization in the area.”
The company doesn’t get a tax credit for the wind turbines but it does get credit for the purchase price, Hoffmann adds. “The federal tax incentives are about 30 percent of the purchase price. These types of turbines are fairly inexpensive. You could put the same type on a residential roof.”
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