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Founder/Principle Engineer, Matney-Frantz Engineering
Contractor, Bozeman, Montana
Community wind projects are designed so that local farmers, investors, businesses, schools, or other community members have a direct financial stake. These projects are operating or planned in nearly every state where wind is being developed. For more information about developing a wind project in your community, visit Windustry's Community Wind Toolbox. More »
Growth in wind energy development and wind turbine technology is moving so fast that many used wind turbines—smaller and less powerful than those being manufactured today—are being taken down in working condition to make room for bigger, taller turbines that produce more power maximize power generation on an acre of land.
But the decommissioned turbines are not going to waste. That's where Claud Matney comes in to play.
Matney, 60, founded Bozeman, Montana based Matney-Frantz Engineering in 2002 to put new, refurbished and remanufactured wind turbines to work in community wind projects in cities, counties, school districts and for Native American tribes. These decommissioned turbines—many from southern California and Europe—can sometimes be reinstalled with minimal upgrade or remanufactured and create a pool of functional, 'community wind' sized turbines which can be reinstalled with minimal renovation cost.
In Texas, the Ballinger Independent School District is purchasing one of Matney's remanufactured turbines. At 750 kilowatts, the turbine will produce enough power to cut the district's monthly electric bill at least in half. Matney said the turbine is designed so that over the course of the year it will generate as much energy as the district consumes. The district also plans to make their school buildings more energy efficient.
Matney is also working with the Billings Montana School District to install a turbine this to offset their energy costs.
"Community wind acts like a seed. Right now we're at a fraction of the wind energy we're going to have in the US. City's, counties and school district's can generate their own power, or at least offset it," said Matney. "Community wind is a way to demonstrate wind power works and gain public support for it."