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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Federal aid helping rural Wisconsin power itself

From a story on WQOW, Eau Claire:

Dunn County (WQOW) - Millions of dollars in federal aid are heading to rural Wisconsin to help our farms and businesses. Part of the goal is for them to become more energy efficient. It's part of a program to reduce energy consumption and stir the economy.

Deborah Dillaway hopes to lead the way with her 90-foot wind turbine.

"We see people driving a car that's fuel efficient," Deborah says. "We see people with solar panels. As it comes more commonplace, more people will think of supplementing the use or dependence they have on fossil fuels."

This tower does just that, sitting on Deborah's 200-acre farm in Dunn County.

The turbine produces electricity, which is then transferred to the local energy cooperative, where it's used by other customers on the grid. For that, Deborah gets a credit on her bill.

She's one of the first in the area to make this investment.

"It has to start somewhere and people will see it," Deborah says.

And with a $93,000 dollar price tag, it is an investment. But the USDA helped, giving a $19,000 grant through a program meant to reduce rural energy consumption and stimulate local economies.

Forty-five farms and businesses in Wisconsin have received similar funding, totaling nearly $3 million in aid for projects.

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