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By Tech. Sgt. Erica Picariello, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 14, 2018
CAPE COD AIR FORCE STATION, MA. – Stephen Mellin, 6th Space Warning Squadron support officer, educates out-of-state media on the wind turbines and their mission at CCAFS Oct. 25, 2018. The turbines are not only churning energy back into the grid, but also reducing the annual budget to operate CCAFS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Erica Picariello)
It’s been four years since the wind turbines were installed on Cape Cod Air Force Station, Mass., and as C.S. Lewis, an British writer, once said, “You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down.”
In this case, the Air Force found the tangible strength of the winds on Cape Cod and harnessed them to decrease their energy footprint and to continue the Air Force’s pledge to be good stewards of the environment by using 25 percent renewable energy by 2025.
“The most visible impact [of the wind turbines] is a reduction in our electric bill,” said Stephen Mellin, 6th Space Warning Squadron support officer. “Typically, our annual bill is around $1.5 to $1.6 million per year, that's almost $5,000 per day. The electricity generated by the wind turbines provided power to the local electrical grid and we get a credit on our bill from the local utility company.”
The turbines are not only churning energy back into the grid, but also reducing the annual budget to operate CCAFS.
“The credits are averaging about $1.4 million per year, effectively reducing our electric bill to $200,000 a year. That is funding that the 21st Space Wing can put to other uses.”
The turbines not only benefit the Air Force, but also the local community.
“Cape Cod AFS is a great place to harness the free power of wind energy,” said Brian O’Leary, 21st SW Civil Engineer Squadron energy manager. “But due to the variability of wind speed, the wind farm can't be directly connected to CCAFS’s large radar system. Instead, the wind farm feeds power to the local grid and CCAFS gets reimbursed for the electricity produced. It's a great investment!”
C.S. Lewis said you can’t find the strength of a wind by lying down, and that’s true for these wind turbines also.
According to O’Leary, they stand erect at 270 feet with 131 foot long blades turning at 10-20 revolutions per minute.
The turbines stature and placement serves as a constant reminder to the local community of the Air Force’s commitment to renewable energy.
“Our wind turbines serve as a very visible reminder to the local communities that the Air Force is committed to renewable energy,” Mellin said. “They really stand out as local residents and visitors to Cape Cod cross over the Cape Cod Canal. They are directly in front of you as you cross the Sagamore Bridge. Since our two wind turbines were installed, we have had nothing but positive comments from the local community.”