Located in a bean field atop a hill southeast of Valley City is a mechanical piece of alternative energy that farmer Jeff Wurzer hopes will cut his electricity bill in half.
Wurzer had a wind turbine installed on his farmland by Enterprise Sales of Valley City.
The turbine, which converts wind to energy, generating electricity, took under two months to install and is expected to have paid for itself within four years, according to Jack Hanson, solar and wind energy consultant at Enterprise Sales.
Enterprise Sales, which started as a seed and fertilizer company more than 60 years ago, and has evolved to offer steel buildings, grain bins and roofing, has been a local leader in alternative energy since 2007, when they sold their first wind turbine.
Hanson said Wurzer has a pretty ideal location for his wind tower, atop a hill and away from any major structures for miles but close enough to his house for easy access.
Although the tower was put further out into the field than Wurzer had originally wanted, Hanson thinks it will pay off because the tower will reach more wind in its location.
Wurzer said he wanted a wind tower put on his property because his electricity bill was getting so high, so he thought he’d try out a wind tower to see how that helped. He said if things go well, he also hopes to have a solar powered energy panel installed, which Enterprise Sales also installs.
“I’m always up for something new,” Wurzer said about alternative, greener forms of energy.
The turbine on Wurzer’s property is the 44th turbine Enterprise Sales has put up as a company. Hanson said they’ve even installed towers out west by Minot.
This particular wind turbine is a Danish design, which Hanson calls very simple and reliable due to its single 44 foot blade that “has proven really good.”
The turbine has only one blade, as opposed to a more common three, which makes for less maintenance and a smaller chance of malfunctioning parts.
It’s a downwind design, which means the wind orients the blade. Unlike commercial wind towers that have motors to move the blades in the direction of the wind, this turbine naturally follows the wind.
“You’ll see them just moving on their own all the time,” Hanson said.
The Danish company has been designing the turbines for 30 years, and they expect them to last 30 years “because they’ve worked all the bugs and then problems out of them,” according to Hanson.
To ensure turbines get their full 30-year lifespan, maintenance should be done yearly to compensate for the weathering of the turbines. Hanson said there’s a checklist of maintenance that includes greasing the parts and checking the gearbox.
Enterprise Sales performs maintenance on the turbines for the first year at no cost.
After the year is up, turbine owners can either continue to have Enterprise Sales perform maintenance for a yearly fee or perform the maintenance themselves.
From start to finish, the entire process of installing the wind turbine took less than two months.
One of the first steps was pouring concrete into a steel barrier into the ground.
CR Larson Concrete was the contracted concrete company. Chris Larson, owner, and his crew Justin Steffen and Justin Johnson, Valley City, poured the first part of the concrete July 17. Crew from Enterprise Sales, along with a crane company, put the tower up on August 31.