A Step Toward Energy Independence

May 4, 2018
Wisconsin village becomes home to the first net-zero energy wastewater treatment plant in the state

Faced with rising power costs and a volatile energy future, village of Cascade, Wis., trustees were determined to offer forward-thinking solutions to one question: How could they pay for their community’s assets? The answer was apparently blowing in the wind, across a small hill where the village’s wastewater treatment plant is located.

Two NPS 100-21 turbines were purchased to generate the energy required to power the facility’s aeration system, making it the first net-zero energy wastewater plant in the state of Wisconsin.

The village of Cascade expected to save approximately $30,000 a year with their two Northern Power Systems turbines—a significant amount for a community with an annual town budget of $330,000. Because the winds were not as high as originally expected, the town’s energy cost dropped from $3,000 per month before the turbines, to $1,200 after installation. Public response to the turbine remains very positive.

“With these two turbines, the village of Cascade has taken a giant step toward energy independence. Its prudent investment in wind will enable the community to control its budget, saving money for current and future residents,” said Michael Vickerman, executive director of Renew Wisconsin.

Community Models Wind Energy Solutions

Aside from the financial benefits of this project, the village of Cascade trustees also understood the educational importance of this type of renewable energy project for local students as well as other municipalities in Wisconsin. They were embracing new long-term energy solutions and moving swiftly to implement them. If their small community of 700 residents could do it, why not others?

Local teachers and students can track real-time turbine performance, output and environmental offsets by accessing the NPS 100’s PublicView Web portal, part of the Wind for Schools program, offering a hands-on way to link the renewable energy resource directly with the residents that are benefiting from it.

“It’s a source of pride for the community and it’s something we want to show off. Hopefully it will be something other communities can follow,” said Joe Harrison, village trustee.

Making the Right Choice

The gearless design of the NPS 100-21 ensures its quiet and reliable operation for 20-plus years. With anticipated increases in electrical rates, the village of Cascade will save close to $1 million by producing their own clean, domestic energy while reducing their carbon footprint. Furthermore, its low height profile and sleek design make the NPS 100-21 a welcome addition in most community settings—making it an ideal choice for resorts, hospitals, grocery stores, churches and farms from Alaska to Italy.

Trevor R. Atkinson is sales and business development manager for Northern Power Systems.

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