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Caroline man generating his own electrical power page 2
Turbine electricity helps power house in Caroline; owner starting biz to sell wind power

 Roger Cavendish recently installed a wind turbine in his backyard to power his home.
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Date published: 9/15/2008

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A greater purpose

Cavendish said he supports a plan being advertised nationally by former oilman T. Boone Pickens. The billionaire investor is now promoting windmill-generated power and natural gas as alternative energy sources to help end America's dependence on foreign oil.

Cavendish's lone turbine is a far cry from wind farms proposed across the country, but he thinks he's doing his part to help solve the nation's energy problems.

He said he's not involved in any political efforts to push wind energy, but has strong feelings on the subject.

"In 1978, there was a choice," Cavendish said of an alternative energy plan by President Jimmy Carter to lessen U.S. dependence on foreign oil. "It's not a choice today."

He insists the country has to "get off oil" because fossil fuels will someday run out. The supply of wind, on the other hand, is endless.

"There's so many downsides to fossil fuels," he said. "They justify it by saying it's cheap, but what it's doing to the environment isn't cheap."

spreading wind power

Cavendish admits that he hasn't gone all green. While more motorists are switching to hybrids, he still drives a diesel-powered pickup.

"Truly, I'm as guilty as anyone else for this crisis," he said.

But Cavendish is taking his belief in the power of wind a step further. As co-president of Phoenix Masonry Inc. with his son, he's launching a new division to sell the same kind of wind turbine he uses at home.

He may be onto something profitable with this new venture, which he calls Spotsy Wind Energy.

The American Wind Energy Association reports that sales for small wind turbines went up by 14 percent last year, with more than 9,000 sold.

The group also said on its Web site, awea.org, that "small wind systems in the U.S. displace an estimated 60,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of taking 10,000 cars off the road."

Cavendish said Spotsy Wind Energy is negotiating with an area home builder to offer turbines as an option for new homes.

"The first week we had it, I'd have two or three cars parked in the driveway," he said of his home turbine.

"Several people are waiting to see the electric bills to see if it will be worthwhile for them."

Corey Byers: 540/735-1976
Email: cbyers@freelancestar.com


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COST-EFFICIENCY OF TURBINE Roger Cavendish looked back at his electric bills for each August over the past five years and developed an estimate for what he will save this month with a turbine generating two-thirds of the power for his all-electric home. He plans to track bills for the next year to find out exactly what he's saving annually.

$477

Highest bill (August 2006)

$230

Lowest bill (August 2008)

$162

Estimated bill this month

$7,400

Total cost of turbine