Cooper Farms Cooked Meats has joined the wind-power revolution, having recently installed two 1.5 megawatt wind turbines. The turbines, which should be fully functioning by mid-February, will provide over 50% of the Van Wert plant's power needs, and save valuable natural resources.
Though these only add to the multitude of turbines that are now a part of the Van Wert county skyline, the decision was made through careful research and planning, said owners Jim and Gary Cooper.
"We created a team of individuals whose job it was to explore the possibilities of using wind turbines here at our Van Wert location," says Jim Cooper, CEO of Cooper Farms. "Their finding was that it did make economic and sustainability sense to use wind energy for a portion of our electrical needs. The two turbines should produce about 60% of our electrical needs at the Cooked Meats plant."
Construction work for the two towers began in mid-September of 2011, with work on the foundations.
The turbines were delivered by November and installation was complete by Dec. 30, 2011. During the month of January the equipment has been under testing. Full output should be reached by the middle of February.
Cooper Farms has always maintained a commitment to the environment and sustainable practices, making the switch to wind energy, lessening the company's environmental impact, a natural decision.
"This investment was a part of an overall sustainability goal," says Gary Cooper, COO. "We have been investing in a wide variety of projects over the years. All of which help to improve our local environment by reducing our overall use of national resources and becoming more efficient in our use of utilities. Our large investment in these two turbines is just another example of our sustainability initiatives."
Each tower has a total height of 421 feet. Components of the turbines were made in both the USA and China. Cooper Farms has also utilized a variety of local contractors during the construction of the two wind turbines. One Energy of Findlay, was commissioned to head the project while local contractors fulfilled needs for stone driveways, concrete, field tile repair, turbine installation and electrical work.
While no other wind turbines are planned for Cooper Farms at the moment, both Coopers acknowledge that it is not out of the question.
"We will be studying the effectiveness of the two turbines we now have over the next few years. If they do work as our studies have predicted, then there may be other areas in our company that would benefit from wind energy," says Jim Cooper.