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Ellensburg testing wind turbines to save you money

ELLENSBURG -- Ellensburg continues to take advantage of its best natural resource: Wind.

The city installed five different wind turbines with more on the way. It's all part of a project that's the first of its kind. The information it provides could eventually blow its way to Yakima.

"Instead of cursing the wind, now we are kind of applauding it," says Ellensburg woman, Jennifer Downing.

Jennifer invested in her own wind turbine. It's a giant neighbor she says is worth the noise.

"My husband calls it the sound of money," says Jennifer.

She's had the turbine for about three years now and sees the monthly savings on every utility bill. However, the cost to buy and install one ranges from $15-$25,000. It will take her about two more years to cover the cost.

"Each year the price is going down and efficiency is going up," says Ellensburg resource manager Gary Nystedt.

That trend will continue with the help of Ellensburg's Renewable's Park. Nystedt says it's one of the first of its kind.

"They have identified us as the first community project in the country," he adds.

The city will test each to find out just how much power they produce and how much money they will save you.

CWU, A national grant and residents are paying for the project. So far, the community park has 90 participants who support it and receive wind power each month. Nystedt says the idea is spreading to other nearby cities and states.

"They find out what we did, how we did it and how they can do something similar," says Nystedt. "It's very applicable to anyone in Yakima."

"We like green energy, and what's a better way to do it than have free money blowing at you?" says Jennifer.

The project is basically a demonstration for utility companies around the country. Ellensburg will take two years to collect the data and another six months to send the results to the Federal Department of Energy.

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