Windmills light up the District of Chetwynd
In 2004, the District of Chetwynd installed four windmills to power light emitting diode (LED) decorated trees as part of the national WinterLights Celebration Program.
The windmills are installed on free-standing towers which require only minimal footprint area and are both lightweight and of commercial duty material. The four windmills power 5,250 LED lights used to decorate a tree lined boulevard. Although initially installed for participation in the WinterLights Celebration Program, the trees remain lit throughout the year.
In 2009, Solar panels were added to support the energy storage of the batteries. The panels help power the lights year round while turning on and off using the sun as a natural timer.The decision to use windmill-generated power was based in part on the high cost of conventional electricity, and the District’s commitment to become better stewards of the environment.
The total cost for the project was $64,317, plus an estimated $1,500 per year in maintenance.The District of Chetwynd has received significant recognition as the first municipality in British Columbia to use wind power to help meet its energy needs.
In 2005, the District received a Community Excellence Award from the Union of BC Municipalities for their innovation and leadership.The installation of these windmills, as a leading edge green technology, has sparked interest from other communities and will hopefully serve as a lasting example of how windpower can be harnessed to meet the energy needs of communities across the Province.