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Black Butte going green
Black Butte Lake is going "green" with the installation of a 100-foot wind turbine at the Buckhorn Recreation Area campground.
A giant crane lifted the turbine into place on Wednesday morning as US Army Corps of Engineer staff and local Black Butte Rangers watched.
The project has been in the making for two years, according to Senior Ranger Bill Miller.
"We did a lot of research to find the best turbine to generate enough kilowatts for our needs," Miller said.
The one chosen is self-regulating, he said, which means it will not be running all of the time and should not disturb campers with a lot of noise.
It is one of the first wind turbines to be installed in an Army Corps facility, Miller added, and is aimed at sustainability.
The turbine will generate 11 kilowatts of electricity, which should supply the Buckhorn Campground when it is in use during the spring through fall.
High winds in the area make it a suitable location for the turbine, Miller said.
The turbine cost around $290,000 and is being paid for through President Barrack Obama's "green initiative" to reduce energy consumption in federal government facilities, Project Manager Brad Long said.
Solar panels also were installed on three of the main administration buildings for the Black Butte Lake as well, Miller said.
This project is not affected by the budget cuts proposed in Washington, DC, Miller said, and is already funded.
The contractor for the project is Tri-Technic of Sonora.
Steve Farinha is the project director for the company and said the turbine was scheduled to be tested on Friday to see how it worked.
Farinha said once an inter-connection agreement is finalized with Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the turbine could go online.
He said he could not predict exactly how much money the turbine will save Black Butte, adding that will take at least a year to determine.
Any electricity generated beyond the campground's needs will be sold to PG&E, Farinha said.
Miller said the turbine could become a "cornerstone" for the Army Corps. in the Sacramento District and is the first in the region.
That district runs from Black Butte Lake south to Lake Isabella near Bakersfield, Miller said.
"It's pretty spectacular," said Janice Mauerhan, of Paradise, who watched the turbine being installed. "That's amazing and even more amazing is the guy who just climbed the tower."
The workman climbed the tower to remove cables used in its installation.
"It's progress," Orland resident and lake volunteer Leroy Santos said. "I hope it brings more people and is more efficient."
Trudy Santos, also a volunteer, said she video taped the installation from beginning to end.
She plans to make a copy of it and give it to the park rangers.