WYE MILLS-There's something new on the horizon in Wye Mills - the Eastern Shore's first community-scale wind turbine.
"It's raising a lot of questions, a lot of awareness, getting people to start thinking about renewable energy. It's just an amazing thing. It's just a stepping stone," said Todd Troester, Student Government Association president of Chesapeake College, of the new turbine campus.
Troester joined other students and administrators in welcoming Gov. Martin O'Malley and other state politicians Wednesday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the 50-kilowatt turbine. Preexisting turbines on the Eastern Shore are 20-kilowatts or smaller.
The white turbine is a striking addition to the landscape and is visible to drivers along Route 50.
"It puts the college known as the ‘college in the cornfield' on the map," said Michael D. Kilgus, the vice president for administrative services at Chesapeake College.
"I'm elated. I didn't know when I came here three years ago that there'd be this much [support] around this project and that we could actually get it done. And it's so exciting. I think you feel the energy from the people just as much as you feel the energy from the wind," said Chesapeake College President Dr. Barbara A. Viniar.
Brennen McLean, a senior sales director at Endurance Wind Power, the company that manufactured the machine, said that the turbine is designed to produce between 80,000 and 200,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year depending on wind levels.
McLean estimated that the Wye Mills turbine would generate approximately 90,000 to 110,000 kilowatt-hours annually, providing the average amount of electricity used by 10 to 12 households.