VAN WERT, Ohio — Cooper Farms Cooked Meats has joined the wind-power movement, recently installing two 1.5 megawatt wind turbines.
The turbines, which should be fully functioning by mid-February, will provide more than 50 percent of the Van Wert plant’s power needs.
They join a group of turbines that are now a part of the Van Wert county skyline, but the decision was made carefully, 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,” said 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 percent of our electrical needs at the Cooked Meats plant.”
Construction work for the two towers began last September, with work on the foundations. The turbines were delivered in November and installation was complete by Dec. 30, 2011.
Full output should be reached by the middle of February.
“This investment was a part of an overall sustainability goal,” said 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.”
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, Ohio, 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.
“If they do work as our studies have predicted, then there may be other areas in our company that would benefit from wind energy,” said Jim Cooper.
Cooper Farms grows turkeys, chickens, egg layers and hogs.