Richton Park has a new, 120-foot wind turbine, sitting next to the building that holds the village’s community center, village hall and the police and fire station.
“Alternative energy sources are the wave of the future,” said Rick Reinbold, the village president. “Richton Park is the first municipality in our region that has included wind turbine technology, I believe.”
Although the turbine was installed at the end of April, it is not yet operational. Theresa Thoms, Richton Park’s parks and recreation director, said the turbine is currently disengaged and officials are waiting for ComEd to set it up.
After it is connected, then the turbine, at 4445 Sauk Trail, will provide 4 percent of the community center’s electrical power, she said. “It may not sound like a lot, but extrapolated over a number of years, it is significant savings,” Reinbold said.
The cost of the turbine was $80,000, Thoms said. The village received a Renewable Energy Grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation, which provided half of the funding for the wind turbine.
“The Chicago Southland has an industrial legacy of manufacturing, construction and distribution,” Reinbold said in a letter to the Renewable Energy Grant program. “This legacy makes the Southland a logical place for the growth of ‘green collar jobs’ — that is, jobs in the design, manufacturing, installation and distribution of renewable energy and sustainable technologies.”
The turbine also can help to determine whether more should be added in the area. It can provide data that can document the area’s potential for generating electricity through wind turbines.
Reinbold said the turbine, which is near two schools, can be used as an educational tool.
“We hope to use the wind turbine to encourage wider adoption of the technology,” Reinbold said in the letter.