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updated: 2/4/2011 5:20 PM

Aurora installs 2 wind turbines

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Wind turbines should be spinning by the end of February at two intersections on Aurora's east side, and more may be built this spring at the city's police headquarters, officials said Friday.

One turbine was installed at the intersection of Frontenac Road and McCoy Drive, while the other was installed at Fifth Street and Waterford Drive.

Funded by a federal energy efficiency and conservation grant, the turbines accompany new traffic signals at the intersections.

"(The) wind turbines should generate in excess of 10 to 20 times what the traffic signal will be using," traffic engineer Eric Gallt said in a written statement. "The turbines will generate enough energy to power the signals and additional energy will go into the power grid."

Each turbine is the same height as a streetlight pole -- 38 feet -- and even with spinning blades, the noise they generate will be comparable to the sound of two people having a conversation, city spokesman Kevin Stahr said.

The choice to harvest wind power is another step in the city's process of exploring avenues for energy conservation, Stahr said, and it may grow past the two turbines.

The city hired Shaw Group, a Chicago environmental firm, to conduct a wind study and determine whether adding several turbines to the police headquarters at 1200 E. Indian Trail Road is feasible, Stahr said. Barbara Kattermann, special assistant for development facilitation, said early results show strong southwest winds in the area.

"We're in wind alley out there and we didn't recognize or know it when we built the (police headquarters)," Kattermann said.

The turbines being considered for police headquarters would not have blades, but would feature a cylindrical design, she said. Construction may begin as soon as April.

"It'll be a very interesting science thing for the kids to see as they walk back and fourth to (Simmons Middle) school," Kattermann said.

Part of $1.57 million the city received in U.S. Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funding paid the turbine project's $117,400 price tag. If more turbines are built near police headquarters, the grant would fund them as well, Stahr said.