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H-E-B yesterday completed the installation of a vertical axis wind turbine at its retail support center in Weslaco, Texas that is generating electricity at speeds as low as four miles per hour.
The grocer worked with Wind Energy Corp. on the turbine, which is installed adjacent to the facility. "At the outset, we have looked at this research and development partnership as a unique opportunity for us to conduct our business in a responsible and sustainable way while contributing to the development of a revolutionary energy solution," said Shelley Parks, director of South Texas public affairs for H-E-B. "Today validates our initial investment, and we [will] continue to work with Wind Energy to understand viable alternative energy solutions."
The partnership, which began February 2008, consists of an 18 to 24 month wind resource research project at the Weslaco site. The turbine is located atop a 100-foot tower and is flanked by two 195-foot tall meteorological towers, which were installed in March 2008 and have been collecting high resolution wind data for the past 6 months.
"This successful installation and the generation of electricity at low wind speeds will revolutionize the renewable energy marketplace," said James Fugitte, chairman and c.e.o., Wind Energy. "The monitoring towers are providing information about the characteristics of the wind that is spinning the turbine."
H_E-B's Weslaco site was chosen because of its wind conditions and the opportunity for a secure location in which to conduct the necessary research. This research and development project will allow Wind Energy and H_E-B to determine how much electricity the system can provide to the facility and what opportunities will emerge for future power distribution. Both companies continue to work closely with the City of Weslaco regarding the positive community impact of the project.
HEB operates more than 300 stores in Texas and Northern Mexico.