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Mid-Missourians look to renewable energy to prevent greenhouse gases

In March 2015, carbon dioxide levels were at there highest at 400 parts per million. This is the highest it’s been since record keeping began in 1958. Green house gases are part of Earth’s cycle and atmosphere, but it’s the burning of fossil fuels, using electricity, and burning wood that creates more of those greenhouse gases and traps heat from the sun. There are things we can do to prevent this.

We wanted to find out who in Mid-Missouri is using renewable energy, what they are using, and is it working.

There are currently 6 working wind project in northwestern Missouri, generating enough energy to power 110,000 homes.

We talked to a residential turbine owner who hasn’t had much success.

“I put these turbines in a few years ago, and I have not found these to be successful,” said Sellenriek.

One of the reasons for this is the threshold. Winds must be at 33 mph for the turbines to create energy. Also, if winds speeds exceed 45 mph, the turbines automatically shut off for safety reasons. A second reason is if the wind turbines are on and winds are below 33 mph, they are consuming energy instead of generating. Monitoring wind speeds closely like this can be difficult for some. Besides the turbine, Bob also has 104 solar panels.

“Those solar panels have been bringing in anywhere from $400 to $600 a month. Right now with the sun out, in the summer time, they work well.”

Not only is bob saving money at his home, the energy that isn’t used is then stored and sent down the line to his neighbor.

We talked to Columbia Safety Industrial here in Mid-Missouri who had 140 panels installed in November of 2013. We wanted to find out is it working and what the current return investment is.

“During the summer, when we have more sun, we’re actually generating more energy than we consume, and then during the more dim months we do have to pull from the grid a little bit, but we have seen those results since the panels have been installed. We are generating more than we are consuming.”

When ABC 17 sat down with Vice President of Business Development Caleb Messer, we found that solar panels were just the start of this renewable building. From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. they rarely turn their lights on.

“We’ve got motion detectors in the warehouse so the lights are only on whenever it’s necessary. We have lumen detectors inside the building, this makes sure it gets dark enough before the lights do kick on,” said Messer.

The safe level of CO2 levels in the atmosphere is 350 parts per million.

The way to get back to this level, is to transition from fossil fuels, to renewable energy.

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