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Wind Power Use No-Brainer for Hotel Owner

July 24, 2012

Audio with Ron Wright, Greensburg, Kansas Best Western Night Watchman Inn owner (MP3 2.5 MB) Download Windows Media Player. Time: 00:02:38.

Imagine getting a phone call from someone who says the hotel you own and operate has been destroyed by a tornado. Imagine that tornado basically destroying the town you live in.

In 2007, a tornado destroyed the town of Greensburg, Kansas and Ron Wright, owner of the Best Western Night Watchman Inn, received that phone call. He was faced with a decision of rebuilding the only hotel in the city—and he didn't make that decision until almost three-years later. Wright was concerned as to whether or not the community would rebuild, but wind turbines brought hope to the community and brought it back to life.

Wright's new hotel is energy efficient in many ways and one way is the wind turbine it uses to generate power. Wright says he hadn't considered using a wind power generator, but he became interested when the community hospital installed a wind turbine.

"So I actually went next door to the hospital, found the administrator and said 'does it work?' And, she took off, very positively on why, and she indicated that their utility bill for electricity in this hospital, she said, was $18,000 a month. She was sure that it had cut $6,000 off. I didn't really believe that was a possibility, however, that did intrigue me. I was quite interested in that."

After researching everything about wind turbines for nearly two-months, Wright installed a 100-foot tall wind turbine on his hotel property.

"We've actually had the operation up with a wind generator for almost one-and-a-half years now. And what it's doing in real dollars, it is actually generating roughly $2,000 of electricity a month. Probably closer to $25,000 a year. And that's exactly what it's been doing, is in that anywhere from $1,900 to $2,300 a month of electricity, it's actually generating 50% of the electricity."

A hotel runs 24 hours a day so Wright says demand is high, but the turbine has kept costs down. He says the turbine's life projection is 20 years and should pay for itself after seven to eight years.

"I can't imagine why you wouldn't want to do this. It's actually an income-producing piece. How in the world could you get something that will generate this kind of income for this period of time? It's really proved to be a no-brainer."

For more information on wind power, visit

—Julie Jones