Big Wind at the Drive-In - NBC Chicago

Big Wind at the Drive-In

Central Illinois man turns to wind turbines for power



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    A Central Illinois business owner believes his is the world's first wind-powered drive-in.

    “Gone with the Wind” might be an all-time great movie. But frankly, my dear, it just wouldn’t cut it on the marquee at the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In, reports.

    Mike Harroun says the wind blows a steady 12 to 15 miles an hour around the central Illinois town of Gibson City.

    That's why he's set up two energy-producing wind turbines at the entrance of his drive-In. Harroun believes the Harvest Moon is the world's first wind-powered drive-in.

    The electricity the turbines produce is fed into the power grid and the theater is credited for it. That includes the six months a year the theater is closed.

    Harroun says initially his power costs will be cut by 30 percent. He hopes to pass those savings to customers in the form of
    lower ticket and concession prices.

    And, eventually, he hopes to generate enough power to cover his drive-in's needs.

    “I don’t know why no one else has thought of this before,” Harroun said. “My thought is it’s the next big thing coming,” namely, homes and small business powered by the wind turbines.

    The theater sits on the outskirts of Gibson City, about 30 miles north of Champaign.