CASHTON, Wis. -- Organic Valley and Gundersen Lutheran are one step closer to reaching their energy independence goals.
On Wednesday, the two organizations celebrated the completion of two wind turbines constructed in Cashton.
It's taken nearly five years to make the wind farm become a reality.
The community wind project is the first of its kind in Wisconsin.
While it should help Cashton and Organic Valley financially, the project organizers also have their sights set on improving the community's health.
Wind energy makes sense to Ontario man Ed Bredlow.
"The wind is free, so might as well take advantage of it," said Bredlow.
Bredlow's curiosity brought him and his wife out to see Organic Valley and Gundersen Lutheran celebrate the completion of the Cashton Greens Wind Farm.
It includes two turbines, each more than 480 feet tall and producing enough energy to power about 1,000 homes a year.
"Energy goes to the local grid in this community and gets consumed by local facilities. Wherever the load is is where the electricity goes. So, Cashton, La Farge, Organic Valley Distribution Center is primarily where the energy will be consumed," said Jeff Rich with Gundersen Lutheran.
The project helps Organic Valley offset almost 90 percent of their carbon footprint.
"We do a lot of projects around renewable energy right now, and it is our goal to be completely offsetting our footprint through renewable energy," said Cecil Wright with Organic Valley.
The project moves Gundersen Lutheran 5 percent closer to its goal of being energy independent -- a goal aimed at improving people's health.
"Gundersen Lutheran's Envision Program is trying to improve health, and we're not using fossil fuel emissions here with this project. It's clean, and it's also helpful with our cost of energy. We're getting paid for the energy we produce here. It's a good thing for health and for our area, and it keeps the dollars local," said Rich.
It's a goal Bredlow is all for.
"I think it's a good thing. It's clean energy. Getting it up there is expensive, but the wind is always here, and it's clean," said Bredlow.
The project cost $10 million.
The turbines have been running since June 1.
Organizers say Cashton residents should see a slight decrease in their energy bill because of the project.