The renewable energy community on Long Island is buzzing because there has been a new addition to the North Fork skyline. Standing at 121 feet tall, the Northwind 100 is the largest wind turbine to be installed on Long Island yet. The proud owner of the 100 kilowatt turbine is Half Hallow Nurseries, a farm comprising 1200 acres of Laurel, NY. The turbine will supply an estimated 157,000 kilowatt hours, enough to power the entire farm, and provide some extra energy to the local grid. The installation of this 100 kilowatt wind turbine by Eastern Energy Systems, Inc. will hopefully open up doors to Long Island’s energy producing future. The commission of this new turbine will likely be one of several for 2010, and likely one of many for this new decade.
The installation of this turbine turine will hopefully open awareness about the capabilities of wind power for long island, and with the large press coverage on the new installation, other farms and businesses will likely take advantage of Long Island’s wind resource. For most businesses, the payback period for a wind turbine is much smaller than a residence or municipality. Businesses not only can take advantage of federal and state tax incentives, but they can also depreciate the turbine as business equipment as well as receive a generous rebate from LIPA. With the incentives available businesses can see a payback periods of 3-5 years. After that period the business investor will automatically see positive return in terms of energy savings with the possibility of selling excess power back to the grid. For a Long Island business with sufficient property, wind energy is a no brainer.
The only roadblock? The town code, however Suffolk county is likely to experience a standard code soon. For now speak to your town about their policies, and with public interest, changes are likely to happen!
On September 29, the town of Islip made an important decision to amend their already innovative wind code. The town now permits wind turbines in Industrial Districts to be erected on towers as high as 156 feet. Previously the town restricted turbine heights to a maximum of 70 feet in industrial districts. Their new code more than doubles the previously allowed height.
The addition to this wind code opens the doors for many businesses located in the Industrial Districts of Islip. The new code can accommodate the installation of a 100kW turbine which requires a tower height of 120 feet. In basic terms a 100kW has the capability of powering an entire factory. According to Roger Jette, the CEO and President of Snake Tray, a single 100kW turbine could allow his company to become the first manufacturer to be powered by 100% renewable energy. (See previous blog: What can a Wind Turbine Provide for Local Business?) That would be an amazing feat! Wind power can now be an amazing option for any business looking to decrease their overhead costs, and help out the environment too.
Installing this turbine would allow Roger Jette, president and CEO of Cable Management Inc. to install the 100 KW turbine that would provide 100% renewable energy for manufacturing of the company’s products. (see “What Can a Wind Turbine Provide for a Local Business”). “We’re going to allow them to produce, most if not all of their power from the greatest source of renewable energy,” Councilmen John Edwards said.
Times are changing and the answer is blowing in the wind. The verdict of this decision will come on September 15, 2009. For now the Windy Island campaign will continue to lay the ground work for wind code on Long Island.
Last weekend, I was driving a along RI route 138 en route to Newport, simply taking in the scent of salt air, and the sights of sail boats bobbing on the Narragansett’s blue waves. Then I suddenly caught a glimpse of a 1.5 MW turbine spinning in the ocean breeze. I could not contain my excitement! I insisted we pull over immediately and get a closer look at it. Unfortunately, my friends weren’t nearly as excited as I was, and we did have a ferry to catch.
On the ferry, I soon caught a glimpse of a second turbine on the mainland, and I immediately zig-zagged through the parked cars to other side of the boat for a better view. The other turbine was a 660 KW turbine, about half the size of the first. My friends simply could not understand my childish excitement over a wind turbine. Yes, I was mesmerized by the blades spinning, and the majesty of this engineered structure, but I was more captivated by the symbol of what the turbine was providing for the local Portsmouth community (18,000 people). The 1.5 MW turbine provides 75% of the town’s power.
This town is almost energy independent, meaning their electric bills would not be held hostage by Mideast affairs, their carbon footprint would be decreased tremendously; the town will have cleaner air to breathe, and fresher water to swim in.
Best of all, there is talk of a third turbine in Portsmouth and the state of Rhode Island is looking into installing a 110 turbine wind farm off the coast. The wind farm would provide 15% of the state’s power! The idea of community wind should definitely be further explored on Long Island, since we share the same great resource as our Northern cousin.
Check out the clip from CNN:
Snake Tray is an expanding business in the township of Islip that manufactures and sells innovative electrical and communications solutions for use both locally and internationally. The company holds 20 patents on its products and also designs and builds many of its own machines for factory use. This socially responsible organization not only provides products to build sustainable and LEED certified buildings but it also provides a learning environment for recently immigrated workers. A volunteer conducts English and literacy classes for all workers once a week while they are still on the clock. Snake Tray President Roger Jette claims, “I am not happy unless I am teaching or learning.”
So where does a 100 kilowatt turbine fit into the picture? Power rates and taxes are very high on Long Island, making overhead costs for a Long Island business much higher than other parts of the country. Snake Tray has been romanced by several states in the US to relocate this profitable company but Mr. Jette doesn’t want to leave. “I was trying to stay on LI and my thought was how could I go green,” Mr. Jette said. After investigating renewable energy technologies, the solution was wind energy. Wind energy has a better cap cost, generous rebates, and tax incentives. Everything seemed to meet for Snake Tray with technology, the political atmosphere, financial strength of the company, and eligibility for depreciation. It was an “offer you can’t refuse,” said Mr. Jette. A wind turbine would decrease Snake Tray’s overhead costs, increase the LEED certification of their products by four points, decrease their carbon footprint, and attract international press for the company. Snake Tray could become the first manufacturer to be powered by 100% renewable energy. “The wind turbine would mean something to the people who work here, the people who buy products, the environment, and the people who fight overseas,” said Mr. Jette, “I have a cousin who is a full colonel deployed in Iraq fighting for oil and I would like to see him come home.”
So why isn’t there a turbine spinning outside Snake Tray’s factory? Town code is currently a limiting factor on Long Island. Islip does have a commendable wind code, but the turbine Snake Tray wants to install does not fit into the current code. The Windy Island campaign is working closely with the Town of Islip and Eastern Energy Systems to make this vision a reality. “If we can generate energy using wind here, let us use the fossil fuels for exciting things, like traveling the world on a jet liner,” said Mr. Jette.
Hello fellow Long Islanders! Are you wondering what website you have just stumbled upon? This is the Windy Island Campaign, of course. Why Windy Island? Long Island actually has an excellent wind resource as a result of our convenient geographic location. At just an average speed of 11.2 mph, wind can be quite profitable for the residential consumer or the local startup business. At 100ft, mean annual wind speed for southern and eastern long island is well above 11.2 mph (map below), making these locations, very profitable.
Great! So why haven’t we tapped this free, renewable resource? Well, only five townships even have a code for wind turbines, and most of these codes have unnecessary restrictions on height and property size. Why? These monuments of independence are low maintenance and designed to rotate at a noise level at or below the ambient noise of an average suburban community. Wind turbines are rated at 120mph winds, so most hurricanes will not have the strength to collapse these robust turbine towers.
AND, wind power will decrease our carbon footprint, lighten the power demand for LIPA and decrease foreign dependence on oil. Oh yeah, the payback period is 6-8 years for a resident and even less for a business who can depreciate the equipment. That’s what I would like to call a no brainer! What do you think? Browse the site, and take our surveys. The wind is whispering your name, find out if wind energy is right for you.
LIPA Wind Resource Map: light purple and darker colors illustrate excellent wind resources.
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