What is Wind Power?
Wind Power uses a wind turbine/windmill (a set of blades attached to a turbine) to generate electricity from the wind. If the wind turbine is properly situated (not blocked by obstructions and high enough to catch strong winds), when the wind blows, power is generated. This power can either be stored locally in batteries or directly put into the nearest electric grid.
Where is Hope Farm?
See the Hope Farm Home Page or this Google Map. Our property is a roughly square 18 acres near the top of a hill in East Bloomfield, NY. Our house is on the northwest corner of our property. The wind turbine is located towards the top of the hill as allowed by regulations for setbacks from our house, roads, and other buildings. The turbine part of the wind turbine is on a tower, but the power flows to the barn where a power processor converts, inverts, and cleans up the power and then feeds it into the grid.
1. Environment - Although not constant, wind is a clean renewable resource. By using wind, we reduce the need to use electricity powered by burning coal, natural gas, or nuclear power plants. Wind is one of the cleanest and cheapest forms of power production, producing no dangerous waste.
2. Money - There is a short-term cash outlay to build a wind turbine, but in the long-term the money saved by producing our own power will more than pay-back the initial costs.
NY State and the US Government have several incentives for building wind power installations. Through the US Government's EnergyStar program we received a 30% Federal Tax credit for building the wind turbine. NYS's Power Naturally program paid ~½ the cost of the wind turbine, tower, and installation. NY State will only contribute towards a wind turbine that is scaled to provide no more than 110% of the power for the residents on site. NY State will not contribute for the additional costs of a battery system to store electricity, so we opted for a grid tied system without battery backup. Our power is provided by RGE. If there is a power outage from RGE, we lose power. The turbine, which is on an isolated circuit, does not contribute directly to our electrical needs. We have an emergency backup generator (natural gas) in case of a power failure.
We have two electric meters with RGE. One is on the house (what we use) and one is in the barn by the power processor (what we produce.) Each month RGE compares what we use versus what we produce. If we use more than we produce, then we pay RGE just as any normal customer would. If we produce more than we use, RGE credits our "bank" for any excess power. If we have money in our "bank," RGE will use that money before billing us. If we have money in our "bank" on the anniversary date of our installation, RGE will credit our account with the option of us requesting a check. Besides RGE buying power for less than they sell it, they also charge a monthly management fee to be connected to the grid (~$20.) As of this time, RGE doesn't show our "bank" on our bill.
We were in the house approximately six months before the wind turbine was installed. RGE billing was inconsistent during installation. Below is a sample of RGE bills before and after the wind turbine.
Months to break even on out of pocket (not including interest):
At this current rate, wind turbine should pay for itself in five to six years.
Note: this is only a rough estimate. I do not have a complete year of data, and I'm not comparing the same months. Your results may vary, especially if retrofitting an old house. We built new, planned for the wind turbine, and have an all electric house.
Besides us, we used SED (Sustainable Energy Developments, Inc.) to plan out the project, help with permits and incentives, and build the wind turbine. They are the largest Bergey wind turbine installer in New York, the 3rd largest in the United States, and the 5th largest Bergey installer world-wide.
They specialize in Bergey turbines because they are the largest small private turbine manufactuer in the US and offer the longest warranties.
SED is great! They offer turn-key service and take care of everything. If you are thinking of a wind turbine project, we highly recommend you contact them. Call SED at 585-265-2384 or email them here.
Tell SED that Lee and Sally Frank at Hope Farm sent you (we get a discount for maintenance based on successful referrals).
BTW: Permitting was one of the hardest parts of the process.
East Bloomfield allows wind turbines up to 115', but because we wanted to get the wind turbine above the top of the hill, we wanted to go to 130', and therefore needed a variance from the planning board.
Be polite, positive, patient, prepared, persistent, and persuasive if you need a variance. It's a long hard process with lots of meetings. As part of our meetings with the Bloomfield planning board we committed to providing details on what our wind turbine actually produces (hence this page).
The wind turbine took several months to plan, and then just a couple days to install. Our wind turbine is running now.
Avg. Kwh/Day Log (MS Excel)
Recent RGE bills below (PDF).