Wind Power Use in New York State is a Model for the Nation

The power of wind. Wind can be a refreshing breeze across your face in the heat of summer. A playful phantom in fall– picking up leaves and flotsam and jetsam and redistributing everything. And it can be part of terrible destructive storms. Surely the wind is one of nature’s primal forces. Harnessed, it has allowed us to ply the seven seas and soar among the clouds, and today it’s providing a source of clean and efficient power. The mechanics that brings us this magnificent power can be simply described as beginning with a blade that captures the wind. That turns gears and generators inside a turbine and turns what is called the nacelle on top of the turbine. In turn, that generates electricity that is then fed into an electrical power grid.

While the technology for generating electricity from wind has existed for some time, the means to make it practical and attractive to retail energy customers has remained challenging. Power authorities say it requires a collaborative effort among utilities, environmental officials and landowners. And one successful collaborative effort is the Fenner Wind Farm. The Fenner Wind Farm is a cooperative project between, New York State and several energy providers. It is largest generator of wind power in the Northeast. Right now New York State has the opportunity to be using wind power. Experts in wind energy talk about wind resources in terms of megawatts. They feel that New York State has the wind resources for 10,000 megawatts of wind. This measure means that wind energy can provide 20% of the state’s electricity. That 20% could take out all the oil produced electricity in New York State. It could take out all the electricity generated from coal, or it can take out two-thirds of the electricity generated by nuclear power. Experts in the field feel that the first challenge is getting the public to be aware that this wind resource in the east is actually a viable, technically feasible, and affordable resource for electricity. And some communities are beginning to get the idea. Janet Wells, Deputy Supervisor of the town of New Castle in New York felt that the extra cost of wind energy was worth the allocation because of the town’s commitment to preserving the environment. Plainville Turkey Farm in New York is another wind energy customer. They were told that their use of wind energy would result in a million pounds less of CO2 put in the atmosphere. That’s the equivalent of planting some 74,000 trees or taking about 98 cars off the road!

A cleaner environment and electricity are not the only things proving to be generated by wind farms. Energy experts say the technology may also create jobs and improve the rural economy Land-owners that these wind turbines are on get royalty payments from the developer. There are other benefits in terms of taxes for the community. There is the benefit of tourism. People come to look at these wind farms because they are different; they haven’t seen them, so it brings the local economy into the picture.

The need to preserve our precious resources and reduce harmful emissions has never been more critical. As the search continues for alternatives to feed the world’s appetite for power, the answer may be blowing in the wind.

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