Wind Energy Proves To Be Good Fit On New York Farm


A farm owner in New York State is touting the advantages of the two Northern Power wind turbines powering his Sonshine Acres Farm.

Vermont-based Northern Power Systems Corp., a provider of wind turbine technology, says it has seen a surge of interest in wind power in distributed energy (behind-the-meter, on-site power generation) applications in the U.S. Specifically, the advantages have become evident in dairy and farming operations, the company says.

For instance, Dan Miller, owner of Corfu, N.Y.-based Miller Sonshine Acres Farm, took advantage of incentives to install two Northern Power 100 kW turbines on his farm. When Miller’s first turbine began running, the farm was a bustling dairy operation with over 2,800 milking cows in five different locations, says Northern Power.

Thanks to remote net metering in New York, project developer Niagara Wind and Solar (NWS) was able to site a turbine in the windiest part of Miller’s farm and power all meters remotely. Following this first installation in December 2014, Miller’s monthly electric bills dropped by 65%. Those results then spurred him to install a second turbine, which has been operational since December 2016, according to Northern Power.

“With more financing options than ever before, it is now easy and affordable for organizations that use significant amounts of energy to generate their own electricity from the wind, support operations, take control of their energy future and directly benefit the bottom line,” states Ciel Caldwell, president of Northern Power Systems.

Within the first six months of this year, Miller’s two turbines produced over 180,000 kWh of energy.

“I’m concerned about climate change and see the value in renewable energy,” says Miller, “but the bottom line is, I thought I could save some money, and this has proven to be a great way to do that.”

Northern Power says the Small Wind Turbine program offered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) was crucial in supporting the use of renewable energy at Miller’s farm.

Alicia Barton, NYSERDA’s president and CEO, says, “We commend Miller Sonshine Acres Farm and all of its partners for taking a leadership role in showing how farms and other local organizations can use renewable energy to help lower operating costs and create a cleaner and healthier environment for the local community.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) also supported the farm’s wind installations, says Northern Power.

“REAP helps farm operators and rural small businesses make long-term investments in renewable energy systems, including farm-scale wind turbines,” says Scott Collins, acting state director for USDA rural development in New York. “We are pleased to assist the Miller family’s efforts to reduce and stabilize their electricity costs for many years to come.”

To highlight the advantages of wind power for farms, Northern Power will host an “Open Turbine Day” event at Miller Sonshine Acres Farm on July 21 in conjunction with Niagara Falls, N.Y.-based Buffalo Renewables Inc. (formerly NWS).

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