Cross Island Farms, on Wellesley Island in the St. Lawrence River in Upstate New York, was already growing organic produce and free-range animal products. But the owners were looking to do even more to be green. So Dani Baker and David Belding worked with Alternative Power Solutions of Northern New York to explore wind power – and the result is a 120-foot-tall, 10-kilowatt wind turbine on the farm, the renewable-energy developer said.
Baker said she was inspired to look into the possibilities of using wind power by the whirring turbines she had seen in the American Southwest. “They were such a nice addition to the rural landscape,” she said. “When we decided to start Cross Island Farms we began investigating alternative power sources.”
The local Board of Appeals was enthusiastic about the project after seeing a presentation, and approved it unanimously. In addition, Baker and Belding were supported by Thousand Island Land Trust, Indian River Lakes Conservancy and the Jefferson County Agricultural Development Corporation, as well as by the community at large. They received grants for the project from New York’s Energy Research and Development Authority and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which covered some of the installation costs.
To ensure the safety of their free-ranging animals, Baker and Belding had to be extra careful about the specifics of the wind turbine. They opted to keep most of the turbine’s structure underground, with the tower and windmill freestanding above ground, removing the need for guide wires, and Belding plans to build a small fence around the tower itself.
Installing the wind turbine isn’t all Cross Island Farms has planned. Other forms of alternative energy will be installed, including a solar array and a propane generator. Baker and Belding plan to work with Alternative Power Solutions on all of the projects. “This wind turbine is in an ideal location so close to the St. Lawrence River,” said Owen Pugh, owner of Alternative Power Solutions. “We estimate that it will supply the farm with hefty savings on their energy bill. It’s great to see more farmers taking advantage of alternative energy.”