Last year, the Red Hill General Store in Hillsville, Va., built and installed a 5.5 kilowatt wind turbine on Gary Horton’s beef farm. This year, the turbine, known affectoinately as “Breezy,” celebrated its first birthday – and it’s getting an upgrade, the store reports.

Breezy is a truly homegrown piece of work, built by Red Hill CEO Tommy Largen “with off-the-shelf parts and local products,” according to the store. And the upgrade – new 9-foot blades to replace the old 10-footers – is no different: They’re made of yellow poplar that was locally cut and shaped. Once in place, they’ll boost Breezy’s efficiency.

Locally made wind turbine, Red Hill General Store
image via Red Hill General Store

Last year, the town turned out for the “Breezy lift-off” celebration, with many looking forward to a future of using renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Red Hill says that people often stop at the store to get updates on the turbine, as well as advice on renewable energy and energy efficiency for their own households and businesses.

“Building this turbine reflects the common sense values passed down in Appalachia, values that built Red Hill as a place for canning supplies and practical products,” Largen says. “It is about doing what you can with the time and resources you have – if building a wind turbine is a possibility there is no reason not to do it.”

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