Updated 12/19/2011 07:21 PM
First commercial wind turbine in Oswego County to power muck farm
The first commercial wind turbine in Oswego County will soon be powering one of the area's muck farms and the technology is so unique, there are only 70 of these types of turbines in the world. Our Candace Hopkins has more on the special equipment.
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OSWEGO, N.Y.--Here at Gianetto Farms in the Town of Oswego, the Gianetto family has been harvesting onions since the 1950s. Throughout the decades, owner Nick Gianetto says that process has mostly stayed the same, but now, thanks to new wind turbine technology, this farm will soon be powering itself.
"I've thought for years, I mean like 20 years, that I would love to go to some alternative energy, then we got hooked up with Pyrus Energy and about three years ago started wind studies," Gianetto said.
Those wind studies showed that Gianetto Farms was an ideal spot for a wind turbine. Now it will have the first commercial one in Oswego County and one of only 70 in the world that can be lowered for easier repairs and once it is up to full speed, Gianetto says it will power all of the muck farm's machinery.
"It will power my packing operation down at my packing house, where we bag up 50 pound and 25 pound onions and ship them out up along the east coast," said Gianetto.
To help offset the over $130,000 price tag, Gianetto Farms has received about $70,000 in grant money and is eligible for at least $30,000 more.
Jeff Wallace, a Renewable Energy Consultant for Pyrus Energy of Weedsport, helped Gianetto Farms navigate the grant process and says this is a great time for farmers to apply.
"If they're interested in considering renewable energy option for their farm, to supply power there couldn't be a better time than right now. The NYSERDA grants are very generous, the USDA REAP grant, which is for rural businesses, is also very generous," said Wallace.
Now those grants have helped two more Oswego County muck farmers sign on to install their own wind turbines, which Wallace says is a sign of just how dedicated local farmers are to using modern technology.
"If there was ever one industry in this county that is cutting edge on new technology, it's the farming industry. These guys, even though there are some homes having solar put on, in other parts of the county, it's the farming industry that's really moving this forward," Wallace said.
Experts say that process of moving forward with new technology has endless possibilities in Oswego County.
During the busy season, it costs about $900 a month to power a muck farm, but this wind turbine is expected to produce all of the power Gianetto Farms will need and possibly extra that can then be sold back to National Grid.
The project is expected to pay for itself in about three to four years.