New York factory gets an energy windfall

March 01, 2005 |

A 250 kW wind turbine installed in late 2002 at Harbec Plastics Inc. in Ontario, N.Y., is providing 20–25% of the 40,000-sf building's energy needs, for the operation of both the building and the process equipment it houses.

Company owner Robert Bechtold says he opted for wind power because electric rates in New York State are the third highest in the U.S. ($.10–.11 per kWh). He expects a six- to-eight-year payback. The turbine, with a blade diameter of 100 feet, is mounted at a height of 120 feet.

The plant's location, only two miles from Lake Ontario, provides the site with a "slightly better than average" wind performance, even though another site farther from the lake has greater wind activity.

The plant also has a supplemental electric system utilizing natural gas that operates microturbines. Originally the system was diesel powered, but Bechtold converted to natural gas because it is cleaner and requires less maintenance.

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