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Wild about wind in Sullivan County

Stuart replaces the nose cone on an African Wind Power 110 after tightening the blade bolts.

February 28, 2012

SULLIVAN COUNTY, NY — There is abundant energy in the winds that blow through Sullivan County, and two men are continuing to advance the potential to harvest that resource for local communities.

Dick Riseling, executive director of the Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development (SASD), has long worked to enhance renewable energy opportunities in Sullivan County and recently gave another public presentation on community-owned wind power at the Sullivan County Government Center in Monticello. Stephen Stuart has been working with SASD to improve the possibilities for wind development, and has completed various trainings and conferences to gain skills related to residential wind development.

Last fall, Stuart, who is involved in various alternative energy initiatives in the region, attended training in residential wind repair and maintenance and tower work offered by Solar Energy International (SEI) on Guemes Island, WA. He has also completed SEI’s training in wind design and installation in Paonia, CO. In October, Stuart will attend the Home Built Wind Generator training, which focuses on the process of building a small wind turbine from scratch.

“Small wind energy is an underutilized renewable energy resource,” said Stuart. “As an advocate for renewable energy systems and sustainable solutions to our housing and energy needs, I felt compelled to learn about this resource. The spark of curiosity ignited the flame of knowledge, and my desire to learn more about this technology just naturally grew.”

When he attended the Small Wind Conference offered by the Small Wind Council in Stevens Point, WI, Stuart learned about the importance of proper site assessment and the availability of the Wind Site Assessor certification program taught by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA). “I also learned that NYSERDA will probably be requiring wind site assessments prior to granting funding for wind projects in New York State,” he said.

Topics covered during the sessions focused on system design, installation, siting analysis, types of turbines (upwind versus downwind, vertical axis versus horizontal axis wind generators), trouble-shooting problems, maintenance issues, hands-on work in repairing and maintaining generators and safely climbing and working on towers.

Stuart hopes to contribute the knowledge and expertise he gained to various SASD projects focused on bringing renewable energy systems to Sullivan County farms, businesses and homes. As such, Stuart is a proponent of home built wind turbines, which he contends will play a role in developing truly independent power.

Local learning
SUNY Sullivan launched its Wind Turbine Technology Program last fall. The two-year associate’s degree program includes hands-on learning with a 2.5 kilowatt wind turbine, as well as turbine simulator and classroom study. Students gain working knowledge of both residential and industrial wind turbines, and AC and DC electrical systems failures. They will learn to read electrical schematics, and develop their knowledge of power distribution systems and work safely utilizing Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and wind turbine standard operating procedures. For more information visit or call 845/434-5750, extension 4287.