This week Pindar Vineyards in Peconic will put up the biggest wind turbine in Southold Town.
Alex Damianos, who spearheaded the project at his family’s vineyard, estimates that the $550,000 turbine will supply at least 90 percent of the vineyard’s energy, which currently costs, on average, $60,000 per year.
The 100 kilowatt turbine, manufactured by Northern, is the same model installed two years ago at Half Hollow Nursery in Laurel, said Mr. Damianos, son of Pindar Vineyards owner Dan Damianos. The Laurel turbine is in Riverhead Township, which historically has allowed larger turbines. The turbine in Laurel was installed by Eastern Energy Systems, while Pindar’s turbine is being installed by GreenLogic. Southold Town did not allow turbines with power output ratings greater than 25 kilowatts until Pindar Vineyards inquired about changing the code to allow the bigger turbines this past spring.
“One hundred kilowatts was unheard of,” said Mr. Damianos, who said that he was told by the Southold building inspector that it could take up to a year to get permits for such a large turbine.
Since then, they’ve been on a mad dash to get the permits in place and the engineering done to have the turbine installed before the end of the year, in order to take advantage of a 30 percent grant from the federal government due to expire at the end of this year.
“Without the federal grant, fiscally it wouldn’t work for us,” he said.
Mr. Damianos then went to Town Supervisor Scott Russell’s office and was happily surprised to find that the Supervisor and the Town Board were eager to put the town on the cutting edge of green technology. The board quickly adopted a code change to allow turbines rated for up to 125 kilowatts.
“We got it changed in one month thanks to Scott Russell,” he said.
GreenLogic poured the concrete foundation for the turbine about a month ago, and after waiting 21 days for the concrete to cure, began to erect the tower Monday, said GreenLogic senior project manager Ashlee Reiniger, who was on the site Tuesday. By Tuesday afternoon, the turbine and blades were installed, and GreenLogic crews were wiring it up to begin producing electricity.
“This is one of the best sites we’ve tested on Long Island,” said Mr. Reiniger. “It’s just wide open. Nothing stops the wind. The development rights are intact, so we can build there, and it’s close enough to the winemaking facility to feed the wires in.”
Pindar’s turbine is the fourth one in Southold Town. Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards, McCall Vineyards and Shinn Estate Vineyards all have smaller wind turbines.
“It’s a monument now,” said Mr. Damianos. “It’s wine made by wind. Now the largest winery has the largest wind turbine.”