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SUNY Oswego Harnesses Wind Power

OSWEGO, NY – SUNY Oswego’s first ever wind turbine was installed Thursday.

" data-medium-file="https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/turbine-going-up-300x414.jpg" data-large-file="https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/turbine-going-up-459x635.jpg" class="size-medium wp-image-42667" title="turbine going up" src="http://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/turbine-going-up-300x414.jpg" alt="The turbine is hoisted to its new home by an Auburn Rigging crane. Workers on the ground hold ropes to prevent it from spinning until after it is in place." width="300" height="414" srcset="https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/turbine-going-up-300x414.jpg 300w, https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/turbine-going-up-150x207.jpg 150w, https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/turbine-going-up-459x635.jpg 459w, https://oswegocountytoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/turbine-going-up.jpg 800w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" />
The turbine is hoisted to its new home by an Auburn Rigging crane. Workers on the ground hold ropes to prevent it from spinning until after it is in place.

It sits atop Lee Hall, and, if someone doesn’t look up, they’d probably never notice the eight-foot by eight-foot spherical Powair Sail turbine turning.

“This is a major step in bringing renewable energy to the campus,” said John Moore, director of engineering and sustainability at the college, as he watched from Piez Hall’s roof as the turbine was hoisted to its new home by an Auburn Rigging crane.

The entire project came together quickly, he noted.

“We saw the ability and we went after it as quick as I could,” he told Oswego County Today.com. “We were fortunate enough that they wanted to come here.”

The turbine, now connected to the campus heating plant in Lee Hall, will provide them with about 40,000 killowatt hours of electricity a year, he added.

The turbine would produce enough energy in less than 12 years to pay back the college’s $50,000 initial investment, Moore pointed out.

The turbine is pulled over toward its new home.
The turbine is pulled over toward its new home.

The Powair Sail inventor Derek Grassman said they were excited to work with the university.

The company wanted to do a smaller unit to show the residential sector that it is feasible for them to use these turbines for their homes, he explained.

“When I designed it, I designed it for the consumer,” he said.

“The power that’s produced by that wind turbine will be consumed by all the stuff that’s always running in that building,” Moore said. “At some point we’re going to dedicate that power to something, street lights or something.”

Shane Caster, a former SUNY Oswego student, worked atop Lee Hall aligning the turbine to its mount and then securing it.

The turbine is connected to its base and is tied into the campus heating plant in Lee Hall.
The turbine is connected to its base and is tied into the campus heating plant in Lee Hall.

He works for Pyrus Energy, a family owned and operated business located in nearby Weedsport.

“Our mission is to provide homeowners, businesses, farmers, schools and municipalities with our expertise in renewable energy system design and installation,” explained Jeff Wallace, the company’s public affairs manager.

“Shane moved to Florida and then he got into doing solar things and wind things with a company in Florida and this job opened so he came back (to New York),” said his grandmother, June VanAmburg.

She said he called her and asked her if she wanted to come watch him work Thursday.

“I told him sure; and don’t fall,” she laughed.

Shane Caster poses with his grandmother, June VanAmburg, after he installed the new turbine.
Shane Caster poses with his grandmother, June VanAmburg, after he installed the new turbine.

Most wind turbines have an output range from seven miles an hour up to 35, 40 mph, according to Ray Davis, Impact Technologies CEO.

Impact, located in Syracuse, used Grassman’s design to create the wind turbine.

“Ours starts producing power at 3 mph,” Davis said. “We can harness energy up to 90 miles an hour.”

“Pyrus is a complete renewable energy company,” Caster said. “We’ve installed many turbines already and have more in the works, some large one and others not so large.”

Just recently he installed a Powair Sail at the Carousel Mall in Syracuse, Caster said.

“Our turbine is designed to be closer to the ground (Lee Hall’s roof is about 50 -55 feet high).  It works in turbulent winds. So we’re looking for more of a rooftop application to capture those winds,” Davis explained. “It starts up at 1 mph and produces energy starting at 3 mph.”