Windmills and farms are a traditional combination, but there’s nothing old-fashioned about the 50kw wind turbine here at Morning Glory Farm. It’s a high-tech energy machine that essentially pulls power out of the air, generating enough electricity for a small neighborhood.
We send the electricity from the turbine directly to the grid on the Edgartown Road. From there it flows to the closest point of use, most of which ends up right back at the farm. Eversource credits us back at the end of the year for every kWh we generate, no matter who uses it. On average, the turbine generates about three-quarters of our annual electricity use farm-wide.
Here are a few other facts about our windmill that may interest and even surprise you:
- Over six years, Morning Glory Farm has generated more than 715,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity.
- That’s enough to power 215 American homes, or 24,655 laptop computers, for one year.
- We’ve kept 307,473 kilograms of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by producing clean wind energy.
- That’s equal to the emissions from 93 cars on the road for a year, or 25 airline flights around the world.
- The windmill averages hundreds of kWh a day, and sometimes 1,000 or more.
- February is the month it produces the most energy.
- July is the month with the least wind (as Martha’s Vineyard sailors know).
- August is the month we use the most electricity on the farm.
- The highest wind we’ve recorded was 42.7 meters per second in January, 2015. That’s 95.5 mph!
- Our windmill’s height is 120 feet from the base to the center of the rotor.
- A concrete counterweight underground serves as an anchor so it can’t blow down.
- The three blades are each 30 feet long.
- They always turn at the same speed, regardless of wind strength.
- The windmill is programmed to stop spinning when the breeze drops or high winds exceed 58 mph.
- It is a “downwind” machine, with no tail, which makes it quieter to operate.
- Unlike a pinwheel, its turning blades face away from the direction the wind is coming from.
- It was installed by Gary Harcourt of Great Rock Wind Power in Oak Bluffs.
- The windmill is serviced twice a year, also by Gary.
- In addition to reducing the farm’s energy bill and keeping carbon emissions out of the atmosphere, we also earn money for the electricity we generate by selling Renewable Energy Certificates.
- There’s a real-time windmill monitor below and you can see a larger version online, along with a weather report, at bit.ly/power-dash.