CAMBRIA – A crane hoisted a wind turbine into place last week at Arrowhead Spring Vineyards, putting the winery on the brink of moving onto the cutting edge of renewable energy.
Arrowhead President Duncan Ross said it might be a couple of weeks before crews from Niagara Wind and Solar of Niagara Falls complete the connection and bring the 10-kilowatt turbine into operation at the Cambria-Lockport Town Line Road site.
“The turbine and tower are also made in the USA,” Ross said in an email to The Buffalo News. “Many are made in China, but we felt strongly that we should use ‘made in the USA’ to maximize the jobs impact.”
The wind turbine measures 132 feet high from the ground to the tips of the blades in their highest position.
Ross had to take the Town of Cambria to court in 2011 to win approval for the installation. The Planning Board has rejected Arrowhead’s application for the project on Nov. 29, 2010, after heavy public opposition.
The lawsuit was never argued, as the town backed down and settled the case by admitting that the board had misinterpreted the town’s wind power ordinance.
When Ross and his wife, Robin, first planned the project three years ago, the wind turbine would have provided all the power the winery needed.
Ross said that’s no longer the case, because of the growth of the business. Arrowhead, which opened in February 2008, produced about 1,500 cases of wine in 2009; this year, output was about 5,000 cases. A case contains 12 bottles.
Thus, the wind turbine will provide less than half the power Arrowhead now uses, but Ross said, “That will definitely offset the power we use.”
The winery will be able to sell excess electricity to National Grid. “If it’s a windy day and we’re not using much, we can sell it,” Ross said.
There wasn’t much notice for the installation of the turbine, as it was highly dependent on weather conditions, and the wet week at the end of October delayed plans for the work.
Of the 16 wineries on the Niagara Wine Trail, Arrowhead is the only one with a wind turbine.