Thar she blows! City wants windmills in Red Hook

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What’s old is new again in Red Hook, as the borough’s first modern windmill is nearing construction, paving the way for more of these ancient — and environmentally friendly — power plants.

The waterfront neighborhood will be the testing ground for a city-financed plan to build a wind turbine atop an unused 90-foot water tower at Van Dyke Street.

If successful, energy harnessed from the turbine could power electric cars or illuminate the waterfront near Fairway market.

And what better place than Red Hook, a peninsula experts said is the perfect Petri dish for the creation of a “New Holland,” a country known for its iconic windmills.

The neighborhood is near the water and features few tall buildings, so wind can blow unobstructed.

The energy produced by the turbine — roughly 4,500 kilowatt hours per year — would be enough to power about one home, estimated Cullen Kasunic, the vice president of Wind Products, the Manhattan-based outfit that will manufacture the turbine and the equipment.

The $12,500 test is still being finalized, cautioned Economic Development Corporation spokeswoman Vivian Liao, who said the goal is to see if such small turbines create enough energy to make them worthwhile.

The turbine might be new to Red Hook, but the machines have been around for centuries.

The first practical, vertical axis windmills date back to the ninth century, in eastern Persia. The first instance of wind being used to power a machine dates back to the first century in Greece.

Brooklyn’s wind turbine will follow the same mechanical principles: the blades of the turbine slow the wind down, creating lift, a force created by a pressure differential in the air. Lift — the same force that enables an airplane to fly — turns the blades, which are connected to a drive shaft inside the device. The shaft is connected to an electric motor at the base of the device, and when the shaft turns, the motor produces electricity, he said.

Who knows if it will work? Then again, who cares, said Debra Salomon, a project developer at New York City College of Technology.

“If everyone is afraid [to do something that could fail], then renewable energy will never happen,” she said.

But don’t get out your tool kit and windmill blades just yet. For now, the only way to legally construct a turbine is to be part of the pilot program. But this one small step for Red Hook may be a giant leap for the city.

“This is just to tickle the imagination of people to the possibilities of what can be,” said property owner Greg O’Connell, who donated the water tower.

Posted 12:00 am, October 8, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

Joey from Clinton Hills says:
Statue of Liberty can hold a pinwheel
Oct. 8, 2010, 10:15 am
Ontario from Canada says:
Always wondered how windmills work. Thanks for the explanation. Now if someone would just explain weather vanes....
Oct. 8, 2010, 10:36 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
More money for the Chinese to make us windmills!
Oct. 8, 2010, 4:49 pm
Tweethis from Carrol Gardens says:
Uh... we make windmills here too ya know....
Oct. 8, 2010, 5:06 pm
Steven Rosenberg from Park Slope says:
I like the idea--as long as the people involved are serious enough to admit that windpower will NEVER be a major source or electricity; like under 3%, at best.
Oct. 8, 2010, 6 pm
Duck from Red Hook says:
rather than powering the lights outside Fairway, how about Fairway and Mr O'Connell turn OFF the lights in the empty overflow parking lot after it closes. They ruin the view of the waterfront (and waste a lot of power)
Oct. 9, 2010, 7:31 am
Matt from Carroll gardens says:
How about stop building bird killers and think solar
Oct. 9, 2010, 1:51 pm
Joe cane from Carroll gardens says:
And who's on drugs
Oct. 9, 2010, 2:05 pm
frank from red hook says:
Matt from carroll gardens why don't u go —— yourself ?
Oct. 9, 2010, 2:11 pm
frank from red hook says:
Joe cane is I ever see u I'm gunna crack your head rite open
Oct. 9, 2010, 2:12 pm
Joe cane says:
Frank I'll smash your face open
Oct. 9, 2010, 2:20 pm
Joe cane says:
Frank you better be ready cause I coming for you
Oct. 9, 2010, 2:23 pm
Joe cane says:
Lights out frank
Oct. 9, 2010, 2:26 pm
frank from redhook says:
Yeah your a real computer tuff guyyyy ....come down to red hook pjs yill get wit my burner motha ——a
Oct. 9, 2010, 2:28 pm
Joe cane says:
Be outside and will see who's the man see you on 2 nd and hoyt 4.00 pm punk
Oct. 9, 2010, 2:35 pm
Joe cane says:
I don't think you will show chicken ——
Oct. 9, 2010, 2:39 pm
frank from redhook says:
Ima come over their and gang bang your moma wit my home boys u punk ——h
Oct. 9, 2010, 3:01 pm
tommy from cobble hill says:
wow, this windmill story stirred up some serious passion. joe and frank, get a room.
Oct. 9, 2010, 8:47 pm
bruce from midwood says:
I say they build a giant diesel generator in the water behind fairway and run it all day and night and power nothing with it !!!!!!
Oct. 10, 2010, 11 am
Greg from Park Slope says:
I sy the build giant diesel generator to power another giant diesel generator powering a windmill designed to kills birds. Now we're talking.
Oct. 10, 2010, 11:25 am
bruce from midwood says:
Greg you and I are now on the hit list of every hipster from red hook to park slope.
Oct. 10, 2010, 2:58 pm
Joe cane says:
Looks like franks got hit now who's next
Oct. 11, 2010, 2:17 pm
Joe cane says:
How about you 2 Bruce and greg what a pc of me looking for it to
Oct. 11, 2010, 2:28 pm
Joe cane says:
You can be in the same room at longisland col. As frank big mouth
Oct. 11, 2010, 2:40 pm
Joe cane says:
I got no problem paving the streets with
Oct. 11, 2010, 3:31 pm
Joe cane says:
Tommy your next wise guy will see nobody messes with Joe cane
Oct. 12, 2010, 7:49 am
Joe cane says:
Maybe you can build a wind mill to power the machine frank is hooked up to to keep him alive
Oct. 12, 2010, 8 am
Anand from Long Island says:
Wind mills are here to stay !
Oct. 20, 2010, 4:19 pm

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