By ERIC TICHY
OBSERVER Mayville Bureau
CHARLOTTE - County Executive Greg Edwards admitted it wasn't hard to find the Goot family farm. After arriving for an award presentation, Edwards quipped, "You couldn't miss those giant wind towers standing there coming down the road."
It was those two 140-foot wind towers and others that helped Merle Goot Sr., Merle Goot Jr., and Morris Chase receive Innovative Wind Energy awards.
The county executive, along with staff from the county Industrial Development Agency, presented the commendations at one of three farms in Charlotte now sporting the turbines. Also present were representatives from Niagara Wind and Solar; Rural Generation and Wind Inc.; and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
"This is a great day for our county, the Goots and Chases, the companies that installed the wind towers, and New York state through the efforts of NYSERDA," Edwards said.
"We have promoted green renewable energy repeatedly in our county," he said. "To be here today and see the successfully installed and running small wind turbines is indeed exciting. We are going to work to help others in our county reduce their energy costs with renewable energy projects like we see here today."
According to Goot Jr., his two XZERES wind turbines have supplemented his electricity use by 85 percent. The younger Goot said he had the turbines built last January, and already is seeing the payoff - in more ways than one.
"The main reason was I have just always been interested in renewable energy," Goot Jr. said of installing the turbines. "And, of course, I wanted to offset our power. But it really just helps the community."
According to estimates by the company that built Goot Jr.'s turbines, Rural Generation and Wind, almost $26,000 went into the local economy. That includes concrete and rebar bought in the county as well as lodging, fuel and electrical supplies.
"It has really helped the community, and that's important," Goot Jr. said.
Chases' turbines, meanwhile, were installed by Niagara Wind and Solar. And he, too, has seen positive results.
"We are blessed with good wind in this area, and were able to take advantage of being able to produce our own electricity through clean energy," Chase said. "We hope that there will be more wind turbines in the area in the future."
According to a news release by the county executive, the installations partially were funded with grants from NYSERDA and the federal government.
"At my age, I am proud to be a part of something so positive for both the farmers and the community," said Goot Sr.
Bill Daly, IDA administrative director, said the awards are a great "lead up" for a Chautauqua County Energy Conference and Expo, which will take place Sunday, Oct. 27 at the Clarion Marina and Conference Center in Dunkirk. The conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The last presentation, Daly said, will center on small wind energy. He added that Mark Mayhew, of NYSERDA, will moderate a panel on incentives and the process of constructing small wind turbines.
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